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#HailMail: 2016 Panthers Week

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Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda answers YOUR questions submitted on Twitter about the Redskins' roster and more as the team prepares for a Week 15 matchup with the Panthers.


@scrlvrz asks: #HailMail what's the status on @willcompton and @SuaCravens? Will they be back on the field next MNF?

This is something the Redskins will have to continue to monitor as the Panthers game gets closer. Washington, however, did receive good news on Monday when Will Compton (PCL sprain) and Su'a Cravens (elbow strain) were announced as week-to-week by head coach Jay Gruden instead of potentially much worse.

Cravens went down after just two defensive plays in Sunday's victory over the Eagles while Compton was removed from the game in the third quarter.

It would be difficult to replace either player in the lineup, Cravens with his versatility and Compton is the defensive captain in his first full season as a starter, but the Redskins have options if neither can play against Carolina.

"Yeah, mainly Mason [Foster] took over [for Cravens], played a lot of that role there and he did a great job," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. "Mason played a lot of snaps [against the Eagles] and didn't wear down. I was happy for his performance. We still have obviously [Terence] Garvin on our roster, hasn't gotten much play but that could increase here [in] the next couple of weeks. We'll have to get him ready to go."

And if Compton can't play, the Redskins would have to rely on second-year Arkansas product Martrell Spaight to take his place at Mike linebacker.

Spaight saw his most extensive NFL action to date on Sunday, playing 38 defensive snaps in place of his injured teammate. While he was admittedly a little bit nervous at first – Josh Norman had to tell him to remain calm in the defensive huddle – he flashed the same sort of potential the coaches enjoyed seeing out of him during the preseason.

"Spaight, man, he's ready to go at all times," Compton said. "I didn't even bat an eye when he had to go in. If anything, it's just keeping him calm and even keel. That's big, you've got to have guys ready to go – next man up mentality."

If Compton isn't able to play, it would put Spaight in line for potentially his first career start.


@seok_youtube asks: @Redskins #HailMail Any updates on Josh Doctson?

When the Redskins designated Kory Lichtensteiger as their play to return of Injured Reserve, it officially ended a potential comeback bid for Doctson during his rookie season.

That means Washington's 2016 first-round pick managed just 31 offensive snaps this year, hauling in two receptions for 66 yards before Achilles issues – the same ones that plagued his offseason – flared up again.

It was certainly not what the Redskins were hoping out of the consensus 2015 All-American. At 6-foot-2, with a 41-inch vertical, there was a belief Doctson could at the very least be an immediate red zone threat.

Prior to last week's announcement, though, Gruden said that Doctson still hadn't been sprinting yet.

"It is disappointing for all of us," Gruden said. "You know, we had high hopes for him coming out of TCU and the talent that he has and he's disappointed but these things happen. There's been a lot – if you look around the league, there's a lot of first-rounders that didn't get up and running this year for whatever reason and a lot of draft picks. So he's just one of the guys that we have to take good care of. We have to make sure we get to the bottom of his injury and hopefully this gives his mental state of mind some peace that he can go out and rehab it and get it well for OTAs."  


@hmills74 asks: If we win remaining games are we guaranteed wild card spot? #HailMail

At 7-5-1 through Week 14 action, the Redskins are currently in the No. 7 spot in the NFC playoff picture, a half-game out of the second Wild Card spot which is currently being held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay is also tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC South lead with just three games remaining.

If the Redskins win all three of their remaining games – against the Panthers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants – they'd likely put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. However, they'd need one of those NFC South teams to lose at least one game or for the Giants to lose two games. If the Buccaneers and Falcons were to somehow win all of their remaining games and the Giants were to win in Weeks 15 and 16, Washington would be on the outside looking in.

Additionally, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are only a half-game behind the Redskins, but both of those teams lost head-to-head matchups with Washington and play each other in Week 16.

Here's the remaining schedules for the teams in contention for the two Wild Card spots:

Redskins: vs. Panthers, at Bears, vs. Giants

Giants: vs. Lions, at Eagles, at Redskins

Falcons: vs. 49ers, at Panthers, vs. Saints

Buccaneers: at Cowboys, at Saints, vs. Panthers

Vikings: vs. Colts, at Packers, vs. Bears

Packers: at Bears, vs. Vikings, at Lions

For now, though, the Redskins must take care of their own business before even looking for help from other teams.

"Right now, every game for us is like a playoff game and we're trying to fight our way back into the playoffs," running back Robert Kelley said. 

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