Punter Ryan Plackemeier in, punter Durant Brooks out—The Redskins were as patient as they could be with Brooks but they just couldn't afford to wait for him to develop into a consistent punter. The last straw was a 26-yard punt from the end zone that allowed the Rams to kick a field goal without needing to gain as much as a first down. Those three points in a game the Redskins lost by two, obviously, were critical. Plackemeier punted pretty well for two seasons in Seattle before getting the ax after a poor performance in the Seahawks' opener this year. He signed a two-year deal so if he does well he'll be around next season.
Analysis: It's hard to get very excited about this as there is no guarantee that Plackemeier will represent an immediate upgrade. Still, the odds are that he'll be more consistent than Brooks, who was waived-injured. That means that the Redskins could put him on injured reserve, giving him a shot at competing for the job next year.
Safety Reed Doughty out, safety Mike Green in—Since opening day, Doughty has gone from starter to reserve to injured reserve. His back may need surgery to correct a nerve problem. Green is a seasoned veteran, having spent six years with the Chicago Bears before spending the last two seasons in Seattle.
Analysis: The Redskins were extraordinarily inexperienced at the safety position with Doughty, in his third year, being the sage veteran of the bunch. Chris Horton has been a great playmaker but he also has needed to ride the bench from time to time due to mental errors. Fellow rookie Kareem Moore had brain lock and didn't blitz on the 43-yard pass the Rams completed to set up their game-winning field goal. Green played under Greg Blache in Chicago so he should be able to pick things up pretty quickly and fill in during the times that Moore and Horton need mental time outs.
Safety Justin Hamilton out, running back Shaun Alexander in—Ladell Betts, on the shelf with knee and hamstring injuries, replaces Hamilton on the weekly inactive list for at least three or four weeks. Former Seahawk Alexander will get Betts' carries.
Analysis: Alexander's performance has dropped off dramatically since he gained 1,880 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for Seattle in 2005. Not coincidentally, it says here, he signed an eight-year, $62 million contract after that MVP season. Since the ink dried on that deal he has not been the same runner; he's been leaning into the line rather than slamming into it and tiptoeing rather than running with authority. If now, after spending a couple of humbling months on the street, he is concerned about his legacy he could be a valuable asset. If he's still fat and happy about the size of his bank account he'll be a downgrade and the Redskins will be counting the days until Betts can return.
Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at firstname.lastname@example.org