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Need to Know: Five notes on the Redskins' Tuesday signings

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Need to Know: Five notes on the Redskins' Tuesday signings

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 12, 26 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

Here is a comment on each of the free agents the Redskins signed on Tuesday:

LB Perry Riley—They got him for three years and $13 million when he was looking for $7 million per year. He’s not a great player or even a very good one but it would have been difficult to operate the defense with two new middle linebackers.

WR Santana Moss—We heard a few weeks ago that the Redskins had some preliminary talks about a contract but nothing recently. Most assumed he was gone even before the news that Andre Roberts was coming. But he’s back on a one-year deal and the receiving roles will be sorted out.

WR Andre Roberts—The highest-ranked player they signed today, Roberts will come in with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after being demoted to No. 3 receiver in Arizona last year. He just turned 26 so his prime years are ahead of them.

OL Shawn Lauvao—He was Rotoworld’s 10th-ranked guard but certainly a mystery to most Redskins fans. There will be some changes along the line for the first time since 2011.

LB Adam Hayward—You probably don’t want him as a starter at inside linebacker but he could do it in a pinch. His three-year contract pays him about $1 million per and his job will be to serve as one of the mainstays on special teams.

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Timeline

—It’s been 73 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 179 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 26; NFL Draft 57

In case you missed it

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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.

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

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.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips