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Defining a role for Tim Hightower


Defining a role for Tim Hightower

Tim Hightower is back with the Redskins. Now what?Although we havent heard anything yet, it seems unlikely that he will be able to participate in the upcoming OTAs and minicamp. He suffered his torn ACL against the Panthers on Oct. 23 last year. That was seven months ago and the injury usually requires at least nine months of rehab.If he can recover fully from the knee injury the Redskins would be wise to define a role for him and stick to it whenever possible. And the workhorse running back, which is what they tried to make him into last year, is not a role for which he is well suited.In his first two games with the Redskins last year Hightower carried 45 times. Prior to that the most carries he had in two consecutive games in his career was 35, when he was a rookie with the Cardinals in 2008. His carries were limited over the next few games and he did not play in the Week 5 game against the Eagles with a shoulder injury. The next week he was well on his way to another heavy workload against the Panthers when he went down with the injured knee on his 17th carry of the game early in the third quarter.In three years in Arizona he averaged about nine carries per game and he never missed a game due to injury. The shoulder injury might be an indication that he was being overworked. The ACL, of course, could happen to anybody.Hightower might be able to handle more than nine carries per game but it seems that it would be wise to hold his rushing attempts down well under 20 per game.Hightower excels in pass protection and with rookie starter Robert Griffin III at quarterback, those skills will be welcome. He caught 63 passes out of the backfield in 2009 so there is some more ability that the Redskins can take advantage of. That doesnt mean that he should be relegated to duty as strictly a third-down back but his carries do need to be limited.The same holds true for Roy Helu Jr., who was the teams prime back in the latter half of the season until he wore down under workloads of 25 carries per game.If Griffin is going to have a successful rookie season, the Redskins will need to run the ball often and they will need to run it well. There should be about 500 carries or more for Hightower, Helu, Evan Royster and possibly rookie Alfred Morris to split up. If that can be done in a way that maximizes the effectiveness of all of the backs and has the right back in the game in the right situation, the Redskins should improve their 25th-ranked rushing game and Griffin will have a shot at reaching his potential.

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.