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10 Training Camp Questions: Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

10 Training Camp Questions: Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

Ever see a Rorschach test? Those weird-looking blob paintings that really don't illustrate anything but rather allow for individual interpretation of what scene is unfolding?

That's a little like the Redskins 2019 wide receiver group. 

For the optimist, there are reasons to like each of the assumed six receivers projected to make the 53-man roster. Paul Richardson has elite speed and showed an ability to make plays last year in limited snaps. He just needs to stay healthy. The same thing for slot man Trey Quinn, a sleeper to catch a ton of passes in Jay Gruden's offense. There are two rookies with promise. Terry McLaurin has high-end speed while Kelvin Harmon is the big-bodied possession threat the Redskins offense has lacked. 

Continuing with the positive thoughts, it's entirely possible Josh Doctson, facing free agency after the season, will finally have the motivation he needs to deliver on his immense athletic gifts. This really could be his year. And speaking of athleticism, second-year pro Cam Sims looked great in minicamp and just needs opportunities to show why the Redskins kept him as an undrafted rookie from Alabama last year.

Hope you enjoyed the optimism. Here's a dose of cold water. 

In five years in the NFL, Richardson has played a complete 16-game season once. He's never had 50 catches in a season.

As a rookie, Quinn had more trips to the injured reserve (2)  list than he did touchdowns (1). He's certainly never had 50 catches in a season.

McLaurin was a four-year college player and gets as much attention for his ability on special teams as he does at wideout. That will help the Redskins team, but it might not help the offense explode. He never had a 50-catch season in college.

Kelvin Harmon is coming off by far the most impressive season of any Redskins WR, even if it happened at NC State. He grabbed 81 catches for 1,186 yards and seven TDs last season for the Wolfpack. And despite those impressive totals, he slipped into the sixth round of the draft because of questions about his speed and ability to separate in the NFL. 

In four years at Alabama, Cam Sims grabbed 41 passes. In four years. He's 6-foot-5 and loaded with athleticism, but still, he's an undrafted free agent that totaled 467 yards receiving in four years for the Crimson Tide. 

Then there is Josh Doctson. A first-round pick in 2016, Doctson is yet to deliver on his draft status. The Redskins elected not to pick up his fifth-year contract option and will likely let him walk next offseason. In three years in Washington, Doctson has never caught 50 passes in a season. 

With the Redskins wide receiver group, much like real life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

There is real talent, and there are real injury concerns. If Richardson and Quinn can stay healthy, both will be productive. Sims could produce highlight-reel plays. One of, or both, the rookies could emerge. Doctson could finally put it all together and have a breakout year. 

But the odds are against them. Health is paramount for this group, and that's unpredictable. Strong quarterback play would help too, and that's hardly a given for the Redskins.

Want to believe in this group? Go for it. There are plenty of reasons to like the Redskins collection of talent at WR. Until the production matches the potential, however, skeptics will see a position group with plenty of holes. 


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The issues the Redskins have had since Kirk Cousins left aren't lost on Chris Thompson

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The issues the Redskins have had since Kirk Cousins left aren't lost on Chris Thompson

Kirk Cousins started 48 consecutive games for the Redskins from 2015 to 2017. He then left the team following the 2017 season to sign with the Vikings.

Since his departure, Washington has used five different starters in only 23 contests. 

The franchise was once stable under center. Cousins wasn't ever one of the NFL's best, sure — sorry, but this story won't debate what his true value was or whether or not the Redskins should've kept him; hundreds of others were published during his tenure in D.C. that did just that — yet he was a durable and productive passer for the Burgundy and Gold.

What's not for debate is that the organization has struggled to find a replacement for Cousins who matches both of those qualities, and that fact is something Chris Thompson is aware of.

"It's a funny situation, I guess," Thompson said on Monday, except he wasn't really laughing. "There was a lot of stuff going on when he was here, being franchise-tagged twice when we all know he wanted to get a long-term deal done but we weren't able to. Since then, how many quarterbacks has it been?"

Well, Chris, to answer that sad question, there's been the aforementioned five starters plus an appearance from Dwayne Haskins. Those six guys include two acquired via trade (Alex Smith and Case Keenum), two signed in times of desperation (Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson), one draft pick (Haskins) and one holdover (Colt McCoy). 

No team is going to be successful with that much turnover at QB. At any level, in any league, on any planet. Thompson wishes it never started in the first place.

"I made it known back then when Kirk was here — we both talked about playing together for years," he said. "But things happen."

Obviously, the hope is that Haskins is the one who can bring a much-needed end to this shuffle. Until then, however, the Redskins will remain in limbo.

Thursday night's matchup in Minnesota, of course, will be the first time Cousins faces Washington. In Thompson's mind, it's a shame that Cousins is facing the Burgundy and Gold in the first place instead of still wearing those colors. Judging by what's gone down since, it's hard to disagree with him.


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Bill Callahan reveals plans to start Case Keenum at least until Redskins Week 10 bye

Bill Callahan reveals plans to start Case Keenum at least until Redskins Week 10 bye

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall but still seem reluctant to start the rookie quarterback. Case Keenum has started all but one game for the 1-6 Redskins this season, and interim head coach Bill Callahan seems intent on keeping it that way. 

"Case is still our quarterback, and that’s where we’re at currently, and I don’t see anything changing in the future," Callahan said Monday in an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast.

With a game coming Thursday night, it seems far fetched for the Redskins to go to Haskins on a condensed time frame this week. But after Thursday's game against the Vikings, Washington will have a 10-day break before a game in Buffalo. Could that be the spot to finally give Haskins the start? Not for Callahan.

"We believe in Case, what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing," Callahan said.

So the Redskins will go to the bye week without making Haskins the starter? 

"That’s the direction we’re heading in right now."

Keenum has hardly impressed this season. He has completed 66 percent of his passes and thrown nine touchdowns against just four interceptions, but five of those TDs came in the first two weeks. In Weeks 3 and 4 Keenum turned the ball over six times in six quarters before being benched for Haskins. The rookie did not impress in the second half against the Giants either, throwing three picks, before Colt McCoy was named the starter for Week 5 against New England.

After a loss to the Patriots, the Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden. Once Gruden was gone, the team went back to Keenum, and it sounds like that will be the plan for the foreseeable future. 

At 1-6 and with virtually all playoff hopes eliminated it would not be a surprise if Haskins gets the call after the bye week when the Jets come to FedEx Field. For now, however, that seems like anything but certain.