Redskins

Quick Links

More talk emerges of Su'a Cravens changing from linebacker to safety

More talk emerges of Su'a Cravens changing from linebacker to safety

Su'a Cravens has emerged as a playmaker for the Redskins defense, but he's also dealing with the second injury of his rookie season. He missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion, and has been ruled out for Monday night's game as he works back from an elbow injury sustained in last week's win over Philadelphia.

When the Redskins drafted Cravens, the only question about the 6-foot-1, 226 lbs. USC star was what position would he play. In college, Cravens played a hybrid role, lining up at linebacker and safety and working all over the field. Thus far in the NFL, the rookie has worked exclusively as an inside linebacker.

Still working all over the field, serving as a spy on quarterbacks and running backs, there is still some question if Cravens would not be better suited for the strong safety position. Washington coach Jay Gruden has been asked about a position change for Cravens a few times this season, and was asked again after the linebacker was ruled out for the Panthers game. 

CHECK OUT THE FULL INJURY REPORT

"That’s a good question. I think if we were to make a position switch, it would be because we think he would be better at that position, not be because of the injuries," Gruden said. "I think there’s fluky-type things."

For the year, Cravens has 23 tackles to go with one sack, five passes defensed and an interception. His Week 3 pick of Eli Manning may prove to be the most important play the Redskins defense has made this season, as the rookie sealed Washington's first win of the year in New York. That victory launched the team on a four-game win streak that got them back in the playoff picture. 

It's his ability in the passing game that could make a position change inevitable, especially as the Redskins don't have a long-term answer at strong safety. 

Since signing with Washington in early October, Donte Whitner has dominated snaps at strong safety. His play has been spotty, but the coaching staff has confidence in his situational knowledge as a long-time NFL vet. If the staff was to make a change for 2017, giving Cravens a full offseason to learn the strong safety position would make sense.

"We’re not concerned about his longevity whatsoever, but if we did make that switch, it would be because we think he would be really good at the other position," Gruden said.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Ex-Panthers tight end Greg Olsen signing with Seahawks over Redskins, Bills

Ex-Panthers tight end Greg Olsen signing with Seahawks over Redskins, Bills

When tight end Greg Olsen was released from the Carolina Panthers last month, many pegged the Redskins as a possible destination due to his connection with new head coach Ron Rivera and the team's need at the position.

But the 34-year-old will not be reuniting with his old head coach. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Olsen has agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, including $5.5 million guaranteed.

After parting ways with the Panthers, Olsen took visits with the Redskins and Buffalo Bills in addition to the Seahawks.

According to Schefter, Olsen strongly considered signing with both Washington and Buffalo, but the lure of playing with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was the major difference-maker.

By missing out on Olsen, the Redskins have plenty of decisions still to make at tight end. Jordan Reed is still in the concussion protocol recovering from one he suffered last August and is not expected to be back with the organization. Vernon Davis retired earlier this month. 

With Jeremy Sprinkle currently the Redskins top tight end and Olsen now heading west, the team could show interest in tight ends Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron in free agency, among others.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Redskins Free Agent Targets: Darqueze Dennard

Redskins Free Agent Targets: Darqueze Dennard

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard
2014 first-round pick by Cincinnati
Unrestricted free agent
5-foot-11 | 200 lbs. | 28 years old

Cornerback is a significant need for the Washington Redskins and one they were likely expected to address in free agency. With the release of veteran Josh Norman last Friday, upgrading the position now becomes a necessity. 

One cornerback the Burgundy and Gold should target in free agency is a name many Redskins fans are not familiar with: Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

The 28-year-old was drafted in 2014 and has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the Bengals. During his time in Cinci, he played the majority of his snaps from the slot but proved he has the ability to play on the outside as well. The 5-foot-11 cornerback has a strong frame and is one of the best at his position defending the run. 

Injuries have hampered Dennard throughout his career, but he's been productive when on the field.

Last season, although he played in just nine games, Dennard posted the 15th best coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. The 28-year-old excelled in coverage downfield, allowing just four catches of 10 or more yards all season. In contrast, Redskins' cornerbacks posted the fourth-worst grade by PFF in such situations.

Dennard was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but never blossomed to the shutdown cornerback the Bengals hoped they drafted. Nonetheless, he's a very viable starter and one that could greatly benefit a Washington secondary that struggled mightily a season ago.

As it stands now, the Redskins starters at cornerback are Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau starting on the outside with Jimmy Moreland in the slot. 

Dunbar, who had a career-best season a year ago, was rumored to request a trade from the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. He later backtracked on his statement, saying the situation had been blown out of proportion.

Regardless, Dunbar enters his final season under contract with Washington and has zero guarantees remaining in his contract; there's no assurance he's back with Washington in 2021 and beyond. Moreau also enters the final season of his rookie year as well.

So, the Redskins likely need to sign at least one, if not two, cornerbacks in free agency. Dennard could be an ideal fit and a cheaper option than other cornerbacks on the market.

Head coach Ron Rivera said that part of the reason he released Norman was so the team could get younger at the position, and at 28, Dennard still has plenty of football ahead of him.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS