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Redskins’ 2014 defense could have a very familiar look


Redskins’ 2014 defense could have a very familiar look

Jim Haslett recently talked about some pending free agents on defense that he would like to retain. He named linebackers Brian Orakpo and Perry Riley, lineman Chris Baker, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Yesterday here we looked at the salary cap numbers on the defensive line. It is possible that their contracts will tie both Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield to the team this season.

A picture of the 2014 Redskins defense is beginning to emerge and it is looking a lot like the 2013 unit. Let’s take a look:

Defensive line: Assuming Cofield and Bowen are retained and Baker is back, those three would join Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Neild, and probably Kedric Golston and your depth chart is identical to what it was in 2013.

Linebacker: There will be one hole in the middle, created by London Fletcher’s retirement. If Orakpo and Riley come back they would join Ryan Kerrigan and 75 percent of the linebacking corps would be returning.

Secondary: If Hall comes back he will be one starter at cornerback and 2013 second-round pick David Amerson likely would get the starting nod opposite him. Amerson played about two thirds of the snaps last year so that would be a very familiar look. Brandon Meriweather is under contract so there’s a good chance he lines up at one safety spot. The other one could be filled either Phillip Thomas or Bacarri Rambo or the team could bring in a free agent or another draft pick.

Under the very plausible scenarios here, the Redskins would wind up with two new starters in defense and perhaps a new nickel back. That doesn’t seem to be much of an infusion of talent that many think is needed to turn the defense into a playoff-caliber unit.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.


Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).


Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.