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53: Linebackers

53: Linebackers

Brian Orakpo's play at linebacker will be key to the Redskins' D this year

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, linebackers:

Who's here Now: (9) Alfred Fincher, Cody Glenn, Robert Henson, Brian Orakpo, Robert Thomas, Darrel Young, London Fletcher, H. B. Blades, Rocky McIntosh.

How many will stick: 7

Starters: Fletcher in the middle, flanked by McIntosh and Orakpo. The Orakpo experiment is the key to the defense this year. If he can play well against the run and not get burned too often in coverage—and don't doubt that Greg Blache will figure out ways to shade some help his way—while playing standing up, the defense could be a truly dominant unit. If things work out as they hope, he may well be playing more end than linebacker because the opposition will be facing a lot of second and long situations. Fletcher started to show some signs of slowing down last year but he's still more than adequate and is Blache's extension on the field. McIntosh is fully recovered from his late '07 knee injury and could have a big year.

Solid backups: Blades, Henson—Blades didn't embarrass himself as a starter, filling in much of the year for Marcus Washington, but he's better suited to coming off of the bench in situational substitutions. Henson has worked at all three linebacker spots and he will play special teams.

Last men on: Thomas, Fincher—Both are valuable, veteran reserves. Fincher is a good contributor on special teams. If they are even in camp but one of them has to go, Fincher is four years younger than Thomas so he probably would get the nod.

First man off: Glenn converted from running back and will have to catch on in a huge hurry if he wants to make it. Outstanding special teams performance could edge him onto the final roster as well. The odds are against it and he likely winds up on the practice squad.

Spots taken so far: 44

Spots Remaining: 9

Next: Defensive backs

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a roster move just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable



TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.


LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)


Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.