DENVER -- The Washington Redskins opted for inexperience at safety -- not that they had much of a choice.
Jose Gumbs will start at strong safety and Bacarri Rambo will start at free safety, a youthful and inexperienced combination against one of the NFL's all-time best quarterbacks in Peyton Manning. Reed Doughty (concussion) and Brandon Meriweather (suspension) are out.
The Redskins could have opted for E.J. Biggers to start at free safety, in essence giving the Redskins four cornerbacks on the field. But that's not the best alternative either, though in passing situations his speed would help.
Rambo, a rookie sixth-round pick, started the first two games of the season, but was benched in part because of his tackling, then was inactive the past three games because of his inability to stand out on special teams. One thing he did well during training camp and when he started is not get beat deep. That will be an important factor Sunday.
Gumbs, a first-year player, has played nine career snaps, but has shown the ability to hit. However, this game will also be as much about discipline and making sure to play the right coverages.
The Redskins will start Jarvis Jenkins at left end, moving Kedric Golston into a reserve role. Jenkins played the past two weeks as a backup following his four-game drug suspension. His ability to collapse the pocket will be pivotal.
Meanwhile, tight end Fred Davis is a healthy inactive for a second consecutive game. The Redskins keep Niles Paul active for his special teams play. Their other inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Josh LeRibeus, running back Chris Thompson, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and nose tackle Chris Neild.