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After nearly giving up, Redskins rookie Holsey looking to make an impact

After nearly giving up, Redskins rookie Holsey looking to make an impact

Josh Holsey is happy to be where he is.

He almost didn’t make it.

The Redskins’ seventh-round cornerback was at the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend, getting praise from Jay Gruden for breaking up a pass during drills on Saturday, soaking up the atmosphere in an NFL team facility and trying to learn as much as he could.

He almost gave up the game before he ever had a chance to experience all that as injuries nearly derailed his career. In September of 2013 he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while at Auburn. He worked his way back onto the field only to suffer a second ACL tear to the same knee in the second game of the 2015 season.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to play football any more after the second time,” he told reporters last Saturday. “I wanted to be able to run around with my kids, I was looking towards the future, not the present.”

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But friends, family, and one of his coaches at Auburn persuaded him to reconsider. He decided that he didn’t want to live with the regret that might come with leaving football behind. And he dove into his rehab head first.

“Once I told myself I was going to come back, I was going to play, I was in rehab three times a day, I didn’t go on no spring break, did no partying, it was all rehab and focusing on getting my leg back strong,” said Holsey. “Once camp came around and the season rolled around I was ready to go.”

He played well in his last year at Auburn. Opponents targeted his coverage just 50 times and he defensed 10 passes and intercepted three. But he did not get a combine invitation and many analysts believed he would go undrafted.

The Redskins saw something in him and took him with the 235th overall pick. Jay Gruden congratulated him after he broke up a pass during practice and had some praise for him afterwards.

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“Watching him move around, it doesn’t look like he was hurt at all,” said Gruden. “He’s really quick in and out of breaks. He’s a competitor, you can see that. He likes to talk a little bit, as do I, so it’s a good match. We have a lot of fun with him. I think he’s going to be a good candidate for this football team. I know he ran around well in special teams drills, so we’ll see how it goes, but I was impressed with Holsey.”

Holsey did line up at outside corner some during rookie camp but he doesn’t expect to be there when OTAs start next week.  

“I know when the older guys get here I’ll be more focused on inside because there’s a lot of guys outside,” he said. “But I’m going to know everything just in case I need it.”

There are a lot of guys both inside and outside. The roster is loaded with experienced cornerbacks. Josh Noman and Bashaud Breeland are set as the starters. Kendall Fuller was a third-round pick a year ago and they added another third-round corner this year in Fabian Moreau. Quinton Dunbar now has two years under his belt after he converted from wide receiver and the coaches like his progress. Last year Dashaun Phillips was on the nickel corner for a few games and he will be back to compete for a spot.

For his part, Holsey embraces the competition.

“If there’s no competition it’s no fun,” he said.

“You’ve got to come out here and compete. You’ve got to put your best foot forward every day.”

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

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AP Images

Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.

The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.

OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.

OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.

MORE: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM A DISCOURAGING LOSS

The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:

The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.

They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.

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Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.

The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.

There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.