The Washington Redskins will experience another lineup change at inside linebacker: Because of a foot injury that will sideline Perry Riley Jr. for three to six weeks, Mason Foster is expected receive his first start this season Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

While Foster hasn’t been relied upon in a starting role before with the Redskins, the fifth-year linebacker wasn’t always a backup, starting 54 of 57 games over four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Foster had five career interceptions, two defensive touchdowns and 12 passes defended during that stretch.

“I’ve been prepared for this because I knew being around a little bit, playing a couple of years, I know how quickly something can happen and you’re the next guy up,” Foster said. “People outside, people upstairs and the coaches don’t want to see no let-off. Don’t flinch, like coach [Joe Barry] says, so keep pushing forward and keep going.”

Foster was one of the final cuts by the Chicago Bears before the season began. He didn’t sign with the Redskins until Week 4, when the team was lacking depth at the position. With injuries to Riley and Keenan Robinson, who will be questionable with a shoulder injury, it looks as if Foster will finally receive another opportunity to prove his worth in the NFL.

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“He’s prepared and he’s ready to go,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s a good linebacker.”

Foster is one of a number of backups whom the Redskins have had to rely upon this season because of injuries, particularly in the secondary. Through it all, Foster said, the coaching staff has done a solid job of preparing the backups each week.

“Even when I was only getting a couple of reps preparing throughout the week to play certain positions, I was still competing at a high level on the scout team going against [Jordan] Reed, going against Matt Jones and everybody,” Foster said. “So you’re ready to play.”

All in a day’s work:

  1. The Redskins’ ascension to first place in the NFC East began with an attitude overhaul.
  2. Here are the key matchups to watch during the Redskins’ rivalry game against the Cowboys.
  3. The Redskins waived injured safety Trenton Robinson.
  4. Here’s everything you need to know leading up to the Redskins-Cowboys game.

The opposing perspective:
The daunting task for Cowboys fans has been separating fact from fiction this season.

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How the NFC East fared on Sunday:
The New York Giants lost to the New York Jets in overtime, while the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots. Both teams sit at 5-7, meaning that the Redskins (5-6) will remain in first place regardless of what happens on Monday because of the three-way tiebreaker.

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If the Redskins win, they’ll have a one-game lead with four weeks left. If they lose, they’ll move to 5-7 and the Cowboys will be somehow just a game out of first place.

Today’s schedule:
Well, there’s a game. In their second prime-time game this season, the Redskins will host the Cowboys at FedEx Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

Prediction:
Redskins 27, Cowboys 17

Master Tesfatsion begins weekday mornings on The Insider with a quick take on the Redskins, and catches you up on everything you missed.

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