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Will injuries force D-line changes?

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Will injuries force D-line changes?

This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook for the defensive line. Now, CSNWashington.com’s Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on the most pressing issue at the position entering the offseason: Is an upgrade at one or both end positions necessary?

El-Bashir: As we discussed earlier, it comes down to the health of Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker. If Bowen appears as though he’ll return to full strength from microfracture knee surgery and management is convinced Carriker can rebound and play at a high level after missing nearly two seasons due to a torn quadriceps tendon, an overhaul might not be needed. In 2011, Bowen and Carriker enjoyed career years. Bowen notched a career-best 41 combined tackles and six sacks, while Carriker recorded 34 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks. That wasn’t all that long ago. But there are also question marks behind them, as well. Jarvis Jenkins has shown flashes but struggled to establish himself last season following a four-game suspension to start the year. Chris Baker finished 2013 strong but started only three games at end and is scheduled to hit free agency. Kedric Golston, meantime, is a steady backup and should remain in that capacity. Again, depth isn’t the overriding concern. Finding two reliable, productive starters is. So if there are any worries about the health of Bowen and/or Carriker (and there probably will be), the Redskins must consider adding proven starter via free agency.

Tandler: Money matters when making decisions like this and it’s a big factor here because both Bowen and Carriker carry large salary cap numbers. Bowen’s is just over $7 million and Carriker’s stands at about $6.8 million. If they move on from Bowen they will save $1.98 million and releasing Carriker would add $3.17 million to their cap space. It would be very difficult to justify keeping Carriker at that cap number and with that much in potential cap savings. You have to appreciate his heart and desire to come back from that quad injury but at the same time you have a player who will be 30 in May and who will not have played in almost two full seasons. The best course here might be to release him and then, assuming he is healthy enough, sign him back to an incentivized deal that protects the team in the event of further injury complications. Bowen will be 30 next month but he had not missed a start in two and a half seasons prior to Week 11 last year. They could wait until closer to training camp and check on his condition then before possibly making him a post-June 1 release. 

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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.

MORE: WHERE JONATHAN ALLEN WILL BE MISSED MOST

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 25.

RELATED: WHY CAN'T THE REDSKINS HOLD ON TO LEADS?

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.

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The injury news for the Redskins wasn't all bad

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The injury news for the Redskins wasn't all bad

The Redskins got some bad news on the injury front on Monday. But there certainly was some good news.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland took what appeared to be a nasty hit to his left knee in the third quarter against the 49ers. He was down on the turf in pain for a couple of minutes before leaving the game. After the game, Jay Gruden said that the initial examination was that it was an MCL injury and that an MRI would be performed.

The MRI results are back and the injury is not as serious as it first appeared. Gruden said it was a sprain and that it was possible that he would be ready to play against the Eagles on Monday night thanks to his properties that resemble those of a certain animated character.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

“I think Breeland's always been a fast healer,” said Gruden. “He's like Gumby. He took a pretty big shot on that play and I thought he was going to be out for a little bit of time. He recovers quickly.”

However, not all of the non-Jonathan Allen news was good. Kicker Dustin Hopkins has a right hip rotator muscle sprain. Gruden said that he is “week-to-week.” Going by Gruden’s past use of that phrase Hopkins will miss at least one game. Gruden said that the team would bring in kickers to try out. One will have to be signed if Hopkins can’t play.

Other injury-related news and notes:

—Gruden said that RB Rob Kelley and S Deshazor Everett will resume practice this week. Both players missed the 49ers game. Kelley has been rehabbing an ankle injury and Everett had a hamstring strain.

—Backup S Stefan McClure has a hyperextended knee and is week-to-week. This makes Everett's return very important. 

RELATED: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REDSKINS' TOO-CLOSE WIN

—Veteran DB DeAngelo Hall is eligible to return to practice this week after spending the first six weeks on the season on the PUP list. Gruden said he might start practicing this week or next. “We want to make sure when he starts practice he's ready to start practice. We don't want to have him start out practice at 80 percent,” he said. “When he starts practice, we want him to be at 100 percent.”

—The door is not closed on CB Josh Norman being able to play on Monday night in Philadelphia. “I think there's a chance, but we'll see,” said Gruden. “That's up to the doctors and Josh and see how he's feeling. We don't want this thing to get reinjured obviously, but if he can go, I'm sure Josh will go.”

—Reserve OT Ty Nseke is still recovering from a core muscle injury and it seems unlikely that he will be able to suit up this week.

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.