|Who are the Redskins’ best players and who are the ones who are starting just because there isn’t enough talent to push them out? If another team had a shot at anyone on the Redskins’ roster to use for the 2005 season, who would they gobble up and who would they say thanks, but no thanks to?|
|To help answer these questions I ranked the Redskins starters from the most expendable to the most valuable. Today, numbers 1-8.
In inverse order, here are my rankings of the Redskins starters, including punter and kicker, based on what I think they might do in 2006. Their 2005 rankings here (Part 1, Part 2), where applicable, are in parenthesis:
8. G Randy Thomas (12)—He may well have been headed to Hawaii before he went down with a broken leg in Week 16. The leg will limit him in preseason activities but he should be fine for the start of the season.
7. DE Andre Carter (NR)—Carter will have to adjust from being a standup linebacker last year to playing with his hand in the dirt. If he can adjust, and stay healthy, he’ll be the answer to the one glaring need the defense has had the last couple of years, a strong pass rushing presence on the line.
6. T Chris Samuels (7)—The time may have passed for him to move up into the ranks of the truly elite left tackles in the league, but he’s as solid as they come.
5. Sean Taylor (5)—A full offseason with the defense staff and his teammates should help make him the deadly force in the defense that seemed to be his destiny when the Redskins drafted him.
4. Cornelius Griffin (1)—When he missed some time with a groin injury last year the defense suffered from the lack of his dominating presence in the middle of the line.
3. RB Clinton Portis (2)—After Portis set the team season rushing record last year, do you notice how he’s no longer being called a “system back”.
2. LB Marcus Washington (3)—He blitzes, stuffs the run from sideline to sideline, covers as well as any linebacker in the game, and has a knack for making the big play. In addition, Washington is now the inspirational leader of the defense; his great worth ethic and relentlessly positive attitude make him a natural for the job.
1. WR Santana Moss (9)—The comment here last year was, “He had better contribute a lot of big plays, as it appears he’s not capable of much else.” He did contribute a lot of big plays and, on top of that, he displayed a talent for turning little plays, like a slip screen pass behind the line of scrimmage, in to big ones. Everyone is looking forward to see what he can do with some more effective receivers on the other side to draw some of the defensive attention away from him.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com
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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The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.
If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.
Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.
While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.
The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson.
Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.
Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)
CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.
Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates
10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.
1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall
10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.
10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.