ASHBURN, Va. -- A few nuggets from Redskins Park on Wednesday:
  • Robinson
    Linebacker Keenan Robinson was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his 14-tackle performance against Tennessee. Robinson and players such as cornerback Bashaud Breeland give Gruden hope for the future. “As a young player, you go through some rough patches, but when you play through it, you can see the progression of these guys. Breeland had a good game the other day against Tennessee also. So these young players are getting meaningful reps – that ones that continue to get better and better are the ones that are going to be special-type players and I hope that for Keenan. He had a great game.”
  • Receiver Leonard Hankerson said he feels “100 percent” and that his surgically-repaired knee has had no swelling since his return. It’s uncertain when he’ll be activated to the 53-man roster, but Hankerson said he’s ready. “I have teammates coming up to me and telling me how good I look,” Hankerson said. “I feel good. Like I said, I’ve been out moving around, working every day catching passes before practice, after practice. Timing-wise, there’s nothing holding me back.”
  • Linebacker Trent Murphy called it a huge leap that he’ll be making this week, going from backup to full-time starter for the injured Brian Orakpo. But he said the benefit is, “I know what to prepare for, whereas before I wasn’t quite sure when I’d be in for sure. I’d always have to be ready. Now I know so it’s no surprise and I can prepare accordingly.”
  • Murphy also said he’s still adjusting to the NFL. “A lot of things,” he said. “But no hesitation and playing fast and disruptive. I knew how fast the game would be and that’s where my improvement needs to be, always playing fast with no hesitation.”

Colt McCoy readies for return to Texas

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
ASHBURN, Va. -- Colt McCoy sees a difference in himself from the last time he started. The Washington Redskins quarterback is a little older, a little stronger and, he hopes, a little wiser from the lessons he’s learned. His road to this point hasn’t been easy, going from a rookie starter to a third-stringer in his fifth season.

But now he’ll get one game, at the least, to show that he is better than he was during his last time starting. McCoy hasn’t started since Dec. 8, 2011, with Cleveland. Since then, he’s appeared in eight games, having thrown a combined 30 passes.

He relieved Kirk Cousins for the second half of Washington’s 19-17 win over Tennessee. McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s tough, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” McCoy said of his career. “I wouldn’t change some of my past experience. I’ve learned a lot from them -- a whole lot. My path in the NFL so far has been a lot different than other guys, but I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained."

Redskins coach Jay Gruden called McCoy one of college football’s most successful quarterbacks. And, he said, having watched him play in Cleveland, Gruden viewed McCoy as a talented player.

“I always liked the way he played,” Gruden said. “His accuracy, his toughness, has always been a strong quality of his."

McCoy will start Monday’s game at Dallas, barring a major improvement from Robert Griffin III in practice. Griffin has always been considered a long shot to start Monday, but the Redskins have left open a just-in-case possibility.

For McCoy, it would be a chance to start in his native state -- he did start a game there against Houston when he played for the Browns (they lost, 30-12). He also starred at the University of Texas.

“It’s really unbelievable,” McCoy said of a possible start in Texas. “I can’t even sometimes take my mind there. But I’m really just trying to approach this as a professional and know this is our next game.

“I was going to get a few tickets before I wasn’t playing and now it has turned into a laundry list. I don’t want it to be too big of a distraction though. I am excited about going back to Dallas. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

This will be the first time McCoy has taken first-team reps in practice since the '11 season. If Griffin is ready next week, then it could be the last time he takes those reps for a while.

“I’ll get some timing down with receivers, with the O-line, work on silent counts,” McCoy said. "A lot of things that I just hadn’t been able to do. So it’ll be a huge week in practice for me to get more comfortable. This is a huge game for us and our season."
ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III showed a little more Wednesday, participating in more of the practice, showing a little more to his game. However, there’s still a lot more he’d need to show to warrant starting Monday night’s game at Dallas.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden has made it clear that Griffin would have to show an awful lot for him to start him against the Cowboys. But Gruden also left open the possibility of being wowed by Griffin. Barring that, it’ll still be Colt McCoy’s job. Griffin hasn’t played since Week 2 because of a dislocated left ankle.

