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JLC: Wrapping Up the Day (Final Update) Alexander, Plackemeier, Green

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From Barry and Jason:

In a flurry of roster adjustments that affect offense, defense and special teams, the Redskins replaced their struggling rookie punter with veteran Ryan Plackemeier, ended the season of safety Reed Doughty by placing him on injured reserve because of a back problem and agreed to a deal with former league Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander to fill in for injured Ladell Betts.

Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins executive vice president for football operations, declined to comment on any of the moves.

Doughty, who began the season as the starting strong safety, has struggled with a nerve problem in his back for the past two weeks. Though rookie Chris Horton had capably replaced him in the starting lineup, the team chose to sign a veteran, former Chicago and Seattle safety Michael Green, to a one-year deal to take Doughty's place on the roster rather than giving more time to Justin Hamilton, who was released after being active for just two games.

"He still has some numbness in his feet," Coach Jim Zorn said of Doughty, and it is possible the 25-year-old will have surgery to correct the problem.

"We've got to have production there, especially with a special teamer."

Alexander, 31, took a red-eye from the West Coast this morning, Zorn said, and worked out early at Redskins Park. "He looked fit," Zorn said. Details are still being worked out, Zorn said, but Alexander's role, as a backup for the first time in his career, has already been addressed. He will likely serve to spell Clinton Portis, the NFL's leading rusher, in the role normally occupied by Betts, who sprained his left knee in Sunday's 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

"I think he is the kind of guy that is smart enough to understand the situation," Zorn said. "We've talked to Clinton. Clinton understands the situation. This thing could be temporary, or it could run the entire season.

"We're not going to put some sort of limitation on where we're at in four weeks, two weeks, however long it takes Ladell to get back. But he knows the situation he's coming into."

Betts said an MRI showed no tear, but he's uncertain how long he'll be out.

"It's a waiting game," Betts said. "It's a matter of how fast I heal up, really. [The amount of time necessary] could vary from person to person and how severe it is. It could be a week, two weeks, three weeks, who knows? But I don't anticipate being out too long."

Yet even on a day in which a three-time Pro Bowler joined the team, the most significant development at Redskins Park likely came at punter. Plackemeier, who punted for Seattle for two seasons but was cut after one game this year, will take the place of Durant Brooks, a sixth-round draft choice who made the Redskins out of training camp but was inconsistent in his six-game career. Brooks ranked last in the NFL in both average yards per kick (39.6) and average net yardage (32.1).

Brooks was waived injured, according to a league source. Because the team used this designation, Brooks can be placed on injured reserve if/when he clears waivers.

Plackemeier was cut by the Seahawks after mustering a 30-yard net average on 11 kicks in Seattle's season-opening loss to Buffalo. In 33 career games, he averaged 42.3 yards per kick with a 37.3-yard net average. He beat out Josh Miller, Waylon Prather and Jeremy Kapinos in auditions at Redskins Park.

Brooks, meanwhile, came to the facility to receive treatment on his injured hip flexor. With his fate hanging in the balance, Brooks said the injury -- first mentioned by Zorn on Monday -- had been bothering him since halftime of a Sept. 21 game at Dallas.

"I thought it was just a little sore," Brooks said. "I wanted to push through it. I tried to tough it out and it just got progressively worse over the next few weeks."

Brooks, the only punter selected in the June draft, beat out veteran Derrick Frost for the job in training camp, but his transgressions included a low kick that New Orleans's Reggie Bush returned for a touchdown and a 26-yarder at a key moment against the Rams. Frost, meantime, has kicked this season for Green Bay, where he, too, has come under fire. Frost ranks 26th in the league with a 43-yard average, and the Packers have auditioned several potential replacements over the past few weeks.

Brooks said he could have kicked this weekend even with the injury, but he had to change his preparation. The entire situation -- poor performance and physical health -- affected his kicking, he said.

"It's a little physical and a little mental," Brooks said. "I'm sitting here thinking about it, trying to get it well. I had to cut my reps in practice. I had to cut my reps in pregame warmups. Yeah, I was in pain. But I don't want to use that as an excuse. That's why I'm trying to keep it quiet. I don't really want to come out and say, 'I'm just hurt. That's why I'm punting bad' or anything."

Alexander was the NFL's MVP in 2005 with Seattle, where Zorn was then the quarterbacks coach. That season, Alexander led the league with 1,880 yards rushing and a then-record 27 rushing touchdowns. But he endured a precipitous fall after that, playing only 23 games in 2006 and '07, when he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. After being cut last spring by the Seahawks, he tried out with Detroit, New Orleans and Cincinnati, but did not land a spot.

It's unclear how much Alexander would be able to play on Sunday against Cleveland. "He hasn't been hit," Zorn said. But he would, eventually, likely get the carries allotted to Betts, who averaged 6.3 over the first six games, serving to give Portis -- who leads the league with 22.8 rushes a game -- a breather.

"I had a pretty important role," said Betts, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. "Some people might not realize it, but you know, Clinton can't carry the ball 30-40 times a game. They got to have somebody step in."

The Redskins' third running back is special teams ace Rock Cartwright, whose only carry this season came in the fourth quarter against St. Louis, after Betts went out with his injury.

