Reeling Redskins shuffle linebackers

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
4:21
PM ET
So much focus lately has been on the Washington Redskins' struggling offense, it would be easy to overlook a move on the defensive side of the ball. But the rebuilding process in Washington involves all positions, and a move has been made to get younger in the linebacking corps. For the second week in a row, 23-year-old Perry Riley will start at inside linebacker next to London Fletcher. Riley is taking the place of Rocky McIntosh, who was not performing the way the team expected him to, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett thinks Riley injects some energy into the proceedings. Per Mike Jones of the Washington Post:
"I think Rocky, his first four games, played really well and his last couple, he didn't," Haslett said. "Rocky's a good football player, we just think Perry's really active, he's fast and can run. It was a good opportunity to give him a chance."

Perry was the Redskins' fourth-round draft pick in 2010, and the move is likely about more than just getting better for this week's game against the Cowboys. On offense, where rookies such as Roy Helu and Leonard Hankerson (before his season-ending injury) have been worked into the mix the past few weeks, the Redskins are trying to get a look at what they have for next year and beyond. They've liked Riley for a while now and are undoubtedly giving him the chance to be a starter in the hopes of finding out whether he can be one for a long time to come. It's a chance for Riley to audition, and to claim that spot next to Fletcher as his own for the foreseeable future. The Cowboys' oustanding rookie running back, DeMarco Murray, will be a tough early test Sunday afternoon.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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