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Examining Redskins options after preseason injuries to Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens

Examining Redskins options after preseason injuries to Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens

No injuries. Ask any football coach their biggest hope coming out of a preseason game, and "no injuries" will be the most common answer. Sure, coaches want the players to execute and the team to win, but leaving the field injury free is the higest priority. 

For the Redskins, that doesn't appear to be the case after Thursdy night's game in Baltimore. Outside linebacker Trent Murphy left the game after getting his left knee and leg rolled up on, and was spotted leaving the locker room on crutches. Safety Su'a Cravens was seen on the sideline getting his knee looked at by trainers, though he left the locker room walking on his own power. 


After the game, Jay Gruden said both players would get MRIs on Friday to reveal the extent of the injuries. Without speculating about the severity, odds are both players will at least miss some preseason action. Let's look at the Redskins options behind both players. 

Murphy: This is a tricky situation since the fourth-year pass rusher out of Stanford was to set to miss the first four games of the year with a PED suspension. The earliest Murphy can take the field for Washington is Week 6 (four game suspension and Week 5 bye), so there is more time for him to heal. In the preseason, however, Washington is now quite thin at outside linebacker. Preston Smith sprained his ankle in Richmond and is likely to miss another week. Junior Galette didn't play Thursday with a hamstring issue. Galette hasn't played in two seasons, and Washington should be as cautious as needed with the veteran sackmaster. The durable Ryan Kerrigan is obviously an option, but a player with his track record does not need a ton of preseason work. Second-round rookie Ryan Anderson can take more snaps, but shouldn't be overused in games that don't matter either. Washington is in a good spot that rosters don't need to be cut until after the fourth preseason game. Expect to see plenty of Lynden Trail and Pete Robertson during the remaining three games of the preseason. 

Cravens: The second-year player out of USC missed one practice in training camp, and Deshazor Everett stepped in for him. Everett has a lot that coaches like, he flies to the ball and puts himself in position for big hits, though he lacks the size of Cravens. That size and tackling ability helps Cravens work against tight ends and running backs. Further down the roster, rookie Montae Nicholson still seems far away from actual game reps after undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason. Could DeAngelo Hall be an option? That seems far away too, as he's still on the PUP list and has hardly even been seen running down in Richmond. Veteran Will Blackmon could be an option, he's versatile, though he seems a more clear backup to D.J. Swearinger. Expect to see much more of Everett. 



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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks


2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

Through six weeks of the NFL season, it's clear who the Super Bowl favorites are.

In the AFC, it's, um, well, OK, let's do the NFC first. In the NFC, you have to watch out for — actually, nevermind, this isn't that easy.


The Chiefs and Eagles are the only two teams standing at 5-1, but there are quite a few 4-2 squads right behind them, as well as talented 3-win teams who can take any opponent down if they bring their best stuff. That means that as the halfway point approaches, both conferences are still open races.

And those races got a lot more interesting after a fun Week 6. The power rankings look a lot different than they did before the weekend because of Week 6's results, too.

So, click the link above or below to see who's moving up and who's sliding back. Or, in the case of the Browns, who's sliding but staying in the same spot simply because they can't be dropped any further.


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Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-49ers game

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Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-49ers game

Did you guys know C.J. Beathard is related to former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard?

Of course you do, because that storyline, as well as others like the Vernon Davis fumble(?) and Pierre Garçon penalty have been talked about plenty following the Redskins' 26-24 W over the 49ers on Sunday.

But there are other angles that have been under analyzed from the Week 6 matchup. So as fun as it is to celebrate Chris Thompson's brilliance, put that on hold for a minute and think about these five discussion points.

1) A big recovery by a big man 

One of the most underappreciated plays in football is a fumble recovery by an offensive player. Most of the time, players and fans are just mad that the offense fumbled and ignore the fact that the outcome could've been a whole lot worse.

Do you remember Trent Williams falling on a Chris Thompson fumble early on the Redskins' first drive? Maybe some of you do, but plenty of others probably don't. But because Williams was aware and smothered the ball before a Niner defender could, the Redskins were able to continue their possession and eventually finish it with a touchdown.


2) Kirk's questionable decision

Kirk Cousins provided what proved to be the game's deciding points with his fourth quarter read option touchdown. But it was an earlier run that could've been much more important, and not for the right reason.

On Washington's previous possession — which concluded with a 21-yard field goal — Cousins scrambled for an 18-yard gain, but instead of sliding at the end, he decided to take on San Fran safety Jimmie Ward. The two collided and thumped each other pretty hard, and while the QB may have earned some respect, he also said postgame that Williams immediately reminded him that he should've slid instead.

Was it entertaining to watch a signal caller try and run over a safety? Sure. But was it smart? Not at all. The Packers saw their star quarterback come out on the wrong end of a punishing hit Sunday, and the Redskins just as easily could be feeling their pain.

3) Samaje's second effort

Samaje Perine has a long way to go before he becomes the player many hoped he'd be when the Redskins snagged him in April's draft. But it was him traveling a short distance in the fourth quarter against the 49ers that was a crucial yet overlooked play.

Six snaps before Cousins' rushing TD, the rookie barely converted on a third-and-2 by pushing the pile and refusing to be brought down short of the sticks. Again, his first year as a pro hasn't been excellent, but that was one he deserves credit for.

4) A way too powerful punt

The Redskins' execution after recovering that late onsides kick wasn't just bad on offense. Tress Way's touchback was unsightly, too.

Even after Washington took a delay of game penatly to give their punter more room, Way booted his kick well into the end zone instead of forcing the Niners' returner to fair catch or giving his gunners a chance to down it. Next time, Way needs to use a little less club and force the opposing offense to start farther back than their own 20.


5) Dunbar delivers

Perhaps because of all the injuries in the secondary, as well as an abundance of other things to chat about, a really strong performance from Quinton Dunbar isn't getting the necessary recognition. 

The visitors threw at Josh Norman's replacement often — 14 instances, to be specific — but he more than held his own, ending the contest as PFF's highest-graded 'Skin. Jay Gruden said earlier in the week Dunbar thinks he can cover "anybody, anywhere, anytime," and for the most part on Sunday, No. 47 did just that.