Green, 31, played six season with Chicago, including four years when Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache held the same position with the Bears. He played in 15 games for the Seahawks last year, and was last a full-time starter in 2004 with Chicago. He has a reputation as a fine special teams player, Zorn said, though he missed time the past two years because of Achilles tendon and knee injuries.

"Those have been rehabbed," Zorn said. "This is Greg's safety that he's had for years. Very comfortable with him. His name has been brought up several times."

Doughty's injury kept him out of the loss to St. Louis, and he had hoped it would calm down. But the situation leaves the Redskins thin at safety, where Horton and LaRon Landry are the starters. Rookie Kareem Moore played more in Doughty's absence against the Rams, but his failure to properly execute a blitz allowed St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger extra time to complete a 43-yard pass that put the Rams in position to kick the winning field goal.

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Brooks was waived injured, according to a league source. Because the team used this designation, Brooks can be placed on injured reserve if/when he clears waivers.

When Brooks does clear waivers, we need to put him on IR.

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When Brooks does clear waivers, we need to put him on IR.

I agree, he needs to work out this off-season and be given another shot next summer.

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Crazy day in Redskins Park today.

Indeed. But it worked out pretty well, all things considered. I hate to lose Reed for the year, but I don't think he is going to be healthy for a while. All three signings we made are solid, and I feel a lot better with Plackemeier punting. That was the big one for me.

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Isn't it funny how stacked we seemed at safety during camp? That would have been the last position where I would of thought we needed support.

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I remember those really good Bears defenses this decade had two Mikes in the safety position, Mike Green and Mike Brown. One was really good and the other was capable. Which one did we get?

On another note, I wish we had signed Kapinos. Sure, he's unproven, but he's a Penn State guy and was all Big-Ten two years in a row. Give the man his shot!

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I remember those really good Bears defenses this decade had two Mikes in the safety position, Mike Green and Mike Brown. One was really good and the other was capable. Which one did we get?

On another note, I wish we had signed Kapinos. Sure, he's unproven, but he's a Penn State guy and was all Big-Ten two years in a row. Give the man his shot!

The capable one. Brown was the playmaker, but also made mistakes. Green was the solid, not flashy player.

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I agree, he needs to work out this off-season and be given another shot next summer.

I hope we can hang on to him. He has a ton of potential, it just takes punters and kickers a little while longer to adjust than others for whatever reason.

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I hope we can hang on to him. He has a ton of potential, it just takes punters and kickers a little while longer to adjust than others for whatever reason.

Punters do better latter in their careers after failures.

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The capable one. Brown was the playmaker, but also made mistakes. Green was the solid, not flashy player.

Okay...and actually, given the style of defense we play, not leaving much room for improvisation, that's probably better.

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Punters do better latter in their careers after failures.

That's true. I don't think there is a good explanation for it, but I think this certainly qualifies as failure #1 for Durant.

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I hope we can hang on to him. He has a ton of potential, it just takes punters and kickers a little while longer to adjust than others for whatever reason.

Agreed.

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Couldn't they have just placed him (Brooks) on IR?? Why waive him and then wait. Evidently they have no plans to put him on IR or else they would have done it. Unless league rules prohibited it since he wasn't on the injury report. Any idea?

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Green is also reported to being an excellent special teams guy. Doughty was an important part of teams and Green fills both rolls...assuming he can get back to his old form quickly.

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Couldn't they have just placed him (Brooks) on IR?? Why waive him and then wait. Evidently they have no plans to put him on IR or else they would have done it. Unless league rules prohibited it since he wasn't on the injury report. Any idea?

I wondered the same thing, but I think this has something to do with it. If they had no plans to keep him whatsoever, they would have just traditionally waived him. But they went the injured-waived route.

I think this way, if he clears waivers and they do not want to keep him, they can reach an injury settlement with him. Give him a little cash on the way out.

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Green is also reported to being an excellent special teams guy. Doughty was an important part of teams and Green fills both rolls...assuming he can get back to his old form quickly.

He certainly was. I have not seen him play since he had a few significant injuries, but I am going to trust Blache and Zorn that he is healthy.

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I like Plackemeier. I wanted us to get him when he came out for the draft. I also agreed with the drafting of Durant.

Didn't Plackemeier kick super long field goals for Wake, too? If he kicks off well, keeping Suisham healthy, that would be a bonus, but who is going to hold?

It is pretty decent to go from one Ray Guy-winning punter from the ACC to another. As long as we come out of this year with a decent young punter I'll be happy...

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I like Plackemeier. I wanted us to get him when he came out for the draft. I also agreed with the drafting of Durant.

Didn't Plackemeier kick super long field goals for Wake, too? If he kicks off well, keeping Suisham healthy, that would be a bonus, but who is going to hold?

I wanted us to get him too when he was drafted and was also 100% behind Brooks.

And yes, Plackemeier also kicked in college, but punting was his stronger skill. He did boot some long field goals at Wake though.

Maybe he could be a new Steve Cox. Booming the ball as punter and coming in for ridiculously long field goals. I would not mind that at all.

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