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Caldwell signs with the Rams

Caldwell signs with the Rams

Receiver Reche Caldwell, who spent last season as a reserve with the Washington Redskins, has signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams.

Caldwell, who will turn 29 on Friday, was picked up by the Redskins early in the season. After being inactive for most of the first 10 weeks of the season, he started to see some action in the latter part of the year. He caught 15 passes for an average of 9.4 yards per catch, a paltry average for a wide receiver.

The Redskins have had a one-year, veteran minimum contract offer sitting on the table for Caldwell since the start of free agency. They also extended a minimum-salary offer to former Seattle receiver D. J. Hackett.

It doesn't take a very sophisticated reading of the tea leaves to figure out that the Redskins have a salary slot set aside for a veteran wide receiver who is willing to play for the minimum salary.

Given Caldwell's rejection, it could be a while before the Skins are able to find someone to fill that spot. The remaining veteran free agents on the market right now consist of the likes of Samie Parker, Tim Dwight, and Aaron Moorehead. They could opt, I suppose, to party like it was Buffalo in 1999 and reunite Eric Moulds and Peerless Price.

Indeed, Caldwell, with his 140 yards of productivity in 2007, was the cream of the remaining free agent receiver crop.

Caldwell's departure leaves the Redskins with seven receivers on the roster—Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash, Anthony Mix, Billy McMullen, Burl Toler, and Maurice Mann. The team probably will keep five on the 53-man roster.

As of right now, only Moss and Randle El are assured of having roster one of those 53 spots.

I think that Mix will be given a shot at beating out Thrash, who is about to turn 33. Mix could be a younger, cheaper version of Thrash, a special teams standout who also can be productive at receiver when necessary.

It seems almost certain that one of the Redskins draft picks in the first three rounds will be a receiver; that leaves one WR roster spot. If the team finds that vet-minimum guy, he's number five. This hypothetical wideout may not become available until someone is cut in training camp.

That's the scenario that McMullen is hoping for, anyway. The longer it takes the Redskins to find that veteran, the longer he has to convince the Redskins that he could be that guy. If anyone was glad to see Caldwell head West, it was McMullen, a former Virginia standout and a third-round pick by the Eagles who has the size (6' 4") but never has been productive enough to earn a regular spot.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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In case you missed it

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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