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Full Redskins injury report: No players ruled out, four are questionable

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Full Redskins injury report: No players ruled out, four are questionable

Injury report for Redskins vs. Saints

Redskins

Questionable (50% chance player will play)

CB DeAngelo Hall (toe)—Hall was limited in practice all week and he may be getting close but at cornerback, with the need to backpedal and cut, close with his sprained toe may not be good enough. But he seems to be determined to play, so we will see.

LB Keenan Robinson (shoulder/rib/abdomen)—If this was the NHL his injury would be described as “upper body” and in this case the meaning would be literal. In the last two weeks he has been out of practice or limited with injuries to his abdomen, ribs, shoulder, and neck. If he can’t go on Sunday, Will Compton will start in his place.

WR Andre Roberts (ankle)—Roberts has been limited in practice all week. He could be inactive on Sunday due to either the ankle or a coach’s decision. It is possible they keep Rashad Ross active as the fifth wide receiver and to return kickoffs and have Roberts inactive.

NT Terrance Knighton (migraine)—He has been free of symptoms of cluster headaches all week and has practiced fully every day. Barring a setback he should be good to go.

Probable (virtually certain will play)

CB Chris Culliver (knee)—Culliver was on a snap count against the Patriots. He started and played 51 snaps against the Patriots. His inflamed knee came out of it OK and he should be a full go.

WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring)—He was healthy enough to get on the field for 50 snaps against the Patriots but perhaps not healthy enough to produce at the level expected of him. He couldn’t outrun cornerbacks and that’s trouble for him. Jay Gruden indicated that he is getting his speed back. We will find out on Sunday.

CB Bashaud Breeland (hamstring)—Like Culliver, his snaps were limited against the Patriots. Breeland returned from a pulled hamstring he suffered late in the Redskins’ last game before the bye. He may not have been able to go if they had played after that Bucs game but he and Culliver essentially split one cornerback’s snaps. The second-year player was on the field for 32 of the 79 defensive plays. Breeland should be close to a full go against the Saints.

LB Ryan Kerrigan (hand)—Kerrigan played 73 snaps against the Patriots with his broken right hand in a light cast with padding. He muddled through, playing a little below his standards. With perhaps a smaller cast and a week under his belt to adjust, he should be closer to his normal self.

RB Chris Thompson (back)—The third-down back sustained a back contusion when he jumped up trying to reel in an errant pass against the Jets and laded flat on his back on the MetLife Stadium field turf. He couldn’t go against the Bucs but he got some extra back padding and played on a limited basis against the Patriots.

DE Jason Hatcher (Knee)—I detailed his program in a separate article last week. It seems certain he will play but his snaps could be limited.

Also probable are S Dashon Goldson (hamstring) and C Josh LeRibeus (shoulder).

Injured reserve

C Kory Lichtensteiger (Neck): He got through the Falcons game with what Gruden described as a “disc area” injury but he was worse for wear after doing so. After missing three straight games and with his timetable for return up in the air, the team decided to put him on injured reserve and sign veteran center Brian de la Puente.

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True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on their roster this year.

Rich Tandler: True

The Redskins added a tight end to a roster that had four experienced players at the position already on it. But, make no mistake, fifth-round selection Jeremy Sprinkle was not a “luxury” pick.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are both stone cold locks to make the roster. They are the pass catchers who are expected to combine for perhaps 1,500 yards and at least a dozen touchdowns.

The third tight end could be Niles Paul, a veteran who has battled injuries the last two years. He appears to be healthy and if he stays that way he can play tight end, be the fullback on the six or eight snaps per game the Redskins use one, and be a strong contributor on special teams.

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Sprinkle can fill a role that those three can’t—blocking tight end. Jay Gruden had to put tackle Ty Nsekhe on the field when they needed a three-tight end set. That made the job of the defense easier with essentially four eligible receivers to deal with.

With a well-defined role for each player, it would make perfect sense for the Redskins to carry four tight ends on the 53-man roster rather than the customary three. Of course, if they carry four at tight end they have to go with one fewer player elsewhere. They will find a spot.

Running back seems to be the logical place to go for that spot. If they keep, say, Mack Brown as the fourth running back, you then have a player without a defined role. He’s the backup to the backup to the backup. Sure, he can do special teams, but not as well as Paul.

Perhaps if you want to keep Brown you let go of Paul with his recent injury history and his $2.2 million cap number in mind. Or you can let Sprinkle get some seasoning on the practice squad.

But I think that the Redskins drafted Sprinkle with the plan to keep four tight ends. If they are going to go with their best, most versatile 53 that is what they will do.

