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Monday, August 27, 2012
Redskins continue secondary overhaul

By Dan Graziano

A year ago, Kevin Barnes was the Redskins' nickel cornerback. Today, he is no longer a Redskin. As part of their effort to reduce their roster to 75 players by Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, the Redskins have apparently traded Barnes to the Lions. (For what, we don't know. Can't possibly be much. Late-round pick is best guess.)

The Redskins didn't like the way Barnes played in the nickel corner role last year, and this spring they moved DeAngelo Hall in there and tried Barnes on the outside, where they thought his size made him a better fit. But he got passed on the depth chart by Richard Crawford, who played well and also contributed on special teams, and Barnes was about to be cut before the Redskins got the trade offer from the Lions. Crawford is now likely the No. 4 corner after Hall, Josh Wilson and Cedric Griffin, and there would seem to be little to prevent him from moving up the depth chart.

The Redskins' secondary is a weak spot on their team and a position of flux. They'll have two new starting safeties -- most likely Brandon Meriweather and either Tanard Jackson or Madieu Williams, and a obviously a reworked cornerback corps, and they'll rely on their coverage schemes to disguise weaknesses and move people (such as Hall) around to different roles as situations dictate. But it's also clear that younger guys on the roster -- like Crawford at corner and DeJon Gomes at safety -- will have a chance to move up the depth chart if they perform well. The Redskins are looking for people to show them something on the back end of their defense, and Barnes is a guy who didn't show enough.