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Under pressure: Hall needs more picks

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Under pressure: Hall needs more picks

The NFL is a pressure-packed environment with players fighting every day to keep their jobs and to win games. But some are under the gun more than others. Between now and the start of training camp well take a look at the players who are in the spotlight and under the most pressure to perform. Earlier we looked at Brian Orakpo and today its DeAngelo Hall.DeAngelo Hall has had many memorable moments with the Redskins. In the 2010 season opener he forced and then scooped up a fumble and ran it into the end zone for the Redskins only touchdown in a win over Dallas. Later that year he picked off four Jay Cutler passes, returning one of them for a TD that was the winning margin in that game.The memories are not always so pleasant. The two enduring images of Hall last year are of him grabbing Dez Bryants facemask after giving up a big fourth-down completion that set up the game-winning field goal for Dallas and of him watching while the Patriots Rob Gronkowski broke away from two tacklers and rumbled down the sideline.Hall is a playmaker and he makes plays that help both teams. He also is the Redskins No. 1 cornerback and he is making 6 million this year. His salary cap number would be higher but the Redskins paid him a big chunk of money in 2010. That was part of the reason they were hit with the 36 million salary cap penalty this year and next.The Redskins are looking at moving him to slot corner. In the past, that would be considered a step down from playing on the outside, as teams would go with three wide receivers only on passing down. But as teams go the three- and four-receiver sets in just about any down and distance, the nickel position has become a starting job. In some ways, it is more challenging than playing on the outside.There's a lot more room out there is the slot, Hall said during minicamp last month. The receiver's got two ways to go, you've got to cover the whole field as opposed to playing corner where you can go, that's the sideline.You can see your friend over there, the sideline, you've got help sometimes. It's definitely a lot easier as opposed to playing nickel but we've got a lot of things with the nickel where you've got a chance to go our and have some fun, too.Things will be a lot more fun if he can pick off some more passes. He had the one great game against the Bears but playing nearly every snap in the other 31 games in the past two years he has a total of five interceptions. Thats OK if youre a lockdown corner who has opposing quarterbacks afraid to throw in your direction Its not nearly enough if your game is based on getting takeaways.This could be a make or break year for Hall. His salary ticks up to 7.5 million next year and it goes to 9 million in 2014. If his interception totals dont climb with his salary the Redskins could go looking for other options.

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips