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Need to Know: Will Foster and Compton and start for the Redskins for the rest of the year?

Dec 17, 2015, 4:50 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 17, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Buffalo Bills.

Five thoughts and observations from around Redskins Park

—There wasn’t an announcement or anything but I think for as long as the Redskins season lasts Will Compton and Mason Foster will be the starting inside linebackers. Perry Riley might come back and start in Foster’s place but I’m not sure that Riley’s foot will be healed in time. It looks like Keenan Robinson is out of the picture. The reasons for his decline from team leader to afterthought remain a mystery.

—One thing that slipped under the radar against the Bears was Preston Smith starting at outside linebacker in place of Trent Murphy. It wasn’t a token start, either as Smith played 45 snaps to 20 for Murphy. The rookie played fairly well, getting credited with four quarterback hurries but Murphy made the most of his limited time, getting a sack of Jay Cutler, forcing a fumble that he recovered in the process.

—On Monday, Jay Gruden talked about the low production the Redskins have had on first down running plays. I pulled up the numbers to see what the extent of the problem. The NFL averages 4.1 yards per carry on first down. For the first four games of the year, the Redskins averaged 4.0 per first-down rushing attempt. But since then the average has plummeted to three yards per carry in games five through 13. There is a big difference between second and six and second and seven.

—It remains to be seen what the role of Pierre Thomas is going to be as he picks up more and more of the offense. I don’t think he’s going to replace Chris Thompson as the third-down back when Thompson’s shoulder is healed. They like his speed. The roles of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones seem to be set so I don’t see them being disrupted. In fact, I’m not sure how Thomas fits on the 46-man game day active list as more players get healthy. We will see.

—Bashaud Breeland is playing some great cornerback. I won’t say elite because the word has been overused to the point of being meaningless but he’s been very, very good. What separates him is his competitiveness and his willingness to stay late in the building watching film and doing other preparation. Breeland doesn’t pick off a lot of passes (as they say, if he had good hands he would be a wide receiver) so he probably won’t get much Pro Bowl consideration. But he is playing at that level.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Bills @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Eagles 9; Redskins @Cowboys 17

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Dec 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Pretty hard to play middle linebacker with a hurt shoulder (Kennan). Of all the positions on the team, the middle linebacker needs his shoulders the most. They have to be run stopping hitting machines. To clog the middle you need your shoulders feeling perfect. Pretty easy to see why not Kennan.

    Murphy is a beast regardless. But Preston has 8 more tackles alone. Trent 10 tackles, 20 assists, 3.5 sacks. Preston 18 tackles, 7 assists, 3.0 sacks. Pretty similar not sure about hurries how they compare. Both are good. And goof to have each other backing each other up.

    Compton, ranked 34th, 38 tackles and 37 assists. Kennan, ranked 57th, 30 tackles 26 assists. Looks like Compton has the Mike linebacker locked. Riley vs Foster flip of coin. Riley better in coverage vs. tackling. Foster better at tackling vs. coverage. Tough call there. Keep Compton as Mike and rotate foster for short yardage and Riley for long coverage.

    So pleased with Breeland. I go elite on that. Might be better than culliver. More consistent. Just does not have the years of stats yet.


    • troylok - Dec 17, 2015 at 7:52 AM

      I think Compton earned the inside linebacker job where it seems like Foster was in the right place at the right time. Not critical of Foster. He’s a solid tackler, which is something they didn’t have with Robinson. I agree that he doesn’t have the coverage skills that Riley or Robinson have. The good news about Foster is he is still a young guy. They can keep him around and, assuming RIley shakes off this funk that has brought his game down and Spaight recovers fully from injury, end up with a quartet of good inside linebackers.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if in the offseason they don’t ask Murphy to start beefing up to play end. He seems to have a better skillset for playing end than he does linebacker. It is encouraging that Preston Smith is looking like the real deal.

      • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        Compton, Foster, Reilly, Keenan, Preston, Murphy … who starts … who comes off the bench doesn’t really matter much to me (tho I’m sure it does to THEM, especially if they thought they were locks — like Keenan? But if you wanna regain a starting gig, work HARDER.)
        To me it looks like the start of a pretty good LB corps, with young & still-developing starters and dependable backups. Add Junior G into that mix (plus a high draft choice?? Or Spaight?) and the group gets even better! Set em into competition and let the chips fall where they may. No?

    • babyteal1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      Its funny how your always the first one to comment…HTTR fan!!! IMO we need to draft or sign a FA middle linebacker!! We have no game changers there. Murphy is far from a beast. Compton is serviceable and Preston has potential. Everything should change when Gallette is resigned…and he will!! Breeland is better than Culliver….Culliver has not impressed me at all. Lots of money for nothing so far.

  2. colmac69 - Dec 17, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    On your first point without doubt should b compton /foster…..nice to have inside guys being in right places and making tackles

    Would appear smith finally bumped Murphy from starting lineup……did some gd things/Murphy had sack fumble/…..nxt yr if galette back at outside backer b interesting to see how they use both smith/Murphy

    Running on first dwn bn a problem most of the yr…’s actually testament to offense that they bn able to have some success given how much struggle run game bn…..look out if the run game takes off

    Again interesting how thomas gets utilised once Thompson fully healthy

    Breeland best corner we have had since champ bailey imo……if that too high bar then he best since Shawn springs in mid 2000,s….he got all qualities u like to see in a player on/off field

    Was on official redskin site yesterday and some of the stats they had on team/individuals was real surprising…..some of cousins numbers in fourth qtr are impressive //redskins are number 1 in kick off coverage (think signing Hopkins has played gd part in that)…….

