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After latest preseason news, it's now time to lower early expectations for Redskins rookies

After latest preseason news, it's now time to lower early expectations for Redskins rookies

With reports coming out that the NFL is planning to cancel the first and fourth games of its 2020 preseason, it's now officially, and unfortunately, time for Redskins fans to lower their expectations for the team's rookies.

That's not a fun thing to do, especially when so much of life is not fun these days and when Washington's group of newcomers make up Ron Rivera's first-ever draft class. But it's also probably the right thing to do, too.

Now, if you think that Chase Young is still going to be really impactful right away whether he gets two preseason contests, four preseason contests or negative seven preseason contests, you won't get too much argument there. He likely wouldn't have played much in the exhibition matchups anyway, and his stratospheric talent will make up for the lost August action. 


But there should be some concern for how the schedule change will affect the rest of the first-year pros.

Antonio Gibson is being touted as a multi-faceted offensive weapon, and he could've really used all four summer games to get as comfortable as possible in the backfield, in the slot and on the outside.

Then there's Antonio Gandy-Golden, whose transition to the league from Liberty just got even more difficult. It could now take him even more time to find his way into the rotation at receiver. 


How about Saahdiq Charles? The fourth-round left tackle is someone that the Burgundy and Gold are very intrigued by, but will fewer snaps hurt Charles in their eyes when it comes to choosing between him and Cornelius Lucas to start in Week 1? It's entirely possible. 

As for the ones furthest down the draft board — Khaleke Hudson, Keith Ismael, Kamren Curl and James Smith-Williams — they'll feel this the most, because they would've been the ones who would've been on the field the most. That crew, in addition to undrafted free agents like Thaddeus Moss, could see their careers altered thanks to this latest consequence of the pandemic.

The one positive part of this news is that all 32 NFL teams can replace the pair of tilts with more practice. The Redskins, with their new regime, stand to benefit from that more than most.

And yes, Gibson, Gandy-Golden, Charles and the rest of the rookies all still possess traits and potential worth getting excited about, but those traits and that potential may reveal themselves later in 2020 due to this setback.

While fans may be relieved to have less preseason to take in, that relief will dissipate if it harms their favorite roster's fortunes come September. 


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Derrius Guice's career in Washington consisted of much more promise than production

Derrius Guice's career in Washington consisted of much more promise than production

A little more than a week ago, running backs coach Randy Jordan was asked for his opinion on where Derrius Guice was in his career. Jordan's response was creative and also completely apt.

"I always tell him this," Jordan said. "'The only thing you did this past year is you were an appetizer. I want the whole steak. I want the whole lobster. I want the whole thing.’"

But after an out-of-nowhere Friday night — in which it was revealed Guice is facing domestic violence charges, news that was shortly followed by the Washington Football Team cutting him — it's now clear that Jordan, along with everyone else within the organization or who supports it, will never get the whole thing from the 23-year-old.

And that is, from a football perspective, what will define Guice's career in Washington: All promise, no production.

For the most part, injuries are what prevented the 2018 second-rounder from building on his spectacular LSU career. Constant, constant injuries.

In his first preseason contest, Guice's best carry against the Patriots — the one that showed both surprising speed and brute power — was also the last of his entire year. What was originally thought to be a sprained MCL turned out to be a torn ACL. There would be no rookie campaign for No. 29.

13 months later, Guice made his true NFL debut in Philly, where he promptly suffered a torn meniscus on one of his 10 rushing attempts. He returned to the injured reserve, a stint that ended up spanning eight games.


Guice came back yet again, however, and finally began to deliver. He turned a short screen pass into a 45-yard score versus the Jets and then took over a matchup in Carolina with 129 yards and two touchdowns. Those kinds of feats were what everyone had been craving.

But a week later, he had to leave Washington's meeting with the Packers because of a sprained MCL. The team put him on I.R. again soon after, which ended his 2019 and gave him the same amount of trips to that list as he had trips to the end zone.

2020, though, was supposed to be his legitimate breakthrough. He was declared ready to go just as camp began, and this time, people knew what he was capable of when right. As the franchise looked to develop a young core, Guice figured to be a major part of that effort.

