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Depending On Health, Su'a Cravens May Play Safety This Year


As the Redskins determine the statuses of Donte Whitner Sr. and Su'a Cravens, the USC product could shift to safety earlier than expected.

Washington Redskins rookie Su'a Cravens hinted last week that a full-time move to safety could be in the works for the 2017 season.

But depending on the health of veteran Donte Whitner Sr. (quad) and whether Cravens can return from an upper arm injury, the 21-year-old may actually slid into the safety position as early as this Sunday against the New York Giants.

"That's something we'll have to wait and see," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday. "We have got to get him healthy first – it's a moot point if he doesn't get healthy. We have got to wait and see how he's doing tomorrow, see if he has got more mobility in that arm. We'll just take it day-by-day and see how he's doing and then try to see where he is mentally. We know he can play dime linebacker, which is good, so we have a spot for him there. But we would like to see what he can do at safety – see how much he can learn and see where he is from a mental standpoint."

Whitner Sr. was removed from Saturday's victory over the Chicago Bears after appearing on 34 defensive snaps. Gruden said the Ohio state product is day-to-day as is Cravens, who has missed the last two games after suffering an upper arm injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14.

While Cravens has exclusively appeared at inside linebacker this season -- he's listed as the No. 2 Mo linebacker behind Mason Foster on the team's unofficial depth chart – safety was the positon he started at during his time at USC before transitioning to the hybrid role that the Redskins have envisioned for him.

"We're trying to teach him everything and he feels good about his knowledge as far as the dime linebacker is concerned," Gruden said last week. "He's trying to branch out and learn more about the safety position, the nickel position, all that and that's what he's got to do. That's why we drafted him, so he's a versatile guy that can play safety, can play nickel, can play inside backer, whatever it is. So, yeah, that's what he is doing."

Along with Whitner Sr., the Redskins also have Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon and Deshazor Everett at the safety positions.

Meanwhile at inside linebacker, outside of Foster and Will Compton, Martrell Spaight and Terence Garvin are also on the active roster.

Other Injury News

As are Cravens and Whitner, tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (jaw), running back Robert Kelley (knee) and linebacker Trent Murphy (foot) are also listed as day-to-day.

Additionally, cornerback Quinton Dunbar remains in concussion protocol.

Kelley injured his knee in the second quarter of Saturday's victory over the Bears but returned in the third quarter with a limited workload with the Redskins leading.

"I think he could've kept going," Gruden said. "He wanted to keep going but I wanted to see Mack Brown and I wanted to make sure that he got some touches in case this thing was a significant injury. You know, we don't know. Robert is a tough guy. He didn't want to come out at all but you could see he was in some pain, so I wanted to get Mack Brown some touches, see where he was so if we needed to use him in a big way Sunday he would be ready to go."

Reed, meanwhile, was inactive against the Bears after being held to just two catches for 16 yards in two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers as he continues to deal with a Grade 3 shoulder separation suffered in Week 12.

Gruden said Wednesday's practice day will gauge his progress heading into the regular season finale.

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