Redskins

Giants' offensive line now solid

Giants' offensive line now solid

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) During the first half of the season, tinkering and maneuvering along the New York Giants' offensive line has been common.

In the last three weeks, though, the group has played extremely well together - so well that there doesn't seem to be room for veteran David Diehl to return to a starting role.

The Giants (5-2) have won three straight and four of the five games the starting line has consisted of Will Beatty and Chris Snee at guards, Kevin Boothe and Sean Locklear at tackles and David Baas at center. The moves were made when Diehl, the 10-year vet and a staple on both Giants' Super Bowl championship teams, went down with a sprained right knee.

After practice Thursday, Diehl declared himself 100 percent healthy, but knows his recovery doesn't guarantee playing time considering the rest of the line has played well without him.

``Of course I want to play,'' Diehl said. ``I want to do whatever I can to contribute. And of course, I'd like to be starting, but that might not be the case. I'm not going to sit and sulk about it. I'm going to help out any way I can. I can play guard, tackle, tight end. It doesn't matter to me. It's just terrific to feel good again.

``The team is playing well and that's the most important thing. I want to go out there and start, but if that's not going to happen, I'm going to support my teammates. Whether I start or not doesn't matter. The team always comes first.''

Diehl said Thursday brought a major accomplishment: full participation in practice.

``It means that my name can finally come off the injury list,'' Diehl said. ``Reading that every week drove me crazy.''

The Giants head to Dallas (3-3) on Sunday with a bit of revenge on their minds. The Cowboys won the season opener 24-17 at MetLife Stadium. In that game, the Giants allowed six sacks, a stat that the offensive line vividly recalls.

``We have watched that first game a lot of times and we haven't forgotten that,'' said Snee, the Giants' Pro Bowl guard. ``We knew that we had to do things to improve ourselves. We feel better about ourselves, but this team presents a major challenge, because they have a lot of elite guys across the board who can all get after the quarterback.''

Snee, who also started for both Super Bowl-winning teams, knows things improved immensely since the first meeting with the Cowboys.

``I think that first game, we came out flat and didn't have a lot of energy,'' Snee said. ``I like to think we've been doing better. We definitely need to do a better job than we did the last time we played them. We've definitely improved, but we can still improve more. I'm excited about the way we've played and I think there's more to come.''

The Giants received good news when Baas returned to full participation Thursday.

``I think he's ready to go,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said about Baas, who was hampered by a sore knee. ``It's always nice to see that injury list dwindle, that's for sure.''

Beatty is feeling more comfortable with his linemates.

``As we play more games together, we've grown together. I think we've shaken off the cobwebs and we're playing well together,'' said Beatty, a fourth-year tackle. ``It's not like a magic trick. We've worked hard to get going. We saw a lot of things we did wrong in that first game against Dallas. We've seen the things where we messed up.

``We still have a strong offensive line. We're all veteran players and having Diehl as our sixth man is a great option. It's not like we've brought in someone new and thrown them into the fire. We've all been here.''

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who sat out practice Thursday with an injured foot but vows to practice Friday, likes the way the line is blocking for him.

``They're really coming together and you can see the results,'' said Bradshaw, who is just 125 yards shy of passing Ron Johnson for sixth on the Giants' all-time rushing list. ``They're getting great movement off the ball and creating big holes. They're all helping each other and will give anything to help each other.''

NOTES: Bradshaw, who would not say which foot is bothering him, didn't think it would keep him out of action Sunday. ``I'll practice tomorrow (Friday). I'm not having as much pain with it as I had, but I didn't want to have a setback. I'll be 100 percent by Sunday.''. TE Martellus Bennett is not getting overly excited about returning to Dallas, where he played last year. ``I have nothing to show the Cowboys or anything like that,'' Bennett said. ``All my emotions are to this organization and to the things that we're trying to build. It's about relationships I'm trying to build with these guys here, so I have nothing to show them. I have nothing to show to anybody else outside this organization and myself.''

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

No Redskins receiver caught more than 45 passes last season, and the team lost their steadiest wideout of the last two years when Jamison Crowder signed with the Jets in free agency. 

Even with that, the Redskins coaching staff remains bullish on the team's pass catchers for this season, and second-year pro Trey Quinn is a big reason why.

Last season as a seventh-round rookie, Quinn made the team after showing great hands and a consistent ability to get separation from defenders. Listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, Quinn is a natural slot receiver in the NFL, but last year, that role very clearly belonged to Crowder. 

With Crowder gone, that role has changed.

"Trey Quinn has taken over the inside slot role," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said during minicamp. 
"He’s confident, he’s quick, he’s got strong hands, he’s physical, [and] he’s tough," 

The toughness will be key, as Quinn twice landed on the injured reserve list in his rookie season. He played in just three games last year but made an impact when he was on the field, grabbing nine catches and scoring a touchdown in Dallas. 