“I’ve already made the decision it’s going to be Colt,” Gruden said. “I said that Robert would be the wild card possibly, if he is ready to go, and that still hasn’t been decided yet.”

Gruden said Griffin didn’t show him a whole lot more than last week – or, at least, there wasn’t a big jump. Gruden also said his chance for playing Monday hasn’t changed from what he said earlier in the week.

“He’s progressing along,” Gruden said. “It’s not so much watching him run; I think he feels OK running right now. It’s just a matter of how he feels [Thursday]. There’s certain movements, rolling out to the right, rolling out to the left and cutting back – we’ve just got to see how he handles that. But the big thing is getting him back comfortable into the pocket and throwing the ball to the receivers, getting his timing down.

“There’s a lot of that that has to take place also, so he’s coming along at a good clip, like we thought he would.”

Gruden made it clear Monday that he’ll abide first by what the trainers and doctors tell him. But he also said it’s not just about Griffin’s health. Griffin threw to receivers and tight ends during practice Wednesday, with some on target and others high and wide or short. The quarterbacks alternated reps with each of the three groups.

But it goes deeper.

“It’s not so much how his leg feels,” Gruden said. “It is, but it’s about taking plays with the pass rush coming at him and the live reps that he hasn’t had since Houston or since Jacksonville, which is a long time ago, it seems like. So the big part of it is, ‘How do we progress him along and get him the reps in practice.’ There’s only so many you can have. That’s the biggest issue – that and getting the timing with the receivers and just playing the game.

“There are a lot of variances to whether or not we think he will be ready for Monday night. Health-wise, No. 1, then obviously is he ready physically getting back in the flow with the wide receivers with the timing, the accuracy and all that.”

Gruden said Griffin likely would either be the starter or inactive Monday: all-in or nothing. He also said Griffin’s past injuries won’t be an issue in this decision.

“I take this injury itself into its own entity,” Gruden said. “If the doctors say that he has no risk of that thing getting re-injured. If it’s stable, they feel he can go through a game and get tackled and one little turn is not going to do a lot of damage, if they feel it’s stable, then we will go from there.”

Redskins locker room quick takes

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
ASHBURN, Va. -- Highlights from the Washington Redskins' open locker room session and head coach Jay Gruden's news conference:
  • Gruden reiterated Colt McCoy would start Monday night, though the bulk of the questions focused on quarterback Robert Griffin III and his readiness. Griffin again practiced, going through individual drills Wednesday. Gruden said if Griffin doesn't start, he'd be inactive -- it's either all-in or nothing.
  • The decision, as he's said before, comes down to his health of course and how his ankle responds a day after testing it harder than he has in the past. It's about how he cuts to both sides and how explosive he looks. And then it's about getting his timing down with the receivers. Gruden (wisely) acknowledges Griffin is a young quarterback who is still learning the offense and still learning to be a pocket passer. It's not easy to step right in after not having played since Week 2.
  • Robinson
    Gruden said he'd like to make a final decision on who will start by the end of practice Thursday. Again: It looks like it'll be McCoy. I'll have more on this later.
  • Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson won the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He practiced with a brace on his left arm, but Gruden said there was nothing more than just a strain.
  • Receiver Santana Moss said again what he told Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday: He'd like to see quarterback Kirk Cousins continue. Moss really likes a lot of what he's seen from Cousins. A lot. But Moss also said he understands why the Redskins turned to McCoy.
  • Receiver Leonard Hankerson said he feels 100 percent and he has his timing back and a good grasp on the offense. He has no feel yet for when he might be activated.
  • Trent Murphy was a popular guy today. I'll have more on what he's learned about playing outside linebacker in the NFL compared to college, but Murphy views this as a great opportunity. "To get my first start on 'Monday Night Football' against Dallas, you can't ask for more than that." Yes, he knows what this game means for fans.

