Donte Whitner Heading To Injured Reserve, Redskins Add Josh Evans
Donte Whitner was placed on season ending Injured Reserve on Wednesday. To make up for his loss, the Washington Redskins signed Josh Evans.
The nightmares at the safety position are continuing for the Washington Redskins. After already having lost their opening day starters at the position to season ending injuries, the Redskins lost yet another big name player. Starting strong safety Donte Whitner is reportedly going to miss the rest of the season, per ESPN’s Field Yates.
Though Whitner had not played well in coverage for the Redskins, he was still a savvy veteran who had strong tackling skills. It will be difficult to replace his physical nature.
Without Whitner, it is likely that Duke Ihenacho will take over as the starting strong safety. Will Blackmon has done a solid job at the free safety position, and Ihenacho has been the No. 3 safety for most of the year. Ihenacho can play both positions, but he is probably better suited for the strong safety position. He has good tackling skills, and he should be an upgrade in coverage over Whitner.
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However, this will greatly impact the team’s depth. Yes, they did sign Josh Evans who was on the roster earlier in the season, but he does not offer much aside from experience. He has 36 career starts, but was too often torched in coverage. At the best, he is just a depth option for the team.
One could also point to Su’a Cravens as a future option. Cravens is planning a move to safety, but he has not been able to get on the field since suffering an injury in Week 14. He will likely be out for the season finale. I doubt that the team would use him as more than a backup, given that he has not yet played safety at the NFL level.
What the Redskins really need is for Deshazor Everett to step up. Everett had a strong performance as the primary backup at the position when Blackmon was out with an injury. Now, he will occupy that role full-time, and he should have some success. Everett has good coverage skills and is a hard hitter. He could even take over as the starter instead of Ihenacho. The only question is, can he play the strong safety position? The answer is probably.
At the end of the day, the injury to Whitner will hurt the Redskins. They just have no depth at safety now, and they will need a player to step up. It will be interesting to see what their coverage plan is during Week 17.