Injuries at Safety Have Redskins Short on Options

Redskins rookie inside linebacker Su’a Cravens is going to move to safety in 2017. There was a chance given Washington’s ill health at that position late this season that he could play there against the New York Giants in Sunday’s decisive game, too.

That isn’t going to happen. Cravens missed practice on Wednesday and shows no signs of returning from the elbow/biceps injury that he suffered Dec. 11 at Philadelphia. He has missed the past two games.

“It’s not looking good,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “Su’a took a personal day today and hasn’t shown a lot of progress.”

That was one player who could have helped at safety. Veteran Donte Whitner (quad) missed practice on Wednesday and he was placed on Injured Reserve on Wednesday afternoon, according to a league source. Whitner joined the team on Oct. 5. To replace him on the active roster, Washington has added Josh Evans, the source confirmed. ESPN’s Field Yates first reported the moves.

The Redskins actually signed Evans once before. He joined the team on Oct. 5 – the same day as Whitner – and he was on the 53-man roster for three games and active for two before being released Oct. 28. Evans played 47 games in three years with Jacksonville and started 37 so he has plenty of NFL experience.

Evans joins Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett and Duke Ihenacho as the safeties on the active roster.

“We’ll address that after practice,” Gruden said. “I think today we wanted to get everybody in here, see who’s practicing, see how far we think they are away from playing and do the best educated guess we can and then if we need to get another body in here we will.”

There are no safeties on the practice squad and DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton, Jr. were lost early in the year to season-ending injuries. It’s a difficult situation. Ihenacho is the only one of the three active safeties who played that position before this year.

“The interesting part of this with Duke is coming into the season he was our only, true starting safety that we had,” Blackmon said.

Bruton, Jr. was primarily a special teams player in Denver and Everett, Hall and Blackmon were all cornerbacks for most of their careers. Hall did move to safety after returning from injury in the middle of last season.

“Duke is just a naturally athletic, aggressive safety,” Blackmon said. “He’s built like a free safety and plays like a strong. I love Duke. He’s a great part of this team. No idea why we have so many injuries, but that’s probably why [general manager] Scot [McCloughan] built the team like this because everyone is versatile.”

How so? In the last game against the Giants on Sept. 25, Blackmon had to shift back to nickel cornerback when injuries struck.

“We’re just that kind of secondary,” Blackmon said.

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.

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