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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Safeties

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Safeties

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Safety

On the roster: Su’a Cravens, D. J. Swearinger, Will Blackmon, DeAngelo Hall, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Josh Evans, Earl Wolff, Fish Smithson.

The numbers: Have nine, will keep five or six.

Last year they carried five safeties on the Week 1 roster. They may carry an extra this year and position Blackmon as a swing cornerback/safety.  

Locks: Cravens, Swearinger, Nicholson, Everett

Cravens moves from nickel linebacker to strong safety in a move that was decided late last year with a different defensive coordinator and secondary coach in charge. This move likely was planned from the moment he was drafted. He should be fine at his new position if he can make up for his pedestrian straight-line speed (4.69 in the 40) with athleticism and anticipation.

It’s not often that a 25-year-old player gets the “journeyman” label but it fits Swearinger as he joins his fourth different team for his fifth NFL season. His teammates have praised him as the intimidator they have lacked on the back end of the defense. He will have to move from being primarily a strong safety to playing primarily free and we will have to see how that transition goes.

Nicholson struggled at times at Michigan State, to the point where many analysts believed that he would go undrafted. On top of that, he missed the offseason program with a shoulder injury. Those normally don’t add up to a player being a roster lock but the Redskins like his athleticism and it’s hard to see them immediately moving on from a fourth-round pick. He may make the 53-man roster but end up inactive on most game days.

Perhaps Everett is not one of the four best safeties on the roster but his value on special teams makes him a must-keep player. He could get some more run at safety this year; he played well when given a chance late last year, making a key interception in the win over the Eagles.

On the bubble: Blackmon, Hall, Evans

This is the numbers game in action. If they keep five safeties it's likely that two of these three will be gone.

Blackmon has the advantage of being able to play either safety or any cornerback spot. They like Hall’s veteran presence but he has missed 31 games due to injuries in the last three years. Evans is the dark horse even though he is only 26 and he has 36 starts at safety, more at the position than any other player on the roster.

Long shots: Wolff, Smithson

Wolff started seven games for the Eagles after they drafted him in the fifth round in 2013 but he has hasn’t played a regular-season snap since 2014. Smithson is an intriguing undrafted rookie who may be a fan favorite in the preseason and end up on the practice squad.

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver | Interior O-line | Defensive line | Outside linebacker | Tight end  | Running back  | Inside linebacker  | Quarterback  | Cornerback

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

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Redskins won't see Antonio Brown in Week 5: Controversial star released by Patriots

Redskins won't see Antonio Brown in Week 5: Controversial star released by Patriots

The Antonio Brown Era in New England is over.

Brown, one of the most prolific wide receivers to ever play in the NFL, was released by the Patriots Friday afternoon, just 11 days after signing with the team.

Shortly after his release from the Raiders, which preceded his signing in New England, reports surfaced of sexual assault allegations being levied at Brown. The receiver was facing charges of rape from a former trainer, and it was initially unclear how much the Patriots knew about prior to his signing.

Brown did end up playing in Week 2, his first opportunity with the Patriots, in Miami. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing the ball once for a five-yard gain.

Late Thursday night, additional reports surfaced of intimidating texts sent by Brown to a woman involved in a separate assault case. Less than a day later, the receiver tweeted a farewell to his now former team.

Minutes later, the Patriots announced they had parted ways with Brown. 

The team released the following statement: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

The investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brown remains ongoing at this time.

The Redskins will host the Patriots in Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season.

MORE BROWN COVERAGE:

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Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen declared himself "100 percent" in for the Redskins Monday night game against the Bears. That's great news, except Allen might not have the final say in the matter.

The Redskins defensive captain and third-year defensive tackle sprained his knee Week 1 in Philadelphia and wanted to return in that game. He didn't, and subsequently, missed Week 2 against Dallas too. Washington head coach Jay Gruden explained that the team has to protect Allen, a fierce competitor, against himself. He doesn't want to miss any action, even if resting his injured knee might be the most prudent course. 

Asked what would happen if the medical staff tried to prevent him from playing in Monday's contest, Allen did not really respond but rather shake his head. 

Elsewhere on the team, there doesn't seem to be as much good news on the injury front.

The news on cornerback Quinton Dunbar doesn't seem encouraging.

"I don’t know about Dunbar. He was struggling a bit today," Gruden said after practice. The cornerback injured his knee against Philly and missed the Cowboys game. It would take some serious progress for Dunbar to play Monday night. 

The news seems even more concerning with tight end Jordan Reed. He hasn't played since sustaining a concussion in the third preseason game, and this week he practiced on Wednesday but didn't make it out on the field Thursday or Friday. At this point, the Redskins seem wise to move forward without Reed in the game plan as he works his way back from the concussion protocol. 

Further down the line, cornerback Fabian Moreau looks like he is tracking to return to the field against Chicago while questions keep popping up around safety Montae Nicholson. Gruden said Nicholson's absence was mainly for rest.