Five questions facing the Redskins

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
Here are five questions facing the Washington Redskins entering Week 8 at Dallas:
  1. Who will play quarterback? It still appears as if Colt McCoy will be the guy, barring Robert Griffin III looking more ready than anticipated. So we're going to assume it's McCoy. Now the question becomes, what does that mean for the offense? A lot of short passes: 71.2 percent of his career throws have been within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But if Dallas crowds the line too much, then McCoy showed last week he can throw accurate downfield to DeSean Jackson.
  2. How will the defense fare minus Brian Orakpo? We all know he wasn't having a Pro Bowl season rushing the passer, but he was still a solid player in other areas and he still applied some pressure; he just didn't get home, which is what he needed to do. So replacing him is more than just from a pass-rush standpoint. Rookie Trent Murphy has a ways to go before he can be considered a solid all-around linebacker; most of his job has been rushing the passer in a nickel set. I do wonder, though, how he'll fare in this area when he has a chance to play a lot. Murphy is not going to wow anyone with explosion. This will provide him that opportunity. But Murphy also has to prove he can play the run and do well in coverage. Dallas will test him.
  3. Can they build on last week's win? The problem is, it's not as if the Redskins played well. They made mistakes that, against a better team, would have cost them the game -- offside on fourth and 5; turnovers, etc. Sunday looked like two struggling teams playing a game someone had to win. But a win certainly eases tension for a week and sometimes, to use a baseball analogy, you just need a bloop single to emerge from a slump. But they appeared like a team that still had a ways to go.
  4. Can the run game get going this week? To think the run game is the fault of Griffin's absence is just wrong. It's going to take more than a running threat at quarterback to change this area -- and it's not like he was a threat when they were in I-formation in the past, yet they ran well. Griffin's return will at times hold the backside end from pursuit, but the blocking has to improve. His return won't change interior pressure in the run game. At times I wonder if the run game is more predictable; if that happens, then you better have dominant blockers. Washington does not. I'm surprised, and disappointed, by what has transpired in this area. It's on many, including the running back. Also, the Redskins have faced three teams ranked in the top 10 in yards per carry (Seattle, Arizona and Jacksonville). In the next nine games, Washington plays six games against teams that currently rank 23rd or worse in yards per carry -- and none in the top 10.
  5. Can they slow the Dallas offense? The Cowboys have scored 30 or more points in four of the past five games. They have a top-10 quarterback (Tony Romo), the NFL's leading rusher (DeMarco Murray) -- by nearly 300 yards -- and one of the best receivers (Dez Bryant). And they're playing behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines; it's not a group that succeeds by scheme, it's a group that makes a scheme look good. There's a difference. Finally, in the past four games Dallas has averaged 6.39 yards per play (No. 4 in the NFL during that time, one spot ahead of Washington) and 431.2 yards (also fourth, 14 spots ahead of Washington). The Redskins' defense has actually played better at times than given credit for, though it gets obscured by big plays allowed thanks to breakdowns and no game-changing plays (two huge factors, of course). The hard part will be a secondary with weak safety play and young corners will be tested quite often. Also, the Redskins' offense must do better: This is where the talent supposedly is, yet the Redskins have failed to score more than 20 points in five of their seven games. Again, it's not just about Griffin's absence.

Could RGIII be ready for Cowboys?

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
ESPN Washington Redskins reporter John Keim talks about the possibility that Robert Griffin III could play Monday against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.

Redskins wake-up call

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
The Redskins return to work with a different schedule for a Wednesday thanks to the Monday game. They’ll practice at 11:10 a.m., with an open locker room session afterward. Three areas of interest:
  1. Robert Griffin III. You might have heard there’s a chance he’ll start vs. Dallas and it all depends on how well he practices this week. Still, it will take quite a bit to convince Jay Gruden that Griffin should return. In Gruden’s mind, he’s a young quarterback who is still learning not only his offense, but how to be a pocket passer. Putting a player in like that before he’s ready will lead to struggles. So Griffin must not only show command of the offense, but also that he’s in excellent health. Gruden has taken an opposite approach to the previous regime in some ways and I think he’ll err on the side of caution here, barring a turnaround in thinking. Griffin has not talked to the media since his injury; hoping that streak ends Wednesday.
  2. Colt McCoy. He’s now the guy, if only for a week. But it’ll be quite a week for him considering he grew up in Texas and played at the University of Texas, where he’s still revered (OK, I’m assuming that last part, but there’s no reason to believe otherwise). Gruden is right; McCoy has the intangibles you like in a quarterback. For him it’s always been about the arm. He tends to throw short, quick passes for a reason. Guessing he’ll be a popular media target Wednesday as well.
  3. Trent Murphy. Another popular player this week because he’ll now replace Brian Orakpo in the starting lineup. Murphy has had a rather quiet start to his career. He’s been mostly limited to nickel pass rushes, but he has yet to record a sack. He’s done a solid job at times working with Ryan Kerrigan on stunts, being able to occupy two defenders. But he’ll have to now become an all-around linebacker. This spot is about more than just rushing the passer. If Murphy develops, then that would factor into whether or not Washington would re-sign Orakpo, or whether they would draft another player at this position if they had a top-10 draft pick.

Under review: Redskins offense

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
Didn't think to ask Jay Gruden about this, but I'm wondering if another pass after Kirk Cousins' interception vs. Tennessee, in which he stared down where he was throwing against zone coverage, contributed to his decision to bench him.
  • Anyway, the Redskins want to see Cousins respond well to bad plays by making better decisions. However, on the ensuing drive after his interception, Cousins rolled left and threw back to the middle of the field. That's a no-no for almost every quarterback and especially one who has a penchant for missing high on such throws. This (high) pass was tipped and the Redskins are lucky it landed safely.
  • Cousins makes some excellent throws but the above plays make him difficult to trust. His pass to tight end Niles Paul in the first quarter (the 50-yard catch-and-run) was terrific. It was a good call against man coverage and Cousins, under duress, led Paul upfield. Later, after the above failed pass to the middle, Cousins threw a deep out to receiver Andre Roberts, just over the head of a linebacker. It was a good ball that Roberts dropped. Another time Cousins threw to Reed on a third-and-5 in which the ball was delivered before he cut -- three steps, plant and throw -- and made the difference in a 7-yard completion vs. tight coverage.
  • Still, the turnovers. On the fumble, he simply was careless with the ball and there was a look of panic. He had the ball too low so when he raised it to throw, it gave the -- a chance to knock it away.
  • Right tackle Tyler Polumbus had played well enough last season to think he could at least duplicate that effort while rookie Morgan Moses was groomed to take over in 2015. But that hasn't happened, which is why Polumbus is in a fight to keep his job. Sunday, he did not knock his man off-stride in the pass game. Polumbus allowed pressure on the fumble and gave up the sack. Derrick Morgan did a good job rushing against him all game, too often getting his hands into Polumbus' chest and driving him back. There's a reason the coaches are contemplating a change.
  • Backup right tackle Tom Compton moves his feet well; when we saw him this summer he struggled with power against starters. That's an area of the game he's worked at since arriving in Washington. Sunday, Compton was OK. Showed some good footwork, but missed a couple backside blocks too.
  • The Redskins were good in the past at creating hesitancy in the defense in the ground game. Not seeing that happen now -- and that's not just about the zone read. It's about finding ways to slow the backside end, whether on more boots (they do still call them, clearly) or sending a receiver around in motion, as if there's a possible end around. They did send Jackson on a fake end around one time, though he hardly sold the action and few Titans bought it. That was another problem: Not sure they're selling the fakes well enough.
  • More miscommunication issues up front in the run game. On the first run of the third quarter, against an eight-man box, guard Chris Chester and Compton doubled the end; as they did so the outside linebacker on that side looped around to the middle -- and cutback area. Tight end Logan Paulsen, who was aligned on the right side and who started to pull toward the hole, then turned and blocked a backside defender. Not sure who messed up on this play, but it was a botched one and it led to a 1-yard stop.
  • Titans corner Jason McCourty does not play the run particularly well. So it was a good matchup for Jackson to "block" him. The Redskins did not use Jackson as a blocker in the screen game.
  • Liked Darrel Young's footwork on his 14-yard run. A defender had shot inside left tackle Trent Williams. On a quick hitter, that's trouble. But Young was able to quickly stop and change directions; not many fullbacks could have made that move.
  • Of the Redskins' 100 yards rushing, 66 came on five carries. That, of course, means the other 21 carries gained 34 yards. There is not a simple solution here. At times I wondered if the Titans had a good read on what was coming, or they just guessed right with some run blitzes. This is not a group, from the line on out, that can rely on just being dominant blockers to open holes for Alfred Morris, who is not creating the sort of lanes for himself that he did in the past. It affects every facet, from third-down success to the red zone.

