NFC East: Reed Doughty

Resetting the roster: safety

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
Taking a look at the Redskins' safety position a week into free agency. Safety was said to be a primary target; it has not developed that way, however.

On the roster: Brandon Meriweather, Jose Gumbs, Trent Robinson, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.

Added in free agency: None.

[+] EnlargeRyan Clark
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesVeteran Ryan Clark could be a short-term solution for the Redskins at safety.
In talks with: Ryan Clark. He visited last week and remains a possibility. He's also drawn interest from Baltimore and the New York Jets. There is no rush on his end to get a contract done so he's content to wait and see if the right offer materializes. Clark would be a short-term solution, but he could help develop some of the young players and be a respected voice in the meeting room.

Left in free agency: The Redskins haven't lost any safeties in free agency.

Still unsigned: Reed Doughty. The Redskins backup strong safety, who is always pressed into a starting role, might return. But there's definite division over whether or not that should be the case. The real problem has never been Doughty, but the organization's inability to find a full-time starter ahead of him.

Still on the market: Thomas DeCoud, Chris Clemons, Mike Adams. Really, the list is not long and not impressive. Atlanta cut DeCoud after a poor season; he's best suited most likely near the line of scrimmage. With Meriweather back that's not necessarily what the Redskins need. Clemons has not drawn a lot of interest on the market. The Dolphins opted for Louis Delmas, who barely practiced last season. Adams wasn't anything special for the Broncos, but can play in the box, too. They signed T.J. Ward, but he's more of a strong safety whereas Adams is a free safety. The Redskins clearly did not view the other safeties as better than Meriweather. But they failed in their quest to land Mike Mitchell, who ended up with Pittsburgh. I don't know how close the money was, but it's clear they're not as aggressive as they once were and, as one agent said, general manager Bruce Allen likes to "slow play" this process.

What it means thus far: It's not that the Redskins didn't view safety as a problem, but perhaps not to the extent that others did. By that, I mean almost everyone else. It's also true you can't solve every issue in one offseason. But they signed Meriweather to a one-year deal and it's hard to imagine Clark getting anything other than a one- or two-year deal. So that means Washington will be back in this spot relatively soon. However, it also gives them another year to see if one of the young players can develop -- or to draft someone in the second or third round and groom him for 2015. Perhaps one from among the group of four young safeties can develop in another year or so. Thomas must overcome a tricky Lisfranc injury; not impossible, but tough and it's not as if he was on the cusp of starting before getting hurt. In talking to several who scouted Rambo at Georgia, the problems he showed last year were the same he showed in college that caused NFL teams pause. Not a good sign. I can't imagine, though, that something else won't be done at this position.

Top free-agent roundup: NFC East

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
Here are the top 15 free agents, followed by their rankings, entering Tuesday's signing period as compiled by NFC East reporters Dan Graziano, Todd Archer, Phil Sheridan and John Keim. There are some strong options at the top, but there is not a lot of depth in the NFC East when it comes to free agency. And if Dallas' DeMarcus Ware gets released, he vaults to a top spot on this list. As always, ESPN's free-agent tracker will keep you updated during this period.

1. LB Brian Orakpo, 8.5: The Redskins used the franchise tag on him, so barring a surprise, he’ll be back. It’s a controversial move among fans, but the Redskins need his pass rush and promise to unleash him more often. His career best for a single season is 11 sacks.

2. DT Linval Joseph, 8: A very big, strong and young (25) interior run-stuffer who has also shown the ability to create pressure from the interior, Joseph could be available because of the Giants’ depth at defensive tackle and their many needs.

3. DT Jason Hatcher, 8: He is coming off an 11-sack season, but he turns 32 in July and Dallas doesn’t have much cap space.

4. LB Jon Beason, 7: The Giants are working hard to sign him before free agency opens, as his leadership and high-energy play at middle linebacker helped transform their defense during the 2013 season.

5. WR Hakeem Nicks, 7: This grade is based on talent and past accomplishments, and a feeling that he was being overly careful in 2013 in order to hit free agency healthy. Lacks his early career speed, but knows how to play the position as well as anyone.

6. WR Jason Avant, 7: For a team in need of a third-down possession guy, the sure-handed Avant will be a great value.

7. P Donnie Jones, 7: The Eagles are expected to re-sign Jones, who was an underrated contributor to their NFC East title team.

