If Tanard Jackson returns to practice Thursday as expected, then the competition at safety can finally begin in earnest.Jackson missed the three days of training camp with a calf muscle strain, then sat out the next three days because of a CBA-mandated acclimation period.It definitely didnt help, he said of the delay. But its a long camp; we still have a lot competition left. My opportunity will come.Jackson is expected to challenge Madieu Williams for the starting free safety job. Brandon Meriweather, meanwhile, is expected to start at strong safety, while DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty appear to be battling for backup duty.Jackson said he can play both safety positions, but acknowledged hes more comfortable playing free.The native of Silver Spring began camp on the physically unable to perform list because of the ailing calf muscle. He said he was cleared by team doctors Sunday but couldnt join practice immediately because of a provision in the CBA that prohibits contact drills and pads during a players first three days in camp.Ive been patient these past three days, he said. I didnt know about the acclimation thing in the new CBA. I guess its a good thing because it protects us.Jackson joined the Redskins in April following his release by Tampa Bay, where he missed the majority of the 2010 season after being suspended by the NFL for a second violation of the leagues substance abuse policy. He was reinstated seven games into the 2011 season but had surgery on his shoulder in January. The Bucs cut him in April when he a failed physical exam.The hard-hitting 27-year-old didnt stay unemployed long. Secondary Coach Raheem Morris Jacksons head coach in Tampa Bay quickly reached out to the safety, who, in 2009, posted career highs in tackles (71) and interceptions (5) in 12 games.In 56 career games all with the Bucs Jackson has 239 tackles, 10 interceptions and a sack.As soon as I got released, I was on the phone with Raheem and Coach Jim Haslett, in less than 30 minutes, Jackson said.But if he wants to remain with his hometown team and reward Morris faith in him hes got to make up for lost time.And quickly.I dont have to overdo it, he said. But Im anxious to get out there. Im ready to go now.
Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,
But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.
The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.
Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.
Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.
We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit
The Redskins got a boost Sunday when rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens returned to the field after missing two games with a concussion. Interestingly, however, Cravens did not provide the spark many expected as he played just 11 of 53 defensive snaps.
Certainly it's possible the 'Skins coaches decided to ease their rookie back in after suffering a head injury. But that logic seems flawed - Cravens was cleared by the NFL concussion protocol, and once a player is cleared, it's for full-game action.
Another thought might be that the Washington defense excelled while Cravens was out. He missed Redskins' wins in Baltimore and home against the Eagles, two games where Joe Barry's group shut down the opposing offenses. It's definitely possible coaches elected to stick with a combination of Will Compton and Mason Foster on the field at the inside linebacker positions.
Looking at snap counts from Compton and Foster, it appears that's what the coaches decided. Compton played every defensive snap, and Foster was on the field for 40 of the defenses 53 snaps.
What, if any, role change that means for Cravens will be interesting. Before his injury, Cravens' playing time was trending up, as he had 29 snaps against the Giants and 27 snaps against the Browns before being injured in the 3rd quarter. Cravens was on the field as the nickel and dime linebacker in most situations.
Sunday, that wasn't the case, as the team played a lot of nickel. Slot corner Kendall Fuller, another rookie, was on the field for 40 snaps.
Easing Cravens back in slowly was likely by design, and for a second-round pick with a mountain of promise, a prudent course for the Redskins coaches. That said, as CSN's Rich Tandler likes to point out, in the NFL, cleared is cleared.
Cravens has playmaking ability, he's displayed that already this young season. In fact, he nearly pulled down Lions QB Matt Stafford for a sack on Sunday despite what looked like an obvious hold.
Scot McCloughan drafted Cravens just for that - despite being a positional hyrbid, the rookie is a 'football player,' just like McCloughan wants. This Sunday against the Bengals, with two weeks of practice after the concussion, it will be interesting to see how many chances Cravens gets.
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