Redskins sign LB Everette Brown

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
The Washington Redskins liked him enough that he nearly made the 53-man roster out of training camp. But it did lead to an eventual roster spot for Everette Brown.

Tuesday, the Redskins signed Brown to the active roster, taking the spot created when Brian Orakpo was placed on injured reserve. They had talked about signing Gabe Miller off the practice squad. Miller had beaten out Brown for the final outside linebacker spot out of training camp. But they eventually cut Miller and placed him on the practice squad, calling him a developmental player. Brown is more ready.

Brown will have a chance to play against one of his former teams on Monday night when the Redskins play at Dallas. Brown played seven games with Dallas last season, recording a sack. Carolina drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft, but he never fulfilled expectations. Brown has started three games in his career while appearing in 38, with stops in Carolina and San Diego in addition to Dallas. He also spent time with Detroit and Philadelphia, but never appeared in a game with either team. Brown played for current Redskins outside linebackers coach Brian Baker in Carolina.

The Redskins signed him on July 28, four days after training camp had opened. They cut him on Aug. 30.

Brown will be the fourth outside linebacker, with rookie Trent Murphy taking over for Orakpo in the starting lineup. They also have Jackson Jeffcoat.

Under review: Colt McCoy

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
Some thoughts after re-watching Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy’s relief appearance against Tennessee:
  • Twelve passes were thrown in less than 2.0 seconds, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Those plays gained 94 yards, but 70 came on the quick out to Pierre Garcon. And McCoy completed all five of his passes when he faced a blitz -- but he was also sacked twice. On the last series, the Titans blitzed on the pass interference penalty drawn by DeSean Jackson. Three of those five passes were released in 2.0 seconds.
  • The throws weren’t far nor were they overly difficult. But McCoy did get the ball out in rhythm, hitting his last step, giving a quick pat and delivering the pass.
  • Nine of his 12 pass attempts were quick throws outside the numbers on hitches. He did not attempt a pass between the hashmarks and only once did he throw between the hash and the numbers. He did throw deep down the right side twice, with one completion (nullified by penalty) and a pass interference penalty. McCoy was on target both times as Jackson faced good coverage in each case. Yet, he put the ball right near the sideline and just out of the corner’s reach, giving only Jackson a shot.
  • It’ll be tough to win if you can’t attack each area on the field, but in his career, his lowest marks typically have come on short throws to the outside -- 509 of his career 715 pass attempts have been within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That’s partly a function of the schemes he’s been in, but also that he’s not a guy who will drive it downfield a lot.
  • But in most cases, Sunday the coverage by the corners dictated what to do. They went deep to Jackson when the corner Jason McCourty pressed. When safety George Wilson played nine yards off Reed, McCoy pounced. He signaled to Reed, who gestured back as if he wasn’t sure of the signal so McCoy did it again. Reed ran a hitch and gained nine yards, putting the Redskins on the Titans’ 28-yard line on the final drive. But, again, the coverage dictated this throw. One note: He doesn’t have a lot of zip on his passes; you have to believe that allows corners to close a little quicker.
  • McCoy did miss an opportunity with tight end Jordan Reed in the end zone. He tried to throw a back-shoulder pass in the end zone. Reed anticipated a jump ball -- as a former basketball player -- and it should be a weapon for him. Instead, Reed started to jump but the ball was perhaps chest level. The corner, Blidi Wreh-Wilson had good coverage and at 6-foot-1 is not small. But let Reed win up top.
  • McCoy’s poise was noticeable; he was calm in the pocket and made good decisions against the blitz. It did not always result in long gains or even moderate ones, but they gained positive yards and it did not lead to turnovers. For example, on the final drive, he sensed a blitz, audibled and threw a 3-yard pass to Garcon. He was tackled immediately, but it gained positive yards. That preceded the nullified Jackson catch, but McCoy then threw on time to Andre Roberts for a 10-yard gain -- a calm delivery off his third step.
  • The throw that resulted in a pass interference penalty is another example of the calmness. Reed missed his block on the edge and Shawn Lauvao allowed pressure to his outside. With a rusher in his face, courtesy of Reed’s miss, McCoy unloaded the ball in 2.0 seconds. Had he waited another split second, he’s either sacked or the pass is deflected. Instead, he threw on time and in rhythm for a big play.

