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Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

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Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

Defense
Grade vs. Vikings: B+
Comment: Although it may have seemed that the Redskins’ defense got pushed around in the first quarter as Vikings kicker Blair Walsh finished off consecutive drives with short field goals, in fact, keeping Minnesota out of the end zone early likely proved to be the difference in the game.

Three times, Christian Ponder and the Vikings had the ball inside the Redskins’ 10-yard line. But instead of seizing a 21-0 lead, they settled for a 9-0 edge that was quickly erased by Washington’s high-octane offense.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also deserves kudos for making significant changes to his personnel. After struggling to produce an adequate pass against the Falcons and Buccaneers, Haslett introduced special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander (season-high 27 snaps) to the rotation of linebackers and scaled back playing time for Chris Wilson (2). Recently signed Mario Addison also played 11 snaps.

Of course, the Redskins still miss two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Orakpo. But his absence was much less noticeable Sunday with Alexander enjoying a breakout game. Alexander’s fumble recovery at the Minnesota 6-yard line led to a touchdown. He also recorded 1-½ sacks of the team’s season-high four sacks.

Haslett also increased Jordan Pugh’s playing time at safety and reduced DeJon Gomes’.

“We’re going to always try to play the best players,” Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. “So if a guy like Lorenzo has a great game, we’re going to try to find ways to get him into the football game.”

The defense also produced a touchdown – again. Madieu Williams’ 24-yard interception return for a touchdown was the Redskins’ fourth defensive score of the season.

It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means. Ponder passed for 352 yards, Percy Harvin hauled in 14 receptions for 133 yards and Adrian Peterson ripped off an early 32 yard run. But the unit produced three turnovers and, although it bent in the fourth quarter, it did not break, which should give the Redskins something to build on entering next week’s NFC East opener in New York.

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On eve of Redskins training camp, Kerrigan describes Galette injury 'shocking' and 'heartbreaking'

On eve of Redskins training camp, Kerrigan describes Galette injury 'shocking' and 'heartbreaking'

Just like fans were excited to see Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Junior Galette team up for the Redskins to rush opposing quarterbacks this fall, the players were excited too. When news broke that Galette would miss all of the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, fans were stunned. Turns out, the players were too.

"It definitely was shocking," Kerrigan said. "I wasn’t expecting to hear it, especially at the timing of it."

Not that there is ever a good time for a serious injury, but Galette missed all of 2015 with a torn Achilles. For more than a year, Galette posted to social media about his recovery and his excitement to get back on the field. At various Redskins training sessions this offseason, Galette could be seen working out, and he always talked about how fired up he was to get back on the field.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GREG HARDY AN OPTION? SHOULD HE BE?

Now, for the second straight year, that won't happen.

"It's just hard because we’ve seen him put in the work to get healthy," Kerrigan said of Galette. "It’s heartbreaking for him, it's heartbreaking for us."

Kerrigan, speaking at a Good Humor event in downtown Washington on Tuesday, explained that he didn't even believe the Galette injury when he first heard it. He said a friend texted him with the news, and Kerrigan thought it was a joke, until he looked around online and saw all of the reports. 

Now without Galette, the 'Skins still report to training camp on Wednesday, and the defense will need to adjust. 

"Collectively, across the front, we gotta take it upon ourselves," Kerrigan said. "We got to be even more productive."

Washington ranked in the middle of the NFL with 38 sacks in 2015. Even without Galette, that number could improve as the defense should be better on the back end with the addition of Josh Norman and Kendall Fuller. Galette's loss will impact the defense's depth, as the talent drop off behind Smith and Kerrigan will be severe. 

"We do have Houston Bates who has some game experience from last year," Kerrigan said. "We all gotta collectively step it up."

As for Galette, Kerrigan said he texted his injured teammate, sending him well wishes as he deals with a second straight season ending injury.

"You wish him emotional strength."

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Ranking the Redskins Part 5 (53-6): Filling the hole left by Galette's injury

Ranking the Redskins Part 5 (53-6): Filling the hole left by Galette's injury

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2016 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

<<<CLICK HERE FOR THE NEWEST RANKS>>>

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 6-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A second-year receiver who is expected to top a record-setting 2015 performance.    

—Two players who will have to produce to make up for a major injury loss. 

—A defender who will be in the spotlight after the addition of a free agent at his position. 

Go here to see our ranking of the 2016 Redskins, players 6-53.

<<<CLICK HERE FOR THE NEWEST RANKS>>>

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Conflicting reports on whether Redskins are considering Greg Hardy

Conflicting reports on whether Redskins are considering Greg Hardy

The Redskins are considering bringing in Greg Hardy as a replacement for the injured Junior Galette, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.

Citing unnamed sources, Werder said that the team's discussions of their options for replacing Galette, who suffered a torn Achilles while training and is out for the season, have included the troubled former Panther and Cowboy. 

Werder also said that cornerback Josh Norman, a teammate of Hardy’s in Carolina, would advocate for bringing him in to help the defense. 

Hardy had a breakout season in 2013 with 15 sacks. But he served a suspension for a domestic abuse incident and when he was with the Cowboys last year he was caught on camera being disruptive on the sideline during games and according to reports he was chronically late for meetings. In an interview with ESPN earlier this year he did not admit that he had done anything wrong. 

Hardy will turn 28 tomorrow and while he is talented he would bring a lot of bad publicity and a media circus along with him. As with many players, the need for quality players must be weighed against the baggage that a player like Hardy carries.

Everyone should be aware that internal discussions don’t mean that a signing is in any way imminent. Stay tuned to see how things play out. 

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: