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Halftime Substitutions -- Who Is the Redskins' John Brooks?

Do the Redskins have a bench player that has the chance to enter the game at halftime and be the game-deciding factor?

Laurence Griffiths

I know, I know...but it's the middle of June. If we can't mine the World Cup for Redskins topics and debates, what am I supposed to do?

John Brooks is the first substitution to score for the U.S. side in World Cup history and man was it a biggie. He entered the game at halftime when Matt Besler joined the list of players battling muscle injuries for Jurgen Klinsmann. It turned out to be a move that made the coach look a little bit like a genius. After all, he had other choices that were likely more obvious (Omar Gonzalez comes to mind).

I recall a certain Redskins coaching staff led by Joe Gibbs in the 80's that was masterful when it came to halftime moves. Since then, our abilities to make such adjustments have been best.

It remains to be seen how Jay Gruden will handle the monumental task of going into the locker room at halftime and emerging with a hastily crafted plan of attack based on what he saw over the first thirty minutes. At some point in 2014, he will be in the locker room at halftime dealing with the prospect of replacing a front-line player who is too banged up to continue. In many cases, the substitution decision is as simple as running your finger down to the next line on the depth chart.

In some cases, however, some actual creativity and coaching intuition are employed to replace the injured starter with not just the next man up, but a plan in place to utilize this player. In the NFL, teams spend all week learning about the men they will be facing. They dig up stats and factoids to help them anticipate the style and tendencies of every guy on the other side of the line. (If say, a wide receiver played quarterback in college, teams make sure that they don't get burned by a double pass or option pass. the case of Mohamed Sanu for the Bengals, we...uhhhh...didn't.)

The point is that when you pluck a guy from the bench and put him on the field, there is a chance that not everyone on the other side of the ball knows what to expect from him. On one hand, you can hide that fresh-faced player and hope that he doesn't cost you the game. On the other hand, you can play to one of his strengths and catch your opponents off guard.

The question today: Is there a player on our roster that is not currently slated to be a front-line starter, but could be inserted into the second half of a game and leaned on for a game-deciding play?

There are two incredibly obvious choices that I will refrain from bringing up so that you guys can, but as I look at the roster, I see options on both offense and defense that could be used creatively to confuse and thwart our opponent.