Thanks to a few alert readers, I must stand corrected on one point I made in the last edition of this blog. I stated that the trade with Denver doesn’t equal out on any draft value chart you can find. That was incorrect.
On the standard draft value chart, which assigns points based on the position of a draft pick and that a lot of NFL teams use as a quick way to calculate the worth of a deal while they’re on the clock during the draft, picks in future years are discounted. The point value of the first-rounder the Skins gave up for next year is considerably less than the value of the first-rounder they got from Denver. According to no less an authority than Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins gave up picks worth 715 points to get a pick worth 750.
We’ll have to wait a few years until after we’ve seen the players picked with the draft selections involved in the deal perform to truly judge this trade. And, of course, in the eyes of many in the local and national media the Redskins can do no right. But based on the only objective standard available right now, it appears that the Redskins didn’t severely over pay for Denver’s pick.
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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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.
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The Redskins’ other inactive players today:
- QB Nate Sudfeld
- DL AJ Francis
- RB Matt Jones
- WR Rashad Ross
- DB Dashaun Phillips