- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2015

ASHBURN — Ever since Will Compton filled in for Perry Riley earlier this season, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden has wrestled with the idea of how to get the third-year inside linebacker more involved.

Compton played well when Riley was sidelined with a calf strain and recorded 18 tackles in two starts against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Compton only played a total of 22 snaps in the next two games when Riley returned, but played 40 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Riley and inside linebacker Keenan Robinson were both injured.

Last week against New England, Compton played 52 snaps, three more than Riley, who struggled in coverage against the Patriots’ running backs.

On Sunday, Compton is expected to start against the New Orleans Saints, though it is unclear if it will be in place of Robinson or Riley. Robinson is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. If he is inactive, it is likely Riley and Compton will start. If Robinson is active, Compton is expected to start in place of Riley.

Though the Redskins‘ inside linebackers are injured, Gruden has said multiple times this week that Compton has earned an opportunity on merit, not out of necessity.

“You saw Will step up when Perry was down,” Gruden said on Friday. “He’s continued to play very well for us. He is taking advantage of his repetitions. We’re trying to find a way to keep him in the lineup. Unfortunately, these other guys have had some bumps and bruises which has given Will the opportunity and he’s taken advantage of them.

“He’s very smart. He’s got a great understanding of the defense. When he does play, he plays with good violence. Will has done everything that has been asked of him and done it well.”

Compton played in all 16 games last season and recorded 60 tackles. He had 10 tackles on Sunday against the Patriots and was excited about the opportunity to start for a third time this season, particularly in a game against the Saints (4-5) the Redskins (3-5) feel they need to win.

“We’ve had a great week of practice and I expect us to put some good stuff on film and beat these guys,” Compton said. “It’s a big game in a lot of ways. We know we gotta get a win, especially when you look down the road at playoffs, of course we have to win our division. But we need to win games like these against other NFC opponents too. That’s who you will be competing with down the road.”

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