NFL Wire News

Redskins’ secondary a mess already


The Sports Xchange

ASHBURN, Va. — During their dreadful 7-26 stretch since the beginning of 2013, the Washington Redskins were especially vulnerable in the secondary. As Washington prepares for its second game of this season against visiting the St. Louis Rams, little has changed.

Bashaud Breeland is back at cornerback after serving a suspension in last week’s opener for a substance abuse violation. He started the final 13 games as a rookie in 2014 after three-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury.

However, cornerback Chris Culliver, a free agent signee who started the season-opening 17-10 loss to Miami, is suspended this week, apparently in wake of a hit-and-run incident in 2014 when he was with San Francisco.

“We thought it could be a possibility, but it caught us by surprise,” coach Jay Gruden said of Culliver’s suspension.

Also, nickel corner Justin Rogers injured a foot against the Dolphins and wasn’t able to practice on Wednesday, while Hall was limited with a rib injury suffered in that game. The Redskins signed former Green Bay, New York Giants and Jacksonville corner Will Blackmon on Tuesday to bolster their depth.

Wait, there’s more.

New strong safety Duke Ihenacho suffered a season-ending broken left wrist against the Dolphins. Trenton Robinson, previously mostly a special-teamer, will get the first chance to take that job, ahead of former Seattle backup Jeron Johnson, whom Ihenacho beat out in August.

“It’s next man up and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this my whole career,” said Robinson, who played most of the final three-plus quarters against Miami and has made just one career start. “I’m super excited that I’m finally getting a shot. I fly around and I know my job. To be a good team, we can’t miss a beat.”

Gruden said that Robinson getting the nod over Johnson is a reflection on the former’s improvement rather than anything the latter hasn’t done other than missing time in August with a hamstring injury.

“Trenton got the majority of the snaps last week and did some good things, so we’re expecting him to try to build off of that performance,” Gruden said. “He’s got confidence. He’s got another year under his belt. He’s picked up (new coordinator Joe Barry’s) system pretty well. And he’s fast. He’s got a little more speed (than Jeron).”

As for Johnson’s hamstring, Gruden said, “Any time you have an injury like that, not only does it set you back … but it also gives somebody else all your reps. It lets them play well and gives us a good look at them. That’s kind of what happened with Trenton.”

If Rogers can’t play, Breeland figures to play a lot of snaps against the Rams, given that former starting corner David Amerson continued his struggles from 2014 in last week’s game.

“I’m ready to do whatever I gotta do to help the team win,” said Breeland, who missed the first three preseason games after spraining his right MCL on the first day of training camp. “I feel good. I’m just trying to get back in a groove, working on the chemistry with my teammates.”

Added Gruden, “He had a couple plays that he did look rusty (in the preseason finale against Jacksonville). Then he missed all week of practice last week. We’ve got to get him a good week of practice. I think he understands the defense. He feels good about where he is mentally. (It’s) just a matter of going out there and playing and running. He might have to play some corner, might have to play some nickel. That’s hard on a second-year guy with a new system. We have high expectations for Bree. He’s a smart kid and he will compete. Only time will tell if he’s rusty or not.”

Notes: Inside linebacker Martrell Spaight didn’t practice on Wednesday as part of the NFL’s concussion protocol. . . . Nose tackle Terrance Knighton didn’t practice on Wednesday because of sore ribs, although he said he could have played if it had been a game day. . . . Offensive tackle Trent Williams was limited on Wednesday with an injured ankle. . . . Center Kory Lichtensteiger was limited on Wednesday with an injured finger. . . . Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is sidelined three or four weeks with a pulled left hamstring. . . . Outside linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat, who missed the Miami game with a hamstring injury, participated in a full practice on Wednesday.

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