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The 53: Loading up on linebackers?

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The 53: Loading up on linebackers?

The Redskins will report to training camp on July 25. Over the next five weeks they will undergo the process of cutting their 90-man roster down to 53. Which players will get those coveted spots and which will join the ranks of the unemployed? Over the next couple of weeks well go through position by position and try to predict what decisions Mike Shanahan and company will make.So far weve covered the offense and the defensive line. Today well look at the linebackers.There are 14 linebackers on the roster, the Redskins will keep 10.In: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Markus White, Chris Wilson, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff
Out: Donnell Holt, Bryan Kehl, Brian McNally, Monte LewisChanges from 2011: Rocky McIntosh signed with the Rams as a free agent and Keyaron Fox was not resigned; Redskins drafted Robinson (4th round), signed Goff and Kehl as free agents.BreakdownThis unit is one of the strengths of the team. It would not be surprising if any of the four startersOrakpo and Kerrigan on the outside, Fletcher and Riley on the insidemade the Pro Bowl.The starters are every down players. That was literally the case with Kerrigan, who played every one of the 1,056 defensive snaps last year. Fletcher didnt rest much as he played 1,033 snaps. Orakpo was injured in the last game of the season and took an occasional rest so he played only 956 plays. McIntosh started the first eight games of the season and Riley the last eight and they combined to play just over 1,000 snaps.It is a plus to have such a versatile group that the coaches can trust in virtually any down and distance situation. The issue is that it gives the reserves very few reps to develop and get ready they are needed. Jackson played 113 snaps last year and the departed Fox played just 51. Riley came in as the starter having played just one defensive snap in the first eight games of the season and just eight as a rookie in 2010. White was active for just two games and did not play a defensive snap while Lorenzo Alexander played just 11 snaps.Alexander is of value to the team even if he doesnt play at all on defense as he is the special teams captain. Wilson, who lined up on defense only occasionally when he was with the Redskins from 2007-2010, also would be a special teams specialist for the most part.Jackson and White will be the top reserves at outside linebacker while Goff will be the backup on the inside. Robinson has a chance to be Fletchers eventual successor and his 2012 will probably be like Rileys 2010, playing special teams when hes active and learning mostly by watching and getting a few practice reps.While there is a role for each of the 10 players, there may not be room for all of them. If they decide to trim one linebacker to create a spot elsewhere, Wilson and White likely would be the players on the bubble competing for the one last linebacker job.Kehl could sneak up a grab a spot if Wilson and White falter. The best that Holt, McNally, and Lewis can hope for is a spot on the practice squad.Defensive lineIn: Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
Out: Darrion Scott, Kentwan Balmer, Doug Worthington, Chris Baker, Delvin JohnsonRunning backsIn (4): Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerTight endsIn (3): Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Chris Cooley
Out: Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn, Beau RelifordWide receiversIn (6): Anthony Armstrong, Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
Out: Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Darius Hanks, Brian Hernandez, Lance Lewis, Samuel KirklandQuarterbacksIn (3): Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Out: Jonathan CromptonOffensive lineIn (9): Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Jammal Brown, Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton
Out: Erik Cook, Grant Garner, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Nevin McCaskill, James Lee, Nick MartinezRich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

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Redskins will find out if Stork is an upgrade at center

Redskins will find out if Stork is an upgrade at center

Don’t look for newly-acquired Redskins center Bryan Stork to appear in tonight’s preseason game against the Bills. But look for him to move into the picture on the Washington offensive line sooner rather than later.

The Redskins gave up a conditional seventh-round draft pick in order to bring in Stork. After a reported brief flirtation with retirement the 2014 fourth-round pick of the Patriots is set to report to the Redskins, probably sometime this weekend.

The Redskins have been looking to improve the center position all year. They likely would have drafted Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round last spring had the Colts not scooped him up a few picks before the Redskins went on the clock. They have tried to convert Spencer Long from guard to center but that seems to be more of a long-term project than immediate help.

They would have been content to go into the season with Kory Lichtensteiger at center, although wary that the 31-year-old could have more health issues after he missed 11 games last year with a neck/shoulder injury. But when Stork became available the Redskins at a low price they jumped at the chance. Even if he isn’t not an upgrade over the incumbent starter—and until the coaches see him working some in the Washington offense they don’t really know—he is at worst a better option as a backup than Long, 2015 seventh-round pick Austin Reiter, or Josh LeRibeus, who was shaky filling in when Lichtensteiger last year.

