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The Injury Bug Bites

The Injury Bug Bites

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

It figures.

I spent a good chunk of two weeks up at Redskins Park, two weeks that were notable only for their lack of anything remotely resembling news. The biggest buzz in the media room was created by the signing of Ben Emanuel. The Gibbs pressers ran around five minutes rather than the usual ten to fifteen simply because there wasn’t much new to ask him about.

Then I take off for a few days to deliver my son and a minivan full of belongings to college and, boom, a veritable Sunday New York Times worth of news bursts on to the scene. Mostly, it was bad news. One definition of news is that it’s something that makes you say, “Holy crap” when you hear it. This was mostly stuff that made us say “Oh, crap” (or something stronger) when we heard it. Perhaps Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington would be a better place to be reporting on such events than Redskins Park would be.

We’ll start with the development that seems to be most likely to affect a regular-season game, Shawn Springs’ surgery. Springs went going to go to North Carolina after the game in Cincinnati to have some pain in his groin area that just would go away checked out. There was some concern that it was a sports hernia. As it turned out the problem was a minor tear in the muscle that attaches the abdomen to the pubic bone. That certainly sounds painful, and it was to Springs, but it’s better news than the hernia would have been.

The projection of him being out 3-6 weeks is a huge range given the timing of things. At three weeks he would have a full week of practice going into the regular season opener against the Vikings. At six weeks he has missed that game plus the ones in Dallas and Houston.

That leaves Kenny Wright, who had a night to forget against the Bengals, as they starter and Adebola Jimoh as the nickel back. You have to think that Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray can scheme their away around this situation for a week or two so as long as Springs’ rehab isn’t much longer than the long end of the estimates the Redskins should be able to survive.

In search of a backup, the Redskins were able to obtain cornerback Mike Rumph from the 49ers for a ham sandwich.

OK, it’s just plain wrong to refer to Taylor Jacobs as a deli item. He’s a class act and a hard worker and there isn’t a single person who has met him or played with him that won’t be wishing the absolute best for him. The Redskins have been wishing that he would perform for the past three years and he just hasn’t.

Now, to be sure, the Redskins may have gotten a turkey sandwich in return for Jacobs in the form of Rumph. He has to be considered a bigger bust than the player he was traded for. Like Jacobs, he has been ineffective or injured for virtually his entire career and Rumph was a first-round pick and Jacobs was a second rounder.

Rumph was joined on the Redskins roster by another ex-Niner. Linebacker Jeff Posey broke in with San Francisco in 1998 and was signed by Washington after stints with Jacksonville, Houston and, most recently, Buffalo. He’s a pass rush specialist who, at first glance, seems to be a good character guy who will fit right in to the Redskins’ locker room.

He takes the place of Chris Clemons, who in the past several months has sunk as though he had been pushed overboard with a Jersey barrier tied around his neck. After LaVar Arrington was released, Clemons was the early favorite to take his spot as the starting weak side linebacker. That was before the team brought back a trimmed-down Warrick Holdman and tabbed weak side backer Rocky McIntosh with their initial pick in the draft. Clemons was backing up Marcus Washington, who never comes out of the game, before spraining his knee and being waived-injured.

Also placed on that waived-inured list were running back Kerry Carter and safety Ben Emanuel. Carter was receiving an extended look when he cut and blew out two knee ligaments. Ben Emanuel, we hardly knew ye. After signing on Thursday of last week, he got beaten for a touchdown on Sunday, sustaining hamstring and ankle injuries later in the game, and he got the ax on Tuesday. Hope he kept his place in San Francisco and didn’t have his mail forwarded or anything.

To fill out the roster the team signed running back A. J. Harris and offensive lineman Spencer Folau. I can’t tell you much about either one of them, so here are their thumbnails from the Redskins press release:

Harris, 6-1, 230 lbs., appeared in 43 games during his career at Northern Illinois. During his college career, he rushed for 1,687 yards on 342 carries and 12 touchdowns. He also recorded 197 receiving yards on 31 catches. Harris was try-out for the Redskins during their 2006 rookie camp.

Folau, 6-5, 310 lbs., is an eight-year NFL veteran who spent time on the rosters of Baltimore, Miami and most recently, New Orleans. He has appeared in 91 career games with 43 starts.

Folau was waived by the Saints in August 2005 and was out of football for the season. He played college ball at Idaho.

While it’s doubtful that neither of them are more than camp fodder, any offensive lineman who has drawn a check for eight years as Folau has might be considered an upgrade over the current depth.

There was some more buzz created yesterday over Clinton Portis’ injury. Dan Patrick was reporting on his ESPN Radio show that the shoulder injury is more serious than the Redskins are letting on and that Portis is likely to miss the start of the regular season. This ran counter to an earlier report by John Clayton on that very same four-letter network which said that it was likely that Portis would face the Vikings on September 11.

The fact of the matter is that we don’t know yet. Here on WarpathInsiders.com, we used the headline “Gibbs ‘Hopes’ to Have Portis Back for Opener”. The Washington Post and ESPN headline writers said that Portis status was “uncertain.” They all say the same thing—we don’t know yet.

You can run MRI’s and other tests and all you have is an educated guess. This is the instant information age and we want to know right now. But a human body isn’t a machine and it will repair itself on its own schedule.

Besides, Portis shoulder is not going to be completely healed when he goes back on the field. It needs to be improved to the point where it is an acceptable risk to put him back on the field. Add that to the variability of how fast it may get to a point where it is an acceptable risk and you have too much going on to pinpoint just when he might be able to take the field.

Assuming that Ladell Betts himself can stay healthy enough to stay on the field he can do an acceptable job gaining some yardage in Portis’ absence. Where Portis will be missed is in areas like blitz pickups. Portis does the stonewall thing with onrushing defenders while Betts does the matador thing. Like with Springs, the Redskins can scheme around the absence in the short term.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume One: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.