The Film Don't Lie: Redskins

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
A weekly look at what the Washington Redskins must fix:

Alfred Morris is just not running the same way -- for a number of reasons. I wrote about this last week, but it was evident once again against Tennessee when he managed just 54 yards on 18 carries, including a combined 25 yards on just two of those carries. The other 16 netted 29 yards.

The run game overall was bad, despite what appeared to be semi-decent results. The Redskins gained 100 yards on 26 carries, but there was zero consistency, as four runs gained 44 yards and 22 gained 56.

The Redskins needed to be powered by their run game this season, especially with the inconsistency they’ve shown in the passing game (big plays, but also turnovers). They have too many third-and-longs, a result of a ground game that struggles. They’re 18th in the league in yards per carry on first down (4.03), and 39 of their 108 first-down runs (36.1 percent) have managed 2 yards or fewer, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

It’s crucial for Washington to do better on its early downs against Dallas. It’s not just about keeping the Cowboys’ offense off the field; they can score in a hurry, though they often dominate time of possession because of their ground game. It’s also about putting the Redskins’ offense in better third-down situations and helping themselves in the red zone. Also, regardless of whether it’s Colt McCoy (likely) or Robert Griffin III at quarterback, a strong run game is needed to lessen the burden.

Fortunately for Washington, Dallas allows 5.29 yards per carry on first down (30th in the NFL) and gives up 4.93 per carry overall (29th). However, don’t be fooled: The one game Dallas was truly hurt on the ground was versus Houston, which rushed for 176 yards on 31 carries. The Cowboys have given up long runs, however, with six of more than 20 yards (tied for 26th in the NFL). Those runs have totaled 193 yards (28th in the NFL).

It’s not about using more I-formation -- Morris is averaging 3.28 yards per carry in two-back sets. He’s averaging 2.53 yards per carry in two-tight-end sets. But it jumps to 4.66 yards per carry with a three-receiver set.

Maybe Griffin’s return will help because of his ability to hold the backside end, fearing a run. But that won’t solve all the blocking issues, and Griffin was not a big run threat for most of last season in the option game, yet Morris still ran well. They need better blocking up front. They need Morris to hit more holes and get more yards after contact, as he’s done in the past.

Regardless, if the Redskins want to get on a winning streak, it has to start with the run game.

Redskins' depth tested on defense

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins' defense has been hurt by injuries, both to starters and players they anticipated to be key backups. They're still seventh overall in total yards per game (but 24th in points per game).

The majority of the injuries have occurred to backups; some have a greater impact than others. Here's a look at the players who have gotten hurt this season:

LB Brian Orakpo

What happened: Tore his right pectoral muscle this past Sunday and is out for the season.