8. DE Anthony Spencer, 6: He is coming back from microfracture surgery, so the cost won’t be high.

9. LB Perry Riley, 6: The Redskins need to re-sign him because they already have a hole at inside linebacker after London Fletcher retired. But they won’t break the bank for Riley, who needs to improve in coverage.

10. DE Justin Tuck, 6: Coming off an 11-sack season that came out of nowhere after two down years, Tuck turns 31 later this month but is a locker-room leader and a 4-3 defensive end who can set the edge against the run.

11. QB Michael Vick, 6: With Nick Foles' ascension, Vick is looking for a chance to start elsewhere.

12. RB Andre Brown, 5: He played very well in his first few games back off a broken leg, but faded down the stretch and fumbled too much in the final few games. He is likely not a guy who can be relied on as a starter, but potentially a valuable piece.

13. TE Brandon Myers, 5: A huge disappointment in New York after catching 79 passes as a Raider in 2012, Myers also contributed little as a blocker. The Giants are likely to let him go. He could fit better with a different system.

14. CB Terrell Thomas, 5: He played all 16 games after missing the previous two seasons because of ACL tears in the same knee. Thomas believes he can hold up as a starter off a real offseason, and would like to cash in.

15. S Danny McCray, 5: He is a core special teamer only, so the Cowboys could find value here.

Free-agency primer: Redskins

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: LB Brian Orakpo (franchise), LB Perry Riley, WR Josh Morgan, WR Santana Moss, S Brandon Meriweather, S Reed Doughty, LB Rob Jackson

Where they stand: The Redskins have about $30 million of cap space available, even with the franchise tender to Orakpo, so they will be able to upgrade defensively for the first time in a couple years. The problem is, Washington has so many holes to fill defensively. The Redskins need two starting safeties and must replace retired inside linebacker London Fletcher. If Riley leaves -- they would like him back, but they are not yet close to a deal -- then it creates another spot. They could use more help along the defensive line. Offensively, their holes are fewer, but they need another receiver -- or two -- and an interior lineman. Moss and Doughty -- as a backup -- could return at small deals; it’s tough to see Morgan coming back. He just wasn't productive enough. Meriweather wants to return, but the Redskins need an upgrade over his 2013 performance.

What to expect: A much more eventful period than last year, when the Redskins could only re-sign their own players and added no one of significance in free agency thanks to the second year of their $36-million cap penalty. But the question is, Can Washington pursue someone such as safety Jairus Byrd while having so many other needs? It will be difficult, but he would solidify the deep middle. They like safety Mike Mitchell as well. Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph is another possibility. Brandon Spikes, a liability in coverage, or Daryl Smith would fill a hole at inside linebacker. What the Redskins should not do is try and fill every need with a free agent and use up all their cap space. With several prominent players up for new deals in the next couple years, they need to also have an eye on the future.

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
In Part 2 of the Redskins mailbag, the topics include free agency, how many Bengals might follow Jay Gruden to Washington, Jim Haslett's return and more.

Redskins UFAs face possible Fed Ex finale

December, 19, 2013
We know Sunday will be London Fletcher’s last home game. The Washington Redskins have 15 other players who could be appearing in their last home game as well because of their pending free agency. If there’s a new coach, there could be a mass exodus. But for now I’ll stick with the pending unrestricted free agents currently on the active roster.

[+] EnlargeBrian Orakpo
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsBrian Orakpo will be the most expensive player to re-sign of the Redskins' soon-to-be unrestricted free agents.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo: He views himself as an elite linebacker, which means he’ll want to get paid like one. Last year’s top free agent at outside linebacker was Paul Kruger, who received $8.2 million per year with $20 million guaranteed and signing bonuses totaling $12.85 million. Orakpo is better. Whether or not you think he’s elite, in a passing league it’s tough to let good pass-rushers walk, especially if you plan to stick with a 3-4.

Tight end Fred Davis: Hard to see why he’d want to return, especially if the head coach remains. Yes, he’d be good insurance given questions about Jordan Reed’s durability but that’s not what Davis wants. He wants to start. I can't imagine him getting a big deal after the past couple of years of suspension, injuries and now questions about his work ethic.

Linebacker Perry Riley: If you’re staying in a 3-4, you keep him around. You’re already going to have a transition at the other spot; it’s good to have someone who knows the defense. He’s flawed, but steady and won’t cost too much.

