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Redskins place starting LG on season-ending IR

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Redskins place starting LG on season-ending IR

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao has been placed on season-ending injured reserve because of the ankle injury he suffered Sunday, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. 

The loss is a big one for a struggling Redskins’ offense (18.3 points per game) for a couple of reasons: Lauvao had been playing his best football since signing in Washington before last season and there’s not a whole lot of experience behind him. Candidates to replace Lauvao include Josh LeRibeus, who is battling a calf injury, the ever-versatile Tom Compton, seldom used second-year player Spencer Long and rookie Arie Kouandjio.

On Monday, Gruden indicated that Long and/or Kouandjio could get the first crack at the job. 

"Since training camp, we've felt good about our offensive line depth," Gruden said. "We have Spencer Long ready to play left guard. We have Arie Kouandjio ready to play left guard. So we have two viable candidates right there that have not dressed in a football game yet [this season] but are ready to go."

Lauvao is the latest in a long line of key Redskins to end up on IR in recent weeks, joining special teams captains Adam Hayward (knee) and Niles Paul (ankle), starting outside linebacker Junior Galette (Achilles’ tendon), starting safety Duke Ihenacho (wrist), tight end Logan Paulsen (toe), running back Silas Redd (knee) and rookie inside linebacker/special teamer Martrell Spaight (concussion).

And you can add backup cornerback Justin Rogers (plantar fasciitis) to that list, as well. He was also placed on season-ending IR on Tuesday.

In addition to moving Lauvao and Rogers to IR, the Redskins signed free agent middle linebacker Mason Foster, promoted wide receiver-turned-cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the practice squad to the 53 man roster and re-signed seventh round draft pick Austin Reiter, a center, to the 10-man practice squad.

Foster, 26, started 54 out of 57 games for the Buccaneers from 2011-14. Last week against the Giants, the Redskins had only three healthy inside linebackers (Keenan Robinson, Will Compton and rookie Terrance Plummer) because Perry Riley was sidelined with a calf injury. Riley’s status remains unclear.

Dunbar, meantime, could make his NFL debut against the Eagles on Sunday. Veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall is expected to be sidelined at least a few weeks (if not longer) with a sprained toe. If Dunbar plays, he'll join a corps of corners that features Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland and Will Blackmon, who was signed two weeks ago.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins seek to turn around turnover differential

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Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Many top draft choices chose to head to the NFL Draft, hear their name called and get the pomp and circumstance that comes with all that is the NFL Draft. 

The Washington Reskins' No. 13 pick Da'Ron Payne was not one of those prospects. 

Instead, Payne watched the draft surronded by close friends and family.

The reaction was memorable: 

Some draft picks choose not to come for fear of slidding down draft boards, or worse: not being picked in the first round at all. 

So he doesn't get to meet Roger Goodell. He doesn't get a Redskins' jersey on draft night.

But this video wouldn't exist if the defensive tackle from Alabama chose to go to Dallas, Texas on draft night. 

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Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Doug Williams said that the Redskins would draft the best available player when they were on the clock. 

“It’s always going to be the best player available,” said the team’s senior vice president of player personnel during the team’s pre-draft press conference earlier this week

After their selection, it appears that they took a pick that was more for need. They picked defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne with safety Derwin James and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds still on the board, Jay Gruden said that there was some discussion. 

“There were quite a few guys were worthy of that pick, quite frankly,” said Gruden. “But for what we were looking for, with the fit, I think Da’Ron was perfect for us.”

The words “for what we were looking for” seem to indicate that they took Payne because they thought they needed someone at that position. 

While Payne is unlikely to be a pick that the Redskins will regret, they may look at what James and Edmunds, both players that most analysts had ranked considerably higher than Payne, accomplish during their careers and wonder what could have been. 

Then again, Payne is a pick that is about eight years overdue. The Redskins have been running the 3-4 defense since 2010 and they have never drafted a good nose tackle. Others they have tried, like Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton, have been short-term solutions. For the past two years, the position has been manned by veteran Ziggy Hood, who is more suited to playing the end position. 

The result of the nose tackle situation in particular and neglect of the defensive line in general has been a rushing defense that has consistently in the lower half of the league, bottoming out at No. 32 in rushing yards allowed in 2017. The need to stop the run took a step up in importance earlier in the draft when the Giants selected running back Saquan Barkley with the second pick in the draft, a factor that Gruden cited when talking to the media after the pick. They already had twice-yearly dates with the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott at running back and the Eagles, who have a stable of effective running backs. 

Although at 311 pounds Payne may be considered a bit on the light side for a traditional nose tackle, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said in the past that a lighter player can be effective in that role in the team’s defense. 

The main concern about Payne is if he can rush the passer. In his three seasons at Alabama, he compiled just three sacks. Gruden said that that number doesn’t tell the whole story. 

“He can, he can get back there,” said Gruden. “A lot of times, the sacks that don’t show up on the stat board, he enabled other guys to get them, because push from the pocket forces the quarterback outside. I think that [Redskins edge rushers] Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson will be very happy to have Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne in the middle pushing that pocket.”

Gruden also expressed confidence Tomsula will be able to coach Payne into being an effective NFL pass rusher. 

We will see what Tomsula and the rest of the coaches can do with Payne. If they can get some pressures and sacks out of him and the ability to stop the run translates to the NFL, the Redskins will have received good value for the 13thpick, even if James and Edmonds go on to be stars. 

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