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Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Live from the press box at FedEx Field

Right now, just about an hour before kickoff, there are more media members in the stadium than fans.

It's right around freezing now and I can vouch for that. As I made my way through the media parking lot to the bus that takes me, the Redskins Band, the beer vendors and the luxury box servers, there were many patches composed of part water and part ice. It made the going a bit tricky.

The field looks like it's in great shape. They either have the greatest groundskeepers in the world or some damn fine painters. Whichever it is, the Steelers should look into borrowing them.

Suisham is nailing field goal tries from 40 with plenty to spare—he just nailed one that went just a few feet below the top of the goal posts as it went through. It seems that he's over that midseason slump he was in. You never know with a kicker, but he looks like he's a keeper.

There was some talk that Sean Springs would miss tonight's game with the back injury he suffered last week—make that four days ago—against the Bills. But he's active and out there warming up in the end zone just in front of me.

One somewhat surprising name on the inactive list is Todd Wade. It looks like Stephon Heyer is going to get yet another opportunity to make the Redskins wonder if they need to keep spending all of this money on Wade. Or on Jon Jansen, for that matter.

Starting next to Heyer will be Randy Thomas, seeing his first action since Week 2. His left arm is in a brace. It will be interesting to see what kind of form he's in. It's not as though Jason Fabini has done a horrible job by any stretch, but you have to think that Thomas is an immediate upgrade, kind of like making a December trade to shore up the O-line.

I've been coming to this stadium since it opened, sitting in the same end zone either in the stands or in the press box. I just found out that this is the West end zone. It's the one to the left as you're watching on TV, in case anyone cares.

After a week off, apparently out of respect for Sean Taylor, the pregame fireworks are back. Hopefully the smoke will clear prior to kickoff.

No surprise, the greatest play in Redskins history, by a vote of some fans, was John Riggins' fourth and one run in Super Bowl XVII.

We have a new press box announcer. I don't know if he's a fill in or if the other guy got the axe. Maybe the old guy finally got the name of the ball carrier and the yardage of the play right on the same play and retired.

First quarter

14:50—The Bears get the ball at the 34 and it feels like a major victory.

13:36—Chicago is operating without a huddle until a third and nine. The huddle apparently was insufficient as the Bears had to burn a timeout.

13:31—Rex throws both low and short of the first down line.

13:24—How did Cartwright miss blocking that punt?

13:00—Portis gains two yards, maintaining his average from last week.

12:33—An unimpressive three and out for the Redskins on their initial series.

12:00—A good punt by Frost, netting 39 as he angled it straight out of bounds. If he can do that all day, we'll take it. In fact, if he can do that for the rest of the year, we'll take it.

11:37—The tackling has not been very solid for the Redskins so far. Adrian Peterson broke a few to get a first down.

10:58—The Bears are huddling up on this series.

10:53—Grossman is down, he took a pretty good smack after firing an incompletion. Leg or knee got bent the wrong way, and there was an audible "ooh" in the press box when it was shown on replay. Rex is limping off.

10:44—The Bears had the screen called against a Redskins blitz and McIntosh got through quickly enough to prevent a cold Brian Griese from completing it. Bears punt down to Washington eight yard line.

10:31—Grossman is out for the rest of the game with a knee injury.

10:00—Skins in no-huddle now.

9:26—No gain for Portis on third and two. Skins will punt from their own 16.

8:45—Hester is influencing field position. 46-yard punt with 16 on the return and the Bears are in Washington territory at the 46.

8:30—Another missed tackle, this time by McIntosh. A loss of one becomes a gain of three.

5:43—Berrian had a step on Springs, but it didn't look like he made much of an effort to drag the second foot in.

5:32—Kedric Golston gets a hand on Gould's 47-yard field goal attempt and gets the block. That keept the Bears off the board and gives the Redskins their best field position of the day.

5:23—Another two-yard gain for Portis.

4:26—Back to back first downs on passes to Portis and Cooley. The no-huddle is rolling.