Defensive lineman Chris Baker: He’s talented, but inconsistent. He makes plays because of his penetration, but sometimes misses plays because he’s so intent on getting upfield. A nice backup.

Linebacker Darryl Tapp: Looked good this summer, but hasn’t played a whole lot this season. Not a great pass-rusher from this spot, but strong. Not an all-around linebacker. A good backup, but the Redskins would do well to find younger backup linebackers who can excel on special teams.

Linebacker Rob Jackson: If they lose Orakpo, could Jackson be a good alternative? He certainly won’t cost as much, but he’s also not as good. He’s worth keeping as a primary backup, but Jackson should first look for a starting job elsewhere based on his 2012 film.

Quarterback Rex Grossman: All depends on the coaching staff and what happens with Kirk Cousins. If Grossman is your third quarterback, you’re in good shape. But it wouldn’t stun me if the Redskins start looking for another No. 3, perhaps a younger player they can groom into a solid No. 2 for 2015 when it’s hard to imagine both Cousins and Robert Griffin III still being on the roster.

Corner E.J. Biggers: Offers versatility and would be cheap. Just a backup.

Receiver Santana Moss: He’s been an excellent Redskin and a personal favorite because he’s always available after games and during the week, win or lose, since joining the team in 2005. But his productivity has waned; at 35 (in June) that will continue. Tough to see him returning. If this staff stays in place, next year’s slot could be Leonard Hankerson, but because of his injury they’ll need some insurance in case he’s not ready. Perhaps that’s how Moss returns, but with a new staff? Don’t see it. He deserves kudos from the crowd Sunday for a career well done in Washington.

Receiver Josh Morgan: There’s little reason to bring him back; he hasn’t been productive and his blocking has been inconsistent.

Safety Reed Doughty: If there’s a new staff, sometimes guys like Doughty -- valuable special-teamers and role players -- get lost in the shuffle. But he’s worth keeping around because of what he does.

Corner Josh Wilson: He’s been fine in the slot, doing a nice job against the run from this position. That’s important. But he’s 28 and descending. Not everyone likes small corners, so a new staff could go in a different direction. I have a tough time seeing him return, especially as a starter.

Corner DeAngelo Hall: He made big plays in the first half of the season, though he’s been quiet lately. When playing off man or zone he’s not as effective. He’s also 30. If the Redskins keep only one of Hall or Wilson, then the former is more productive. They have so many areas to address that they might not be able to find all the answers in free agency or the draft. I don’t know if David Amerson will be a quality starter, but a second-round pick in Year 2 should be one of your top two. I’d pair him with a younger veteran via free agency who is still ascending and can be the lead guy.

Linebacker Nick Barnett: Not a good alternative to Fletcher because of his coverage skills. A good guy in the locker room and a pro, but he turns 33 in May. And if you’re not going to start, you’d better do well on special teams. Not his strength.

Center J.D. Walton: They just claimed him off waivers. He’s a former starter worth checking out; the Redskins need stronger center play.
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was a full participant in practice, clearly a sign that his consecutive games streak is not in much jeopardy.

Fletcher has played in 252 consecutive games, but sprained his left ankle near the end of Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants. Fletcher didn’t want to discuss his injury, but the fact that he was full-go says plenty.

Also, tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), safety Reed Doughty (concussion), safety Brandon Meriweather (chest), fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) were limited. Doughty had been cleared to practice Wednesday while Reed was able to return because he passed his tests Thursday.

Meanwhile, for Kansas City tackle Branden Albert (knee), tight end Anthony Fasano (concussion/knee) and linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) did not practice. Everyone else was full-go.

Four Redskins sit out practice

December, 4, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- Four Washington Redskins did not practice Wednesday and two others were limited, a tough way to begin a week in which they’re trying to snap a four-game losing streak.

Tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), safety Brandon Meriweather (sternum contusion), safety Reed Doughty (concussion) and left tackle Trent Williams (foot contusion) did not practice. Doughty, however, was cleared to practice but the coaches kept him out.

Fullback Darrel Young (hamstring), linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) and corner DeAngelo Hall (hip and back) were limited. Tight end Niles Paul, who missed last week with an illness, was a full participant in practice.

Williams was walking in a protective boot Monday, but said, “I feel fine. Got a bone bruise. It’s fine, though.”