    If I was tech savvy I would post a link but I can just bout manage texting on my mobile

    • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      “interesting how thomas gets utilised once Thompson fully healthy”

      I posted yesterday that I liked what Lucky Pierre did in a cameo debut v Chi. He looked like an experienced pro out there — a good fill in. That said, his time in B&G may be very limited. Don’t think the Skins’ll keep a 4th back once (if?) Thompson gets back. They hadn’t previously. So this may mainly be Thomas’s window to do whatever he can, whenever he can — and prove to the rest of the league that he’s still a viable option to bring to camp next year.

  3. skinsgame - Dec 17, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    Foster has played as well as Compton in his 2 games and might be a better tackler. Neither are changing games with pass rush but they’ve been better at chasing down run plays and tackling than Robinson & Riley had been. Those 2 players along with Dunbar are making names for themselves.

  4. sidepull - Dec 17, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    Keep em in there. They are playing well.

  5. greed - Dec 17, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    i’ll tell you what the angst against KROB is he in a contract yr, perfect way to devalue his worth and leverage

    • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:01 AM

      Yep. Morris and KRob not having the greatest contract years. The organization has been fair with them though. Every player knows that if you’re injured there is a risk that the next man up might just man-up and play better than you. That is why you see so many players play through hindering injuries. Did Griffin NEED to come back last year? No. Most guys with dislocated ankles miss a whole year. In hindsight, he should’ve Derick Rose’d it and then everyone’s last memory would’ve been how dynamic he looked in a handful of plays against the Jags. As a competitor and a teammate of course he’s going to try to comeback and do what he can to help the team but on the other hand there is always that chance that you’re back-up might play better and win the position while you heal. This team is full of guys who got their shot because of someone else’s injury.

      • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 12:56 PM

        “he should’ve Derick Rose’d it ”

        Dunno … wouldn’t that have just given his detractors another excuse to trash him? You know; “Lookit the diva …he probably CAN play, but he’s looking out for #1 — as usual!”

        Don’t tell THAT wouldn’t have happened. LOL

        • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 1:07 PM

          Probably. He was always known as “a fast healer” and had that story not been out, maybe it could’ve been spun a different way. Then again it was like he is progressing as expected and suddenly after the Dallas game and McCoy’s performance he was back. After all at 3-6 and not 2-7 ‘we’ had that playoff chance – even if ever so slightly. His detractors would complain about HOW he said thank you – doesn’t matter what he does/did, complaints. My point is the guy came back two months after his foot was on backwards. Who does that?

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 17, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    We badly needed someone to step up, and Compton did it. Congrats to him, HTTR!

  7. shermanp79 - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    I think they need to get Thomas involved. I think they should of used the RB screen play much more than they have so far.

    I’m not sure Compton is a star but he understands how to play the position and is a smart guy. A D needs that type of guy. The play has been better so I would leave things as they are, maybe if Riley returns use him for situations he does best.

    I can’t believe how far Robinson has fallen since the first couple weeks. What is the real story? At this point taking a ILB in the first round seems to be needed. I know you can find them later but we need speed and playmaking ability. In reality we need it at all 3 levels of the D.

    This draft needs to be about speed. They need it on offense too.

    I think Smith should start the rest of the year. It looks like Murphy is a back up, maybe less time on field helps him. If he is fresh going against a tired guy he might be able to take advantage. He just lacks the athletismn, moving to the DL may be his best shot at having more impact. Can he add another 20-30lbs?? That year I wanted Early , he may be better as an end in a 4-3 but I’m sure he would still be much better than Murphy. Another wasted pick by Allen. I know we want quality guys but we need better talent. A bunch of overachievers only gets you so far. Even Scot left talent on the board.

    • colmac69 - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      Would definitely agree they nd speed on defense without doubt…

      Offensively I’m not sure as they got decent speed already…however any help wouldn’t go wrong

      As for GM I would imagine he would admit himself he missed a few…go bak to San fran/seattle not all his choices were correct…..however he got more right than wrong and built two teams to b able to challenge for titles….track record is there…players see this and and would imagine buy into the process and what he wants to build here…go a long way in my opinion

  8. bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    I think they should carry four running backs on the active 46. How many games has Chris Thompson and even Alf not finish the game due to injury. Alf is going to get his 8-10 carries to start the game. Jones is going to finish the game provided he doesn’t get dinged. Didn’t he not finish one game this year for a head injury? (Probably wrong – my memory is a shadow of the steel trap that it used to be.) Thompson, you need his speed and Thomas should be there just in case. There may not be room for him but it depends on what they do with tight end and the o-line.

  9. John - Dec 18, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    Murphy is an end. He plays better with his hand in the ground. Like to many college players that are tweeners, playing end in college, then trying to make them into an outside linebacker. Same situation as Andre Carter and Chris Coleman, guys who were of similar size but were better as 4-3 speed rushers. Not to say Murphy is as fast but similar situation.

    Keenan will more than likely be headed elsewhere during free agency. Scott M and the coaching staff want tough players who will play hurt. He like a lot of U Texas players won’t. Its a shame because he has the body and runs like a gazelle.

    Compton is instinctual and can make the calls at the mike linebacker spot. They have been much better against the run with him and Foster.

    Preston Smith needs to play more. He has shown that he can rush the passer. He needs to get more comfortable with the position. Question is, he’s like Murphy, a tweener, so will he cross all the way over to linebacker or be a lineman? Only time will tell.

    In regards to Galette, people think he will come back as a holy terror. He has yet to play a down with this group and is out for the year. Can’t remember if it was a knee. If so, it takes a year to heal and another to get back to full speed. So don’t expect him to be the destroyer next season.

    They will probably draft another linebacker but I fully expect the team to go after a running back in the early rounds. I also look for them to go after a receiver with size and speed as well as a center. Archives

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