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A Lone Voice Supports Gibbs

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A Lone Voice Supports Gibbs

You'd think that with 3 Lombardi's that
Gibbs could figure this cap thing out.

For most of last week, the silence was deafening among those in the DC and national sports media willing to defend the Redskins' decisions to trade Laveranues Coles (thus eating the subsequent net $6 million cap hit) and to not up their offers to Antonio Pierce and Fred Smoot. The critics, on the other hand, were out in droves, with Wilbon saying that Gibbs and company were cooking "a meal that's unpalatable", his Post collegue Mike Wise talking about "utter upheaval over one of the worst offseasons in recent franchise history", Dan Daly saying that "the loss of Pierce, Smoot and Coles were power punches directly to Gibbs' midsection", and so on. The national press followed the template established, that the Redskins "organization" or lack thereof really blew it here.

After that died down, the wise voice of one George Solomon, who has been on the staff of Post's sports department forever, came through in his column on Sunday:

The Washington Redskins losing cornerback Fred Smoot to the Minnesota Vikings last week, on the heels of taking a salary cap whack as a result of the Laveranues Coles-for-Santana Moss trade and the recent loss of up-and-coming linebacker Antonio Pierce to the New York Giants, has many fans asking, "Who's in charge of this team?"

And the answer would be Joe Gibbs. Solomon continued:
To those who question whether he can succeed at managing a franchise when his previous role here was mostly coaching, Gibbs must want to ask, 'Do you think running a NASCAR operation the last decade was simply about replacing spark plugs and buying team jackets?'

Gibbs, 64, signed a five-year contract last year at more than $5 million a season to be team president and coach. While his 6-10 team was a major disappointment to him and the fans, one can assume he has learned enough about his players, coaching staff, his boss, the salary cap and front-office personnel to be the right person running the operation.That, of course, is the key question--is Gibbs the right guy? Time will tell, but Solomon leaves with one thought:
Choose a side on this Gibbs stuff, if you must, knowing once the race begins you can't cross the track.Special Signing

The Redskins signed former Buffalo safety Pierson Prioleau to a contract. He'll provide depth at the position behind Sean Taylor and Matt Bowen, but that won't be his primary role. It's no secret that Prioleau (just when I no longer have to write about "Laveranues" along comes another impossible to spell name) was brought on to upgrade Washington's special teams. From the Washington Times:

Prioleau, 27, led the Buffalo Bills in special-teams tackles (30) last season and has experience with three former Bills assistants now on the Redskins' staff: assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams, safeties coach Steve Jackson and special teams coach Danny Smith.

Although the coverage units on special teams don't gather many headlines, coach Joe Gibbs made it a priority to upgrade that area. Last year Smith was forced to piece together units with inexperienced players.

The result was inconsistent play on the kicking units including numerous fouls that could only be characterized as "dumb". Gibbs said that Prioleau was just the first of "three to five" veteran types who would be brought on to bolster the special teams.

This has to make some of the team's returning players, those who don't start but also are liabilites on special teams, a bit nervious. Note to Andre Lott, Rock Cartwright, and Darnerien McCants: Don't go singing any long-term leases around DC; go month to month through August if you can.

Courtney Brown

Back in 2000, the Cleveland Browns had the top pick in the draft and were focused on two Penn State players to choose. One was linebacker Lavar Arrington, the other was defensive end Courtney Brown. The Redskins wanted no part of Brown, clearly preferring Arrington. Playing the draft game to its fullest, Cleveland tried to bait the Redskins into trading up into the number one slot to ensure that they would be able to snare the stud linebacker. The Skins didn't blink, Cleveland took Brown first and Washington got its man.

While Arrington has yet to develop into a consistent monster performer, it's clear that he's been better than his old Nittany Lion teammate through his career. Brown has been bothered by injury and inconsistency to the point where Cleveland released him last week. The Skins brought him in for a visit and a physical on Thursday. While they're was talk that the team wanted to get his signature on a contract before he left town, Brown departed still a free agent.

Said Gibbs, quoted in the Post:
The best way for me to say it is we just had a good visit and [he] took a physical, and kind of went through a process there. We'll just work through the rest of it. I don't think there's anything imminent.This means that Brown came in hoping to get one of those offers the Redskins have made in the past few years, the ones where they bid against themselves and drive the price up so high that he couldn't even think of leaving without signing. Apparently, that didn't happen. Gibbs is not going to break the bank on a player who will be in a regular rotation at defenisve end at best. And if Brown won't come on at his price, well, it will just leave a few more dollars to spend on those special-teams guys.

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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 Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.