Reed missed Sunday's game with a concussion suffered against Philadelphia and missed the past two games. He said he was going to play Sunday even though he felt more symptoms.

"I wasn't going to say nothing, but they noticed it in me and got it out of me," Reed said.

He had two concussions at Florida.

"It's worse now," Reed said. "In college I didn't miss games."

For Kansas City, tackle Branden Albert (knee), tight end Anthony Fasano (concussion/knee), linebacker Justin Houston (elbow), receiver Dexter McCluster (not injury related) did not practice. Defensive end Mike DeVito (knee) and safety Kendrick Lewis (knee) were limited.

Three more Redskins banged up

December, 2, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins felt the impact of not having fullback Darrel Young or tight end Jordan Reed active for Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New York Giants. Here's an update on them in addition to three other players who suffered injuries Sunday:

Tight end Jordan Reed: He was going to play Sunday until his head started bothering him during pregame warm-ups. Therefore, he’ll once again go through the concussion protocol.

Linebacker London Fletcher: He suffered a sprained left ankle late in the fourth quarter after safety Bacarri Rambo rolled up on him after a tackle. Coach Mike Shanahan said he’ll have a better idea of how bad Fletcher’s ankle is on Wednesday. “I’ll probably be pretty sore, but I should be OK,” Fletcher said after the game. There's no reason to believe yet that his consecutive games streak of 252 is in jeopardy.

Fullback Darrel Young: There’s no real update on Young, who missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury. The Redskins are being cautious with him because of his history of such injuries. Young had expressed confidence each of the past two weeks that he would play.

Safety Reed Doughty: He suffered another concussion, but coach Mike Shanahan said they won’t treat it any differently because it’s his second one of the season.

Corner DeAngelo Hall: Shanahan said his hip was sore, but he'll have a better update on Wednesday.

Tight end Niles Paul: Shanahan said he worked out at Redskins Park Monday morning after missing the game, and all practices last week, because of an illness.

Doughty accepts blame; sees improvement

November, 11, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- They wanted to surprise Minnesota. Instead, it surprised the Washington Redskins. And Reed Doughty blamed himself for the confusion.

In the third quarter of Washington’s 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Doughty, the up-back in punt formation, signaled for a fake punt. But Niles Paul, split to the right and uncovered did not see the call. That led to an errant pass by punter Sav Rocca. The only positive for Washington is that a false start negated the play.

“Miscommunication, I’ll leave it at that,” Doughty said. “I didn’t get that call the way I wanted to to everybody, and I thought we had that [play] available. I shouldn’t have called that. It’s my responsibility and I take ownership of that.”

Doughty did say he thought the special teams had improved since the beginning of the season.

“I feel like we’re playing faster, feel like more guys are making plays,” Doughty said, “and I feel more guys are getting off blocks and guys are making good plays. We made strides in the return game last week. But when you have a miscue every game, it doesn’t shed good light on us as special teams players.”

But Doughty said the mistakes each game aren’t making him pull is hair out.

“Not everything is going to go your way, but as long as you’re focusing on details and paying attention to everything you can do, hopefully those results will come,” he said. “They just haven’t went our way.”

Redskins Notes

November, 1, 2013
1. When a team that had high expectations stumbles to a 2-5 start, you'd think that injuries would have played a big factor. They haven't. And that's one of the odd things about this start. Aside from safety the Redskins have been a healthy team and this week's injury report reflects that as only safety Jose Gumbs is listed as questionable. Everyone else is probable.

2. Safety Reed Doughty had a good week of work coming off his concussion and receiver Pierre Garcon was full speed in practice after hurting his calf against the Broncos. Tight end Logan Paulsen tweaked his left knee against Denver, but like those two is probable for Sunday.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Meriweather
Ricky Carioti/Getty ImagesMike Shanahan isn't worried that Brandon Meriweather will be hesitant after the safety served a one-game suspension for illegal hits.
3. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he's not concerned that safety Brandon Meriweather will somehow be hesitant on the field coming off his one-game suspension for illegal hits. "Not really," Shanahan said. "I think sometimes people get a little carried away with that. We understand what the rules are and he's been penalized for it. We've been penalized as a team as well. So he knows where the emphasis is and he wants to play football for a long time. When he does get that hit, he's going to try to hit in the right area. Hopefully he does."