Looking at Crowder's production over the last four seasons, Quinn will get lots of opportunities.

In four seasons starting in 2015, Crowder played in 56 games and averaged 5.8 targets per game. He started in 28 games, and in those games, his targets doubled to 11.75 per start. That's a lot of action for the slot role in Gruden's offense. 

Looking at the Redskins potential quarterbacks, Quinn would be an asset for any of them. Case Keenum's game definitely works well with skilled slot WRs - like Stefon Diggs in Minnesota two seasons ago. If rookie Dwayne Haskins gets the starting job, he could certainly use a consistent target in the middle of the field, and Quinn should serve that role. Should Colt McCoy take over as Redskins starter, he and Quinn actually found success on the field last season, particularly against the Cowboys. 

In fact, Keenum is already speaking highly of the former Mr. Irrelevant. 

"Trey Quinn is going to be really special," Keenum said during minicamp. 

Health is never a guarantee. Quinn struggled to stay on the field as a rookie, but when he was on the field, he did not struggle. Redskins receivers coach Ike Hilliard is typically a man of few words, but even he praised Quinn this offseason and considers him a breakout candidate for the 2019 season.


Summer is the time for optimism in the NFL. Nobody has fumbled, players are mostly healthy, and nothing has gone wrong. 

With Quinn, there is plenty of optimism. More importantly, based on Crowder's targets, there are reasons to buy the excitement around Quinn. 

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

The decision for who will run the Wizards front office long-term is not imminent. In fact, it may not even be that close.

That's according to majority owner Ted Leonsis, who again displayed a surprising level of patience in his months-long process to replace Ernie Grunfeld, this time in an interview with the Washington Post. Leonsis says he does not expect to finalize the hire until after the start of free agency on June 30.

That effectively means that if they hire someone from outside the organization, that person will have little to no impact on the team this offseason. That may sound like hyperbole, but just look at the calendar.

The NBA Draft is on Thursday. The deadline on Jabari Parker's $20 million team option is June 29. Free agency will begin on June 30 and qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due that day as well.

By the second week of July, the Las Vegas Summer League will be in full swing. But the NBA offseason, at least the most important parts of it, will be pretty much over. 

The Wizards will have already made their draft pick(s) and held the press conference. They will have likely settled matters one way or another with restricted free agents Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis. And by then, the phone could be ringing off the hook with trade offers for Bradley Beal.

Leonsis, though, is continuing to take the longview, knowing no one will really care in a few years if he nails the hire and the franchise is quickly steered back onto the right course.

The drawn out timeline raises many questions and the most obvious one is what they are waiting for. The NBA Finals are over. If they were waiting to talk to someone involved in that series, they can do that now. 

Maybe he wants to see how interim president Tommy Sheppard fares in his first draft as the top executive. Maybe all of this, the draft and free agency process, is a test.

Maybe he plans to hire someone from outside the organization, but feels that installing them now wouldn't be good timing. Leonsis hasn't offered specifics in that regard.

At this point, it seems clear the best way to make this a productive offseason from a roster-building perspective is to promote Sheppard. He has been carrying out his vision and will do so through at least the start of free agency.

The Wizards won't have a ton of money to spend, but they will have some. Sheppard is going to be making the pitch and signing players to be part of the Wizards' future.

Someone else is just going to take it over after that? That doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Leonsis is okay with punting this offseason with his eyes on the bigger picture.

But also, consider the fact this isn't just a normal offseason. They aren't your typical team hitting the reset button. They have two All-Star players signed to large contracts, John Wall to a supermax deal and Bradley Beal to a max.

This offseason should be the start of laying the groundwork for life with Wall after his Achilles surgery. And if they have any hope of signing Beal to another contract, they need to show some signs of progress.

Late in the regular season, Beal was asked whether he would sign an extension with the Wizards and he said: "I wanna be able to know that we're going in the right direction in the future."

Beal said that in the context of a potential supermax contract worth approximately $194 million over four years. Now they can only offer him a smaller deal worth about $111 million over three years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday the Wizards' intention to offer Beal the $111 million contract this summer. But if he wasn't a guarantee to accept the larger deal, then we know how he feels about the lesser one.

Beal has expressed his loyalty to the Wizards in numerous, sometimes-extreme ways. He has said everything from wanting to retire in a Wizards jersey to wanting to die in a Wizards jersey. He told NBC Sports Washington in February he wouldn't request a trade.

But he wasn't blowing smoke about wanting to see the team improve. Every indication from those familiar with his plans suggests he meant what he said. He is entering his eighth season and has already made plenty of money. He wants to win.

With that in mind, they can't really afford to botch this offseason. And if they have hopes of signing him long-term, they probably can't tear everything down around him for a rebuild. 

That makes the patience Leonsis is showing so interesting. There are still ways to ultimately get this process right. But the longer they wait, the more they will potentially sacrifice.