3:06—It stalls outside of the Red Zone as Cooley is a yard short.

2:36—I spoke too soon about Suisham. He was just well short from 47.

2:00—A third-down sack of Griese by Carter and a gang of others.

0:00—22 yards to ARE and the Skins convert after a sack.

End of first quarter
Redskins 0, Bears 0

15:00—It took nine security guards to subdue and remove some clown who ran onto the field and to where the players were about to snap the ball.

13:45—A great blitz pickup by Portis allows Campbell to Cooley for 22.

12:04—Another Red Zone trip ends with a field goal attempt—it's a miss, wide left. I'll never say another nice thing about Suisham again.

9:26—This time the Chicago screen against the blitz worked for nine. Third and one.

7:11—A sack by M. Washington slows a steady Chicago march. Third and 10. Griese misfires and the Bears punt.

5:01—Campbell goes out after taking a blow to the arm on a scramble. It looks like he's going to go back in, but it's not certain.

3:42—A three and out for the Bears. Griese is awful.

2:49—Campbell is down again, this time the cart is coming out. It's a knee or something very painful in the lower leg. It has season-ending written all over it.

2:49—Chris Cooley is going to the locker room, too. Appears to be an ankle injury.

2:23—Leigh Torrence makes a good play to knock a punt out of bounds at the one.

1:50—Griese scrambled and chose to dive a yard shy of the first down. Of course, we haven't seen Collins in action yet, so we don't yet know who the worst QB on the field is yet.

1:07—Collins gets blindsided and stripped, trashing decent field position for the Redskins. Now the Bears have a shot at getting on the board.

0:24—Interception and big return of 53 yards by Springs. Now the Redskins have a shot from the 21.

Yoder 21 pass from Collins (Suisham kick)
Redskins 7, Bears 0

A nice pass by Collins, who had all kinds of time to throw. Yoder did a nice job of hanging on to the ball as a defender tries to strip it away around the one.

0:04—After getting no interceptions all year, Springs gets two in the half. Both were on passes intended for Hester.

End of first half
Redskins 7, Bears 0

With the injuries, this could be a pyrrhic victory for the Redskins.

 

Off the top of my head, this is the first time that the Redskins have held the opposition scoreless in the first half. Having a halftime lead, however, is no guarantee of success as we well know.

Campbell is out with a torn patellar tendon.

14:57—I don't know if the Bears think that Rock Cartwright is Hester, but they sure kicked away from him there.

13:02—A great run on a little screen to Portis, as he dodged and weaved for 54 yards on third and two. The dreaded first and goal at the one.

Sellers 1 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 0

11:50—Landry drops a sure pick after it rolled out of the TE's hands.

10:38—An offside call against M. Washington nullifies a third down stop. Third and two from the 21. Then the play clock ran out on the Bears

9:26—A nice catch by Berrian followed by a circus job by Olson has the Bears in scoring range.

7:42—The Bears commit their second false start of the drive, first and 15.

6:56—A false start negates a third and nine stop. Then another delay of game pushes them back five more.

5:59—Torrence makes another play, a good tackle to force a field goal attempt.

FG Gould 30
Redskins 14, Bears 3

The Bears ate up 6:28 to get just three points. If the Redskins don't give them a short field it will be tough for Chicago to catch up.

Of course, I remember typing something similar at this point in the Bills game.

4:33—A three and out, of course, does not help the Redskins' cause in the least. Nor does a punt and penalty that gives the Bears the ball just past midfield.

3:23—The Bears might just have put together a three-play, 48-yard TD drive. A pass to Berrian in the end zone was ruled incomplete but it looks like Chicago may have a good case in its challenge.

Yes, they did.

Berrian 17 pass from Griese (Gould kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 10

3:04—Portis is back in after missing a series with what was announced as a stomach virus. He immediately picks up seven.

1:26—A holding call against Heyer negates a 13-yard completion on first down into Chicago territory. First and 20.

