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Redskins forced to shuffle their secondary

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Redskins forced to shuffle their secondary

One game into the season, the Redskins have to deal with some shortages in the secondary, both long term and short term.

Duke Ihenacho, who won the starting strong safety job with a good performance in OTAs and training camp, is out for six to eight weeks with a wrist injury that will require surgery. According to Jay Gruden he could end up on either season-ending injured reserve or IR designated for return, which would cost him at least eight weeks on the sideline.

When Ihenacho went out in the second quarter on Sunday, Trenton Robinson played in his place. He had six tackles.

Robinson was a sixth-round draft pick of the 49ers and he is the favorite to get his second NFL start on Sunday when the Redskins play the Rams.

But he is not the only possibility. Jeron Johnson was signed as a free agent this offseason with the idea that he would become the starter at strong safety. But Ihenacho beat him out and a hamstring in injury in training camp may have pushed him further down the depth chart. The fact that he did not play a single defensive snap with the starter out for over half of the game is telling. But he could get a chance to work his way back up in practice.

Gruden also mentioned that Kyshoen Jarrett would be in the mix, too. He played five defensive snaps against the Dolphins. But it is very unlikely that the rookie, a sixth-round draft pick this year, would get the starting nod, at least not immediately.

Dashon Goldson will start at free safety as he did last week.

The problems at cornerback are of a more temporary nature but perhaps more serious this week because Chris Culliver, perhaps the best player in the secondary, is not going to play on Sunday. He is suspended this week due to a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, a penalty stemming from a 2014 incident involving a hit and run.

The good news is that Bashaud Breeland, who started 15 games last year and showed some ability, is back from a one-game suspension of his own. He is raw and he missed most of training camp after suffering a sprained MCL early on. There will be a drop off in effectiveness with him in and Culliver out but the secondary should survive.

Justin Rogers played slot corner against the Dolphins and he could do that against St. Louis. But Gruden said that Rogers was suffering from plantar fasciitis and he is day to day. If he can’t go, Breeland likely would slide over to the slot in nickel situations and David Amerson would come in at Breeland’s corner spot.

Amerson had a tough go of it when he played eight snaps in place of DeAngelo Hall, who was dealing with a rib injury. Per Pro Football Focus he he was targeted six times, gave up 28 yards, two first downs and a TD.

If it looks like Rogers will be out the Redskins might sign another cornerback. According to reports veteran Will Blackmun is coming into town for a tryout.

However the Redskins staff their secondary they had better get it together in a hurry. Nick Foles of the Rams, next Sunday’s opponent, passed for 297 yards and posted a 115.8 passer rating against the Seahawks, who have a pretty good secondary even with Kam Chancellor still holding out.

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198