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Need to Know: Will Barnett play special teams?

Aug 3, 2013, 5:53 AM EST

Nick-Barnett-TD AP

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 3, five days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Will Barnett play special teams?

Usually, backup linebackers play special teams. They are some of the best athletes on the team and have a combination of size and speed that makes the perfect for sprinting downfield to cover kicks.

However, Nick Barnett may not play special teams. He has started every NFL game in which he has played, all 139 of them, and special teams is not a role that starters are expected to fill.

When asked if he had ever played special teams in his career, Barnett initially joked that he hadn’t. The then said that he played punt team his first for years in the NFL.

He started his NFL career in 2003 so his last year on the punt team would be 2006 when he was in Green Bay. George W. Bush was still president, Bret Favre was the Packers’ QB, and Joe Gibbs was in the middle of his second run as the Redskins’ head coach.

It remains to be seen if Barnett will play teams with Barack Obama serving as president, Robert Griffin III as his team’s quarterback (RG3 couldn’t vote for president in 2006), and Mike Shanahan as the Redskins’ head coach.

It doesn’t appear that playing special teams was a condition of Barnett’s employment with Washington. When asked if playing teams came up Barnett said, “Yes and no. We are going to see where we are at when the season starts. I am here to do whatever I am told to do, play, and be the biggest impact I can for this team.”

It would be difficult to carry a linebacker who doesn’t play special teams on the 53-man roster and it would be even tougher to have among the 46 game day actives. But it can be done and the Redskins just might do it.

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Today’s Fan Appreciation Day schedule

9:00—Gates open

12:00—Practice begins

2:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

According to Redskins.com there will be performances by the Redskins Marching Band and the Redskins cheerleaders prior to practice.

Tarik talks rookie DB’s

In case you missed it

Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 5; Preseason Monday night vs. Steelers 16; Redskins @ Packers 43

  1. rettcopple - Aug 3, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Hi Rich,

    It may not be an issue as I believe Perry Riley plays special teams regularly if I remember correctly. So if skins keep Barnett and Kehl they’ll have two inside backers on teams in Kehl and Riley. Also, DY is a converted linebacker that plays teams extremely well. Another question is if B. Jenkins will play teams if he and Rob Jackson are primary backups?

    • rtandler - Aug 4, 2013 at 5:31 AM

      Well, Riley did play some teams last year but any special teamssnaps that a linebacker who played 1170 snaps on defense are too many. He needs to be on the bench resting. And most fullbacks play special teams, especially those who only play about a third of the snaps.

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