End of third quarter
Redskins 14, Bears 10

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Redskins interviewed Greg Manusky for defensive coordinator

Redskins interviewed Greg Manusky for defensive coordinator

The Redskins interviewed current outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky for their defensive coordinator opening, the team announced yesterday.  

Manusky has a long history with the Redskins organization. He served as outside linebackers coach this past season, and was also linebackers coach back in the 2001 season. In his playing days, Manusky was a Redskins linebacker from 1988 to 1990. 

He has held three separate defensive coordinator positions in his coaching career, including with the San Francisco 49ers (2007-2010), San Diego Chargers (2011) and Indianapolis Colts (2012-2015).

For more on his defensive philosophy and background, check out Rich Tandler's profile of Manusky

The Redskins have confirmed four interviews for the defensive coordinator position: Manusky, Rob Ryan, Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine

MORE REDSKINS: Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

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Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual contenders to go deep into the playoffs. The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart. Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Earlier this week we looked at the offense; today the defense is up. Although there could be a change to a 4-3 base defense in the making depending on who the coordinator is, we’ll line them up in a 3-4 until there is word to the contrary.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

Defensive line

Starters: Chris Baker*, draft pick/free agent X 2
Backups: Matt Ioannidis, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier

It seems that Baker wants to stay and give that the Redskins would be starting their D-line virtually from scratch without him the chances of coming up with a deal seem strong. I will spend the entire 99 days between now and the draft saying that it’s not a given that they will take a defensive lineman, or any defensive player, with their top draft pick. But someone like Malik McDowell of Michigan State sure would fit in well here along with a free agent like Bennie Logan of the Eagles. The organization will be looking for leaps forward from Ioannidis and Lanier.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Outside linebacker

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Lynden Trail

Although nothing is certain until pen is put to paper, the chances of Galette giving it another go after two torn Achilles in two years are strong. Trail and Houston Bates will battle for a fifth spot, if there is one. Given Smith’s inconsistency and the uncertainty of Galette’s health it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft an edge rusher.

Inside linebacker

Starters: Will Compton, free agent
Backups: Martrell Spaight, Mason Foster, draft pick

I’m putting Compton there in dry erase marker, not in Sharpie. They love his leadership and work ethic but he must make more plays. I have a free agent starting beside him because it’s a tough position for a rookie to learn. But if they spend a high draft pick that player could jump into a starting job quickly.  Foster moves into the nickel role that he performed well after Su’a Cravens went out with an injury. Steven Daniels, a 2016 seventh-round pick who spent the year on injured reserve, could push Spaight for a job.

Cornerback

Starters: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar
Backups: Kendall Fuller (nickel), Tharold Simon, free agent/draft pick

This could go in a lot of different directions. The only spot set in stone is Norman’s. I have Bashaud Breeland moving to safety, which is something of a speculative hot take. If they make that move, they could spend a high draft pick or substantial free agent money on a corner or they could stay in-house with Dunbar or Fuller. Simon could make the team and contribute or he could be cut.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Safety

Starters: Su’a Cravens, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, draft pick

Safeties are hard to find. In college, potentially good safeties gravitate towards cornerback, where the NFL money is better. If a good one hits the free agent market, the laws of supply and demand push the price up beyond the value of the position. For those reasons, the Redskins might try Breeland at safety. Some in the organization have believed for a couple of years that safety is his best position. Cravens announced that he would be moving to safety so that change is firm. Duke Ihenacho, who is a free agent, could be back but I think he moves along. Blackmon is a good veteran reserve who can play nickel also. Even though he made a key interception when forced into duty against the Eagles, it still seems that they don’t trust Everett at safety and perhaps a mid-round pick will replace him.

Specialists: LS Nick Sundberg*, P Tress Way, PK Dustin Hopkins

I predict that Sundberg will be the first of the team’s pending free agents to agree to a contract. Hopkins may get some camp competition but it is unlikely to be of more than the token variety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.