Washington Redskins activated defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat from their practice squad. The move is a boon for the team as they battle injuries on defense and an overall lack of depth in general.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Football Team got its first piece of positive news about the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday morning, when it announced the return of four defensive linemen to the active roster, including Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat.
Sweat is on on injured reserve, but Washington has cleared him to practice. He’ll be activated off the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers (6-7). Sweat hasn’t played since breaking his jaw in a defeat to Denver on Oct. 31. When asked how much Sweat could play despite his extended layoff, coach Ron Rivera said, “A lot.”
Washington’s (6-7) defensive ends James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill were both activated off the COVID-19 list. Sweat and Chase Young, who tore his ACL in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 14, had been starting at end in their stead. In Sunday’s defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, neither Toohill nor Smith-Williams saw action.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the NFL rescheduled Washington’s game against Philadelphia from Sunday to Tuesday. It’s a crucial game in terms of playoff seeding. Washington presently has the NFC’s seventh and final playoff berth.
When questioned about his opinions on the game alteration, Allen said, “That’s a loaded subject.” “Yes, I’m delighted they did that as a Washington player. Philly, I’m sure, has a different viewpoint… It’s what the league considers to be the greatest option. It isn’t up to us to decide.”
Rivera said that his first response was, “Okay, that’s OK. That’s excellent. This is beneficial to us.” He said that if there were any breakout instances involving vaccinated players, the NFL would assist them. Almost all of Washington’s positive players had been vaccinated, and the majority are still asymptomatic.
Then he mentioned a predicament his club had to deal with last season, when a game in Pittsburgh was moved to Monday. Washington only had a week to prepare before heading to Phoenix, where the San Francisco 49ers were playing their home games. Both games were won by Washington.
“It was in the league’s best interests,” he said. “We had to go across the nation to play San Francisco, so it was a bit difficult for us.” But it was alright since, once again, it boiled down to the task at hand. That’s exactly what we did…. ” We did that last year, so it was only natural that we would do it again this year.”
Washington still has 19 players on the COVID-19 list, including Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, the team’s top two quarterbacks. Allen’s comeback is expected to be in time for Tuesday’s game. Allen’s viral case load levels, according to Rivera, were heading in the correct way. To try out, his number must be at least 35.
If neither player returns, Washington will have to select between Kyle Shurmur, who has been on the practice squad since September 13, and Garrett Gilbert, who joined the club for the first time on Friday.
Though two of the team’s top seven linemen, tackles Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle, remain on the list, the return of the others will give a lift. Allen is enjoying his greatest season, leading the club with 7.5 sacks, one sack shy of his career high.
Allen said he believed he’d be able to play in this game since he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms and it occurred on Monday, giving him extra time.
“However, it was annoying since it’s the worst time of year,” Allen said. “The toughest part of it was knowing I may not be out there when we got into divisional play.”
The line has been a strong point for Washington’s defense. Washington has allowed the third-most total yards per game and the eighth-most points in the last six games. The offensive line has been a big reason for the team’s success, and it will be vital against Philadelphia.
The Eagles have the most running yards in the NFL, averaging 210.5 per game. With a healthy front seven, Washington can counter with a five-man line, as it has done in the past against opponents who want to run the ball.
Washington has utilized that look 70 times on first-and-10 and 137 times total, according to Next Gen Stats. Washington has utilized five linemen with one or two linebackers 50 times, second only to Cincinnati’s 55 times, according to ESPN Stats & Information. On an NFL-high 24 times, Washington has utilized five linemen and one linebacker.
Despite the fact that Sweat hasn’t played in over a month and hadn’t practiced before Saturday, the coaches believe he’ll be ready to play because of how he’s maintained in condition. However, it’s unclear how many snaps he’ll get.