Impact: Orakpo has quite his share of critics and it's hard to contend he's anything other than a good linebacker. But he was still good and he'll be replaced by a rookie, Trent Murphy, who has yet to show a whole lot -- and now has to be more than just an occasional pass-rusher. Yes, Orakpo needed to record more sacks and make plays. But the Redskins now have two inexperienced players on that side in Murphy and Jackson Jeffcoat.

CB DeAngelo Hall

What happened: Tore his Achilles' tendon in Week 3 and is out for the season.

Impact: The Redskins lost a good corner, and their most comfortable defensive back in press coverage. Bashaud Breeland might be a quality starter in the future, but for now he's a rookie enduring growing pains. Hall had given up some plays in his first three games, but his savvy is missed.

NT Barry Cofield

What happened: Suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener and can return after the bye week.

Impact: Chris Baker slid from end to nose tackle. He does what the coaches want, but the Redskins were better off with the combination of Baker at end and Cofield at tackle than the current setup.

LB Perry Riley

What happened: Suffered a sprained MCL and has missed the past two games.

Impact: Will Compton has filled in capably. Though he's not a playmaker, he executes his assignments. Riley has been a liability in zone coverage in particular; the organization was not unanimous in his return this past offseason. But there are things he does well -- he's fast and is a solid blitzer. However, he still has to prove he's part of their future plans.

LB Darryl Sharpton

What happened: Suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve. He was eventually released with an injury settlement.

Impact: He would have been a backup inside linebacker and possible replacement for the injured Riley. However, it's not as if Compton has struggled in this role. Sharpton also was supposed to help special teams. They needed him there more than anywhere.

LB Akeem Jordan

What happened: Injured his knee in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve Saturday after appearing in just two games.

Impact: Mostly on special teams. Had Sharpton been healthy, Jordan was in danger of being cut before the season.

CB Tracy Porter

What happened: He was just working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery when he injured his hamstring in camp. He played in half a game, hurt it again and remains sidelined.

Impact: He would have served as the No. 3 corner -- he covered well in the slot for Oakland last season. Of course, that was the first time in his career he'd played in all 16 games. Without him, they had to move Breeland into the starting lineup after Hall was hurt and now E.J. Biggers is serving as their nickel corner. Biggers should not be a No. 3 covering in the slot. Porter hasn't been a Pro Bowler and durability has always been an issue -- so the fact he's hurt shouldn't be surprising -- but they're not better off with Biggers as the No.3.

NT Chris Neild

What happened: Tore his ACL in camp and is out for the season.

Impact: When Cofield went down, the Redskins had to shift Baker to nose tackle. It's a natural position for Baker, but, again, they like him even more at end. Neild is probably best playing around 10 snaps a game, but he's a legit nose tackle and even if they had shifted Baker over, they still needed a backup. They don't have a true backup nose right now.

Redskins wake-up call

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
The Redskins don't practice Tuesday, but will do so the rest of the week. While awaiting their return to the field, here are three areas of interest:

The right tackle situation. Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that he likely take the rest of the week to decide who will start here, either Tom Compton or Tyler Polumbus. Two years ago Polumbus struggled at this position, but improved in 2013. However, his game has slipped, in protection and on backside blocking in the run game. Compton played for Polumbus at times Sunday. “Tyler had some unfortunate pass sets, gave up pressure,” Gruden said. “I think the continuity is there whether Tom or Tyler is in there or Morgan [Moses] for that matter.”

The roster. Washington must sign a player to take Brian Orakpo's roster spot. They have Gabe Miller on the practice squad -- he opened the season on the active roster. They'll likely work out some other free-agent linebackers. Miller is a raw pass rusher who looked good in the summer, but is still learning the position.

Filmwork. I'll be looking at a lot of film Tuesday; not sure yet what aspect I'll focus on. But I do know I'll be taking a look at linebacker Trent Murphy and quarterback Colt McCoy. Also, there will be a Film Don't Lie segment that posts at 11 a.m. This week, I'll focus more on Alfred Morris in the run game. I wrote a big item on the run game last week, but in this item I'll just focus on Morris.