4. For San Diego, receiver Eddie Royal did not practice for a third consecutive day and is questionable for Sunday because of a toe injury. Linebacker Donald Butler (groin) is doubtful and guard Chad Rinehart (toe), the ex-Redskin, is questionable. Rinehart was limited in practice.

5. It would be a big disappointment for Royal if he can't play Sunday. He grew up in Northern Virginia and graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly. (Note: He and Redskins running back Evan Royster played together on a state championship team, one that beat Percy Harvin's team to win a title.) Royal was this close to signing with Washington in the 2012 offseason; had he done so, then veteran Santana Moss likely would have been gone as both are slot receivers.

"I was real close," Royal said. "It would've been a good deal just being able to play at home and play for Coach [Mike] Shanahan. It was an opportunity for me to make all that happen, but San Diego was a better fit for me and I'm happy with my decision. I've got a lot of respect for the Redskins and that was my favorite team growing up, so it's hard to say no to those guys."

Shanahan drafted Royal in 2008 with Denver.

"He's a class individual," Shanahan said of Royal. "He's an excellent slot guy, punt returner, kickoff returner. He can get open, does a lot of the things that Moss has done for us the last few years -- quality guy."

6. Shanahan said the coaches will start preparing for Thursday's game at Minnesota at some point this weekend. He said it's easier as a head coach to start getting ahead than it is for a coordinator because he doesn't have to prepare a game plan. "As a coordinator I couldn't do it in my early years," Shanahan said. "As a head coach, you do have some time where you look a little bit. It's a little different and it does take some getting used to. Some people can't do it."

Friday, for example, the offensive staff is focused on putting together their first 20 plays for Sunday and they also must put together a film for Saturday's meeting.

"So you don't have a lot of time before the game," Shanahan said. "You may wake up early Sunday if it's an early game and study a couple hours -- two or three hours -- just to get a little jump on things because you already got your game plan together, same thing on defense. So it's a little bit tougher. Sometimes they'll do it here in the morning or do it a little bit later on a Friday night. A lot of different ways people do it."

Lessons Learned: Bacarri Rambo

October, 31, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- When Green Bay's James Starks broke up the middle in Week 2, Bacarri Rambo knew what he was supposed to do. But he knew a receiver was coming to crack block him. So Rambo tried to take out the receiver before making the play; he took his eyes off the running back. And Starks broke free through the left side for a 32-yard touchdown run.

It’s a play Rambo said taught him a lesson, one that he applied Sunday at Denver. Rambo recorded 12 tackles and, just as important, only missed one. A big reason for Rambo’s improved play was a simple lesson: read your keys and get to your gap. If the receiver comes to block him from the side, just take him on as you maintain your gap. And if the receiver cracks him, then it’s up to the corner to make the play.

[+] EnlargeBacarri Rambo
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsRookie safety Bacarri Rambo showed improved tackling in his return to the field against Denver.
"Most of my tackles came on taking the crack," Rambo said, "then just allowing taking on the crack and keep fighting to make the tackle … Just reading my keys, man. That’s what it came down to. Don’t run to the crack [blocker]. It’s small, but small things matter, too. I just had to correct those small things."

By doing so, Rambo played more decisive than at any point this season, including the preseason. Had he played this way in the first two games, he likely would not have lost his starting job. Instead, he spent three games inactive until Reed Doughty's injury and Brandon Meriweather's suspension created an opening.

Rambo did not start, but entered when Jose Gumbs hurt his ankle.

"You can see he got his confidence back," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said of Rambo.

During his benching, Rambo said he didn’t watch more film. But he studied it better. He also paid more attention to tip sheets provided to him by secondary coach Raheem Morris, a basic scouting report.

The result: Rambo played with more urgency.

"I felt more prepared," he said. "I felt my keys led me to the ball. If I have a tight end, I watch the tight end. He blocks, and I come down and try to help in run support."

What this means for him going forward remains uncertain. But Rambo at least showed Sunday that he could help. It’s a start.

"It made me look at myself a lot different," Rambo said. "I hit adversity and I had to work my way back on the field and show the coaches I can be that guy ... I was ready. I believed in myself, I felt prepared and I went out there and tried to do the best I could do."

