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Redskins’ 2014 defense could have a very familiar look

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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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Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

All signs point to the Redskins starting Arie Kouandjio at left guard this weekend against the Eagles, and the coaching staff knows it's a big chance for the second-year man.

Incumbent starter Shawn Lauvao injured his groin last week against the Cardinals, and has not practiced all week. Assuming he doesn't play, this would mark Kouandjio's second start this season. He also got the start against the Browns in Week 4.

Washington coach Jay Gruden did not speak glowingly of Kouandjio's play against Cleveland, but it wasn't a negative review, either.

"He’s played one game, he played OK," the coach said. "He has another great opportunity for him. He’s waited his turn, done what’s asked of him. Practiced hard, played hard, and it’s a great opportunity.”

With center Spencer Long currently in concussion protocol and backup John Sullivan started to go in the middle of the Redskins offensive line, the group will have a number of new faces against the Eagles. The right side of the line, with guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses, will be the same as its been all year, though both of those players are nursing ankle injuries. 

"We have confidence in the guys that if some of those guys that are backups need to step up and be ready to roll," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!