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Comings and goings in Ashburn

Comings and goings in Ashburn

After going for six weeks with no roster moves, the Washington Redskins made three of them on Tuesday. Here's who's in, who's out, and what it means.

Punter Ryan Plackemeier in, punter Durant Brooks out—The Redskins were as patient as they could be with Brooks but they just couldn't afford to wait for him to develop into a consistent punter. The last straw was a 26-yard punt from the end zone that allowed the Rams to kick a field goal without needing to gain as much as a first down. Those three points in a game the Redskins lost by two, obviously, were critical. Plackemeier punted pretty well for two seasons in Seattle before getting the ax after a poor performance in the Seahawks' opener this year. He signed a two-year deal so if he does well he'll be around next season.

Analysis: It's hard to get very excited about this as there is no guarantee that Plackemeier will represent an immediate upgrade. Still, the odds are that he'll be more consistent than Brooks, who was waived-injured. That means that the Redskins could put him on injured reserve, giving him a shot at competing for the job next year.

Safety Reed Doughty out, safety Mike Green in—Since opening day, Doughty has gone from starter to reserve to injured reserve. His back may need surgery to correct a nerve problem. Green is a seasoned veteran, having spent six years with the Chicago Bears before spending the last two seasons in Seattle.

Analysis: The Redskins were extraordinarily inexperienced at the safety position with Doughty, in his third year, being the sage veteran of the bunch. Chris Horton has been a great playmaker but he also has needed to ride the bench from time to time due to mental errors. Fellow rookie Kareem Moore had brain lock and didn't blitz on the 43-yard pass the Rams completed to set up their game-winning field goal. Green played under Greg Blache in Chicago so he should be able to pick things up pretty quickly and fill in during the times that Moore and Horton need mental time outs.

Safety Justin Hamilton out, running back Shaun Alexander in—Ladell Betts, on the shelf with knee and hamstring injuries, replaces Hamilton on the weekly inactive list for at least three or four weeks. Former Seahawk Alexander will get Betts' carries.

Analysis: Alexander's performance has dropped off dramatically since he gained 1,880 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for Seattle in 2005. Not coincidentally, it says here, he signed an eight-year, $62 million contract after that MVP season. Since the ink dried on that deal he has not been the same runner; he's been leaning into the line rather than slamming into it and tiptoeing rather than running with authority. If now, after spending a couple of humbling months on the street, he is concerned about his legacy he could be a valuable asset. If he's still fat and happy about the size of his bank account he'll be a downgrade and the Redskins will be counting the days until Betts can return.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

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

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.