Redskins injury report

October, 30, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Jose Gumbs, who started Sunday's game at the Denver Broncos, did not practice Wednesday because he's still nursing a sprained ankle from that game. With Reed Doughty and Brandon Meriweather back this week, Gumbs would likely not have a role from scrimmage. But they like his special teams play so if he can't play it would hurt them in that area.

Receiver Pierre Garcon (calf) was limited, but everyone else participated fully -- including Doughty, who missed Sunday's loss because of a concussion.

Meanwhile for the San Diego Chargers, corner Donald Butler (groin), tackle Mike Remmers (ankle) and receiver Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice. Guard Chad Rinehart (toe) was limited. Rinehart was a third-round pick by Washington in 2008. He lasted two seasons, starting only four games.

Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs to start

October, 27, 2013
DENVER -- The Washington Redskins opted for inexperience at safety -- not that they had much of a choice.

Jose Gumbs will start at strong safety and Bacarri Rambo will start at free safety, a youthful and inexperienced combination against one of the NFL's all-time best quarterbacks in Peyton Manning. Reed Doughty (concussion) and Brandon Meriweather (suspension) are out.

The Redskins could have opted for E.J. Biggers to start at free safety, in essence giving the Redskins four cornerbacks on the field. But that's not the best alternative either, though in passing situations his speed would help.

Rambo, a rookie sixth-round pick, started the first two games of the season, but was benched in part because of his tackling, then was inactive the past three games because of his inability to stand out on special teams. One thing he did well during training camp and when he started is not get beat deep. That will be an important factor Sunday.

Gumbs, a first-year player, has played nine career snaps, but has shown the ability to hit. However, this game will also be as much about discipline and making sure to play the right coverages.

The Redskins will start Jarvis Jenkins at left end, moving Kedric Golston into a reserve role. Jenkins played the past two weeks as a backup following his four-game drug suspension. His ability to collapse the pocket will be pivotal.

Meanwhile, tight end Fred Davis is a healthy inactive for a second consecutive game. The Redskins keep Niles Paul active for his special teams play. Their other inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Josh LeRibeus, running back Chris Thompson, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and nose tackle Chris Neild.

Reed Doughty won't play Sunday

October, 26, 2013
DENVER -- The Washington Redskins, already thin in the secondary, got a little bit thinner.

Starting strong safety Reed Doughty will miss Sunday's game after suffering a concussion against the Chicago Bears last week while trying to recover an onside kick. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan called the hit on Doughty one of the "most vicious" he'd ever seen. After seeing Doughty this week, it's not a surprise that he won't play. On Wednesday, though he talked to the media, he was not quite himself and could not say that the symptoms had disappeared.

But he was limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, however, he did not practice and Saturday he did not accompany the team to Colorado, spoiling a homecoming game for the former Northern Colorado standout.

The question now becomes: What will the Redskins do at safety? The Broncos force teams into a lot of nickel coverages and the Redskins have gone a number of times with three corners and a safety. They could still do that, though the safety would be converted corner E.J. Biggers. If they need a fifth defensive back the Redskins could opt for rookie Bacarri Rambo, who was benched after two starts, or Jose Gumbs, who has played nine career snaps.

The problem is, Washington needs a strong showing in coverage -- and a disciplined one at that -- against Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. The key to the game will be pressure, regardless of who's in the secondary. But the Redskins will try to disguise coverages, which will be harder to do given the inexperience they'll now have. The corners also have to be able to trust the safeties when trying to play certain coverages. That could be another issue.

Brian Orakpo fined for hit

October, 25, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo was fined $15,750 for a personal foul against Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown in Sunday's victory. Orakpo said he will appeal the fine.

The league ruled that Orakpo drove McCown into the ground with excessive force, drawing a 15-yard penalty on a third-down incompletion. Orakpo had come free on a well-designed blitz that resulted in the hit.

Meanwhile, Chicago's Sherrick McManis was not fined for his hit on Redskins safety Reed Doughty during an onsides kick attempt in the second half. Doughty suffered a concussion on the play and is questionable for Sunday's game at Denver.

"I'm going to bring that up at the next meeting because that was one of the most vicious hits I’ve ever seen,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy get hit quite like that -- at that speed at 10 yards and Reed just being completely helpless. I think that will be changed for the safety of the players, but that hasn’t been brought up yet. We all want players’ safety first, but there’s a lot that goes into it as we just talked about.”