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Crawford Ready To Be 'Next Man Up'


With yesterday's announcement that Redskins cornerback Cedric Griffin has been suspended for four games, the Redskins are looking for the next playmaker to fill his role on defense.

"It's called 'next man up,'" explained fellow cornerback Josh Wilson. "Every man in this league got an opportunity because another man went down."

The Redskins have had a revolving door in the secondary since training camp, losing safety Tanard Jackson to suspension and weathering two major injuries to Brandon Meriweather.

"It's been our thing all year: anytime we start to get gelling, we put another chink in the chain," Wilson said.  "It's another challenge we have to overcome."

Rookie cornerback Richard Crawford intends to be part of the solution, after he has reportedly developed well at nickelback.

"I think a lot of Richard Crawford, he has a lot of intangibles that you look for," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "If he does play, I think he'll play well."

Crawford made the team after an exciting preseason and was active for the team's first six games.  After struggling in the Minnesota Vikings game, Shanahan reduced his role on defense and allowed him to focus on technique and learning the playbook.

Crawford was disappointed to be held inactive for the last six games, but grateful for the learning experience.

"I've gotten deeper into the playbook, just knowing the defense," he said.  "This is my first year ever playing nickel; I never did it in college or anything like that. Its going to be learning by fire, just learning, learning, learning."

Crawford has had a host of mentors help him develop this season, and has taken advantage of any setbacks in his development to learn.

"I've been watching Hall, DJ [Gomes] over here, watching all those guys do what they do so I became a lot better of a player from it," he explained.  "I just have to know what to do within the defense to be a better player."

Shanahan did not publicly or privately commit to Crawford, saying that he wasn't ready to run through his defensive game plan just yet. But if Crawford is given the opportunity against the Ravens on Sunday, he knows he will be ready.

"Whatever they ask me to do when they throw me in a game, I'll be in there trying to be successful and work as hard as I can," he said.  "That's what the plan is."

Hall Hobbled But Plans To Play:

Top cornerback DeAngelo Hall was hobbled by injury against the Giants, but head coach Mike Shanahan believes he will be ready to suit up on Sunday.

"There's no way I'm not playing," Hall told the media on Wednesday. "There's a lot of guys in this locker room banged up. There's probably a lot of guys in their locker room banged up. That's just the nature of the beast.

"The train's going to keep going. We'll throw guys off, we'll pick guys up, some guys will jump off. But we'll keep moving."




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