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For Redskins, Youth Is Served On Defense


With the Redskins plagued by injuries on defense, coaches had to turn to young players for Sunday's game in Jacksonville.

Many of them played a key part in the 20-17 overtime win over the Jaguars.

Among the defenders getting significant playing time in Jacksonville included defensive linemen Jeremy Jarmon and Joe Joseph, linebackers Rob Jackson and Perry Riley and defensive backs Kevin Barnes and Macho Harris.

This is certainly not the lineup that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett envisioned for Week 16.

He is making do, though.

The most significant change was at safety, where Barnes and Harris started the game.

They replaced Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore in the lineup. Doughty was sidelined due to a concussion and Kareem Moore missed the game with a knee injury.

Barnes is a cornerback playing out of position and Harris has had limited time in the Redskins' defense since joining the team in late November.

"They're both going to have to play and get it on the run," Haslett said.

Barnes had the big play of the game, an overtime interception that set up Graham Gano's game-winning field goal. He also posted three tackles in the game.

Barnes was aided by a strong pass rush by blitzing linebacker Chris Wilson and veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday.

At outside linebacker, Jackson was expected to start in place of Brian Orakpo, who was sidelined with groin and hamstring injuries. However, coaches opted to start Andre Carter instead.

Jackson saw plenty of action in pass-rushing situations as the game progressed, though.

He had a strong game, posting three tackles, a sack of Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and a forced fumble in his first extended playing time.

He applied steady pressure all game long.

During one play in the first half, he got a strong push on a pass rush coming around left end. He was grabbed around the beck by Jaguars right tackle Jordan Black, but no flag was called.

His sack came early in the second half. He came around left end again to take down Garrard. The ball popped loose but the Jaguars recovered.

It was the first NFL sack for the Redskins' 2008 seventh-round draft pick.

Riley has drawn praise as he has seen playing time in recent weeks. He logged two special teams tackles in the win.

"He's athletic and he has good speed," Haslett said. "He has a good nose for the ball and he closes fast on it. He's instinctive. It takes a little while [to evaluate a player], but we'll get a good feel for him as we go here in the next couple of games."

Jarmon played in the Redskins' nickel package, while Joseph served as a backup nose tackle to spell starter Anthony Bryant.

Late in the first half, Jarmon combined with Carter on a sack of Garrard.

It appeared the ball was jarred loose from Garrard's grasp and Jackson recovered the ball in the end zone. But referees ruled that Garrard was down by contact before he fumbled the ball.

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