Again, the price was right for Stork. A seventh-round pick and salaries of $600,000 this year and $690,000 next year, and no guaranteed money for a player who has been the primary starter for a very good team for two years is the very definition of a low-risk move.

But it should be noted that low risk does not mean no risk. Stork has suffered multiple concussions in his first two years in the league. The nightmare scenario would be for Stork to become a starter the team relies on and then suffer from concussions or other injuries.

To be sure, any player can suffer an injury at any time. Sometimes player have issues with concussions or other injuries and learn how to avoid them and stay healthy. Stork’s injury risk may be higher than that of an average player but it’s something the Redskins are willing to live with.

Even if Stork does prove to be a better option at center than Lichtensteiger don’t look for an immediate change to be made. It will take some time for the competition to sort itself out and for Stork to become familiar enough with the offense, protections, line calls, etc. They probably would like to wait four weeks before playing him although an emergency could push him to be ready sooner.

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Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

When the Redskins take on the Bills Friday night (coverage starts at 6:30 CSN) this will be the closest to a regular season game Washington gets before September 12th. It's time for the 'Skins to show up. With starters slated to play a full half, the team will get the opportunity.

  1. Time for Cousins - Kirk Cousins got an unexpected night off last week when Jay Gruden decided to give backup Colt McCoy the start against the Jets. That should not be the case Friday as Gruden has said he expects the starters to go for the first half against the Bills. Cousins, for his part, is ready to take the field. "We want to be sharp, we want to stay healthy. We just want to move the football, convert third downs, stay out on the field and score points, and that really never changes. Whether it’s the preseason, whether it’s a practice session of moving the football, or whether it’s a real game," the QB said on Monday.
  2. Trent & Reed back out there - Arguably the Redskins two best players are set to make their preseason debut Friday night. Trent Williams and Jordan Reed should line up with Cousins and the Redskins offense, and coaches will be watching both. Injury concerns for either player aren't much of a consideration, but it will be interesting to watch as both guys look to get their wind and conditioning.
  3. Improved secondary gets test - The Redskins secondary should absolutely be improved this fall, as playmaker Bashaud Breeland has another year under his belt and 2015 All-Pro Josh Norman joins the squad. That doesn't mean Friday night against the Bills won't present a challenge though. Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor is known to elongate plays with his legs, so the corners will need to stay on their assignments longer than normal. Breeland said earlier in the week that he knows the challenge Taylor presents, and while the 'Skins defense did not gameplan for the Bills like they would against a regular season opponent, the secondary needs to be prepared for Taylor and WR Sammy Watkins.
  4. Will the Stork arrive? -  Scot McCloughan traded for the former Patriots center on Wednesday, and after much consternation, it appears Bryan Stork will report to the Redskins. When he will report remains a question. Stork would not play Friday night, but it will be interesting to see if he arrives on the sideline or waits until the weekend to meet his new team. Stork might help at center, but at least will bring a new level of competition for starter Kory Lichtensteiger. 
  5. Let's get physical - Rex Ryan coaches the Bills. Rex Ryan likes his teams to play very physical, and the Redskins better be ready for that physicality Friday night. Don't forget that beating Buffalo last year put the 'Skins on track for a playoff berth, but also took the Bills off course for an AFC playoff bid. Yes it's preseason, but this game should have some juice early. 

Stay tuned for updates throughout Friday as @JPFinlayCSN will be on scene at FedEx Field early.

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VIDEO: Tony Romo exits Cowboys preseason game with apparent back injury

VIDEO: Tony Romo exits Cowboys preseason game with apparent back injury

Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo has a lengthy medical history.

Despite rookie quarterback Dak Prescott's strong play early in the preseason, the last thing the Cowboys needed was another injury to their franchise quarterback.

RELATED: A GUIDE TO DRAFTING FANTASY FOOTBALL QBS

On Thursday night, early in the Cowboys' preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Romo attempted to slide safely to the turf.

As he went to the ground, he was awkwardly tackled from behind and crumpled up in pain.

Defensive end Frank Clark made a hard yet leagal tackle, but the angle of the tackle and Romo's slide combined for a painful scene.

Romo walked off the field on his own power but was immediately attended to by trainers as Prescott prepared to take over.

Romo was on the field for three plays before being hit by Clark.

The 36-year-old has played in all 16 games in just five of his ten NFL seasons as starting QB and missed all but four games last season after suffering a broken collerbone. 

UPDATE 25 AUGUST 2016, 10:37 P.M.

According to ESPN, Romo "pulled his back" and was healthy enough to return, but was held out by coach Jason Garrett.