Now, suddenly and shockingly, he's gone. Legally, there's still a ways to go in determining his guilt (his attorney has denied all allegations) yet Ron Rivera didn't feel the need to wait or have to wait. Guice won't be a part of his rebuild.

Some will fairly point to Guice's NFL numbers up to this point — five appearances, 245 rushing yards and three total TDs — and wonder why such a stir is being made over his release. Those are stats an average running back can compile in September, after all.

Well, the reason is that Guice was expected, and skilled enough, to do so much more. The glimpses were about to become the norm. The fan favorite was approaching his peak.

That peak obviously won't come with Washington anymore. And at this point, who knows if it will ever come, really. 


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Culture change? Bruce Allen signed Reuben Foster; Ron Rivera cut Derrius Guice

Culture change? Bruce Allen signed Reuben Foster; Ron Rivera cut Derrius Guice

About 20 months ago the Washington Football Team made a roster move that shocked much of the country and sparked outrage among many in the NFL. 

The move?

Former team president Bruce Allen's decision to claim linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers in late November 2018. San Francisco released Foster a few days prior following his second domestic violence arrest in less than a calendar year. The 49ers invested a lot in Foster, including a first-round pick in 2017, but the team said enough was enough and cut him. 

No other NFL team even put a waiver claim in for Foster.

Except Washington. 

A firestorm erupted then around Allen's decision to claim Foster and the NFL quickly put the linebacker on the Commissioner's Exempt list, keeping him off the playing field and the practice field.


Still, Washington made clear that the priority was acquiring a football player with high-end potential over the public relations nightmare of signing a player fresh out of jail. 

It's important to note that Foster was eventually cleared of all charges. The NFL did not even suspend him. But at the time Washington signed him the team had no way of definitively knowing that would be the case. Foster still hasn't played in Washington after a devastating knee injury last year and is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Much has changed since that decision in late November 2018, starting with the ouster of Allen following the lousy 2019 season. 

Ron Rivera took over the organization in January 2020 with a pledge to change the culture of the franchise. 

Back then much of the culture change was believed to be about winning football games, as the team has struggled to do that for the better part of two decades. In the months since, the scope of what needs to change grew far broader as a Washington Post report last month alleged a culture of sexual harassment and verbal abuse towards 15 women that formerly worked for the team. It was shameful behavior and led to the firing of two personnel executives and the resignation of the former team broadcaster. 

Still, the accusations linger.

It's a stain on the organization, and maybe that will wash away over time, but not immediately. 


Then Friday night happens, when third-year running back Derrius Guice turns himself into Loudon County Police on domestic violence charges.

Rivera was thrust into the exact situation he has pledged to change. And the head coach released the running back. Post haste. 

Let's not make anybody a hero here.

Guice has played five games in two seasons. He's had multiple surgeries since coming into the NFL in 2018 on both of his knees. Releasing a player with Guice's potential is always a tough call, but releasing a player with Guice's actual on-field resume is not particularly difficult. He couldn't stay on the field. 

But it's also important not to diminish Rivera's swift action, and more importantly, point out how different the behavior is than what happened in Washington under Allen.

Consider that Allen claimed and signed Foster after his second domestic violence arrest while Rivera almost immediately released Guice on similar charges. 

That says a lot. 

Guice's attorney claims the Washington Football Team acted "inexplicably" in their decision to cut his client without an internal investigation. He might even be right. 

If it's proved Guice did nothing wrong and the charges are false, he will probably get another look with another NFL team. He oozes talent and skill, even if the injury history is scary. 

But Washington wasn't in a position to wait, to perform an internal investigation, to sit through another public relations nightmare. 

Washington was the only team that wanted Foster. Washington is the team that just lost three employees amid sexual harassment allegations. 

That's the Washington team Rivera came to fix. His action was swift, perhaps even harsh, but fixing something that is broken doesn't come easy. 

That's the thing about changing a culture. It requires actual change. Actions. Not words. 

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