JP Finlay: False

Man, this is tough. If you asked me this in May, I thought Niles Paul would be caught in a roster crunch. After watching the guys on the field through OTAs and minicamp, this decision becomes much harder. 

Paul played well in those sessions, showed no rust from the injuries and impressed regardless what quarterback he was paired up with. Sprinkle looked like a rookie with a lot to learn, and while he's really big, he still seemed like his upper body could fill out in the NFL. 

In a vacuum it's easy to say the Redskins should keep four tight ends. Like Tandler laid out above, Reed and Davis are roster locks. Paul can help in a ton of spots, and Sprinkle should evolve into the blocking tight end for the jumbo set. 

But NFL rosters aren't made in vacuums. To keep a fourth tight end, the Redskins will have to make a cut, and Tandler suggested Mack Brown could be the guy. I don't see that happening. Jay Gruden and Randy Jordan speak glowingly about Brown. 

This will be a fun roster spot to watch, but in June, before any injuries or the competition of training camp, I think the Redskins keep Reed, Davis and Paul. Then they really, really hope they can sneak the rookie Sprinkle to their practice squad.

Washington has not kept three healthy tight ends on their roster in the last few seasons, and if that trend continues, Sprinkle would make the NFL roster before the end of the year. Keeping four tight ends just isn't a luxury the Redskins have, especially keeping three quarterbacks like they're expected to do. 

Tandler-Finlay True or False series: Leading rusher | Leading receiver

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Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Much can be learned looking to the past, at least that's what thousands of college students hear every fall when they sit down for History 101. Assuming the premise is true, perhaps something can be learned from looking back at Bruce Allen's tenure across the NFL and the quarterbacks that started for those teams. 

A refresher: Allen worked with the Raiders and Bucs before coming to the Redskins. Allen started with the Raiders in 1995, and worked his way up through the front office, earning the NFL's Executive of the Year award in 2002. He left the Raiders to work with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2004, after the pair experienced much success together with the Raiders. Tampa fired Allen in 2008, and he came to work with the Redskins in 2010. 

His tenure with the Raiders showcased the best QB find in his file: Rich Gannon. Before coming to Oakland, Gannon earned the journeyman title, starting 58 games over 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Vikings and, yes, the Redskins.

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Once Gannon and Gruden worked together, everything clicked. The Raiders started winning games and Gannon started to pile up impressive offensive stats. He was the quarterback when Oakland lost the infamous 'Tuck Rule' playoff game against New England, and won an NFL MVP award in 2002 while guiding the Raiders to the Super Bowl (which they lost to a Jon Gruden coached Tampa team). 

Gannon was a find, undoubtedly. Beyond that, Allen's resume on quarterbacks gets pretty ugly.

In fact, Kirk Cousins would probably rank as the second best QB of all Bruce Allen teams. In Tampa, the quarterback position was a revolving door, and included luminaries (sarcasm font) like Chris Simms, Brian Griese and Bruce Gradkowski. The Bucs added Jeff Garcia in 2007, and he had some success, but was 37 years old at that point. 

Once he got to Washington, the Redskins trotted out a collection of subpar passers like a past-his-prime Donovan McNabb, a-never-actually-good John Beck and Rex Grossman. Rex needs no introduction. 

In 2012, the Redskins quarterback fortunes changed. The team made a very aggressive trade to draft Robert Griffin III. RG3 was supposed to be the franchise savior, and for much of his rookie season, that plan seemed to be working. 

Injuries and infighting ruined Griffin's time with the Redskins, and opened the door for 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins to emerge. 

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Now, in 2017, Cousins has twice broken the Redskins single season passing yards record and cemented himself as a quality NFL starter. His long-term future with the organization remains uncertain, as Cousins will play this season on a one-year contract and the prospect of a multi-year contract seems slim. 

It's hard to draw too many conclusions looking the quarterbacks throughout Allen's tenure. Before Gannon in Oakland, the Raiders tried a variety of other journeyman QBs (Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George). One could argue they got lucky with Gannon, or that the organization brought out his best tools. Either way it's a positive grade.

In Tampa, the results look much worse. On paper, it seemed the Bucs tried to get cheap, available quarterbacks and make them work, believing strongly in their offensive system. It didn't work. 

In Washington, particularly during the Grossman/Beck season, it seemed the Redskins tried a similar approach. That ended in 2012 with the trade for RG3. The Redskins paid up big time, in the form of draft picks. 

Now it's arguable that a deal with Cousins can even be reached, but if that does happen, it will be because the Redskins pay up. Recent history doesn't suggest it, but this situation has never presented itself either. Cousins is a fourth-round pick that emerged after a few volatile seasons to establish himself as a Top 15 NFL starter.

There's no lesson for that in the history books. 

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