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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