ASHBURN — The Redskins’ injury report isn’t much of a surprise this week heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (right ankle), left guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle), wide receiver Josh Doctson (left Achilles) and cornerback Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) will not play against the Browns. Safety DeAngelo Hall and center Kory Lichtensteiger were placed on IR earlier in the week.
Two other players are questionable: Outside linebacker Trent Murphy (elbow/shoulder) played last week against the New York Giants, but Kendall Reyes (groin) could miss his third consecutive game.
With Lauvao hurt, second-year pro Arie Kouandjio will make his first career start at left guard. He appeared in three games last season, but has yet to be active in 2016 through three games.
“I’m ready to go,” Kouandjio said.
It might not be for more than one game. Lauvao was playing well before he got hurt in the Giants game, Gruden said, but could return soon.
“When Lauvao gets healthy – hopefully that will be next week – then we’ll make that determination later,” Gruden said about Kouandjio.
When pressed if Lauvao would be ready to play next week, Gruden said: “Absolutely – Lauvao and Breeland and Doctson and Phillips. We’ll see.”
Phillips was the starting slot corner through three games, but rookie Kendall Fuller, Washington’s third-round pick this past spring, will also make his NFL debut in that spot.
“Some guys go down, some guys got to step up,” Fuller said. “That’s just football, that’s just life in general…The competitor side of me is gonna say of course I was ready to go [in Week 1]. But we didn’t want to rush the knee. People saw me making plays in preseason, but didn’t see what it took for me to get on the field during the week.”
Will Blackmon takes over at free safety for Hall. Spencer Long will start at center for Lichtensteiger. It is his first time playing that spot in a regular-season game. Long spent all offseason working as the second-team center – while at the same time battling Lauvao for the starting left guard position he held for 13 games last season, including the playoffs.
“I really love it. I love center. I think it’s a lot of fun,” Long said. “And I think that’s somewhere that physically I fit really well – and mentally, too. I’m excited for the future there and we’ll see what happens. But I’m also prepared to play guard.”
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