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53: Defensive Line

53: Defensive Line

Andre Carter

Between now and the start of training camp I'll be making my predictions about who will be on the final 53-man roster for the Washington Redskins--who's there, who's in, who's on the bubble, and who's out. The predicted roster will be revised and updated as preseason events warrant. Today, the defensive line:

Who's here Now: (16) Ends: Alex Buzbee, Andre Carter, Phillip Daniels, Rob Jackson, Jeremy Jarmon, J. D. Skolnitsky, Derek Walker, Chris Wilson, Renaldo Wynn Tackles: Lorenzo Alexander, Antonio Dixon, Kedric Golston, Cornelius Griffin, Albert Haynesworth, Vaka Manupuna, Anthony Montgomery. (Note—Jarmon is not yet on the official roster so it's likely that another DE will be released when he signs his contract. Also, I am counting Brian Orakpo as a linebacker.)

How many will stick: 10

Starters: From left to right, Daniels, Haynesworth, Griffin, Carter. On obvious passing downs, Orakpo will move up and rush the passer from the left side. The additions of Haynesworth and Orakpo and the return of Daniels turn this unit from a relative weakness to a strength. Ideally, Haynesworth will crash the middle

Solid backups: Golston, Montgomery, Jarmon, Wilson. Jarmon probably won't get a whole lot of time at end, barring injury, as he needs to bulk up and learn the system. Montgomery and Golston will go from sharing the starting job to trying to make an impact as rotational players in their contract years. Wilson seems to be the best bet to back up Carter as the pass rushing defensive end.

Last men on: Alexander, Jackson—The battles for the last two, or maybe even three, spots on the defensive line will be among the highlights of August. Alexander didn't play as much on offense as he did under Gibbs but his flexibility gives him a leg up on the competition. Jackson will have to perform well enough to warrant a spot on the game day roster on a regular basis if he's going to make it. He needs to hope that the Redskins do decide to go with 10 plus Orakpo on the D-line because he's very much on the bubble if they go with nine.

First men off: Wynn, Buzbee—I made the case last week that Wynn could be released when Jarmon signs. If he does stay, he'll give it a battle but the acquisition of Jarmon sealed Wynn's fate. For Buzbee it's a matter of poor timing. He had his shot to make some noise last year but he suffered a season-ending knee injury the same day that Daniels did.

Spots taken so far: 18

Spots to go: 35

Next: Running back-fullback

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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.

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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