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With Case Keenum and Landon Collins on the roster, what's next for the Redskins?

With Case Keenum and Landon Collins on the roster, what's next for the Redskins?

The Redskins needed to add a starting caliber safety. They signed maybe the best young safety on the free agent market in Landon Collins

The Redskins needed to add a veteran quarterback. They traded for Case Keenum, two years removed from an NFC Championship game appearance. 

Collins looks like a home run signing for Washington. The 'Skins had to add a safety and did so without burying their salary cap for 2019. The contract has outs after two and three years as well, and Collins has shown he can be an elite player. His All Pro 2016 season, at just 22 years old, is proof. 

The trade for Keenum is a double, but the tag at second was pretty close. He's not a great quarterback, but he's a capable starter. More importantly, bringing in Keenum, along with veteran Colt McCoy, should mean the Redskins don't end up in the sort of desperate state that led to Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson getting starts late in the 2018 season.

Both deals addressed needs for the Redskins, which is good. The bad news is plenty of needs still exist. 

The Redskins lost outside linebacker Preston Smith and wide receiver Jamison Crowder in free agency, and both players started for the last few seasons in D.C.

Replacing them won't come cheap, but they have to be replaced. 

There's some thought third-year pro Ryan Anderson is poised for a breakout season. Asked about expectations for Anderson, VP of player personnel Doug Williams said, "That's up to Ryan."

A few years ago, a similarly strong but unproven third-year pass rusher had a breakout season in Washington. His name was Trent Murphy, and after six combined sacks in 2014 and 2015, he popped for nine sacks in 2016. Anderson has just two sacks through two seasons, but with Smith gone, this would be a great time for the former Alabama star to break out. 

The 2019 NFL Draft also has a lot of edge rushing potential, both in the first round and in the later rounds. Expect the Redskins to add at least one outside linebacker in the draft, maybe more, and that could be as early as the 15th pick. 

Receiver might be different. 

The Redskins likely need help in free agency and the draft.

Beyond Crowder, Washington also lost Maurice Harris, who signed a deal with the New England Patriots. Michael Floyd seems unlikely to be back either. 

Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, Jehu Chesson and Cam Sims are the only returning wideouts that played in 2019, and frankly, that group is underwhelming. 

Asked if the Redskins needed to address receiver now, Gruden replied with his usual humor, "Maybe."

The coach continued: "We’ll have to wait and see who’s out there and go from there. We like to add one more here but there's a lot of good receivers in the draft."

During the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Gruden and Williams talked about the need for a big receiver being added to the group. Sources have told NBC Sports Washington that the team will also consider trades leading up to the draft as a means to add a wideout.

No matter what happens, Washington needs to bring in more pass catchers. The team could use both an experienced veteran and a dynamic rookie. Gruden was telling the truth about the pass catching group in this year's draft, there are many intriguing options brimming with potential.

Potential isn't enough for the Washington receiving group in 2019. They also need performance. 

Left guard remains a big need, but less so than edge rusher and receiver. Expect the Redskins to address all three in some capacity, and quite possibly, in that order. 

With Golden Tate signed by the Giants, there isn't much in the way of name recognition among the remaining WR free agents. Edge rusher is different, with guys like Justin Houston available, but the price tag for sack guys is inherently larger than catch guys. 

The second wave of free agency offers opportunity for teams to find value. But the rules of life hold just as true in football: More often than not, you get what you pay for. 


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Ex-Redskin Donte Whitner unloads on Jay Gruden and the team's lack of accountability

Ex-Redskin Donte Whitner unloads on Jay Gruden and the team's lack of accountability

Donte Whitner played just 11 games with the Redskins in 2016, but apparently, those 11 games taught him plenty about the organization. On Friday, he shared what he observed with 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies.

In the 15-minute radio interview, the now-analyst unloaded on the Burgundy and Gold. 

Host Eric Bickel set Whitner up with a fairly standard question, asking the former safety, "Can you believe where they are as a franchise at this point?"

"It's not hard to understand why they are where they are right now," he answered, before going after Jay Gruden, some assistant coaches, Josh Norman and the general lack of accountability around the Redskins.

According to Whitner, he lost "all respect" for Gruden late in 2016 during a game against the Bears. Whitner went down with an injury and he later heard from some of his teammates that Gruden allegedly said, "Let's get him up so we can get this game over with."

"That shows that you have no respect for your players," Whitner told the Junkies.

"For you to make that comment, and I know that you made it, there's a reason that you're fired," he continued. "There's a reason that your players quit on you. Because you don't know how to be a people's person and how to coach and lead men. There's guys that know how to lead men and there's guys that don't know how to lead men. He should be a coordinator."

Whitner is certainly entitled to his opinion, but just for context, Chris Thompson broke down the day before Gruden was let go because of how much he liked and supported him. That's just to show that not everyone feels like Gruden is a disrespectful guy worth quitting on.

Whitner also doesn't believe in Greg Manusky as a defensive coordinator and really disliked Perry Fewell, who was leading the DBs when Whitner was in Washington. Overall, he believes there isn't enough knowledge on the staff and he took issue with how they're getting the jobs.

"These guys are just friends of the coaches," he said. "A lot of coaches are just hiring their friends. They're not hiring the best teachers."

The last person Whitner targeted was Norman. While on with the Junkies, Whitner recounted one play versus the Panthers where he and Norman botched a coverage and he felt like No. 24 wrongly blamed him for it. That happened often, per Whitner.

"Josh Norman was never accountable," Whitner said.

If you're wondering how a guy who only spent a few months with the franchise can feel so confident about making these kinds of major judgments, you're probably not alone. However, no matter how you feel about his statements, he did offer a piece of advice that would probably serve the Redskins, or any team anywhere, well.

"Everybody has to be accountable," Whitner concluded. "We don't care if you're getting paid $80 million and we don't care if you're getting paid $250,000. Everybody should be accountable."


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Is there any way the Redskins can beat the 49ers? Here's the blueprint

Is there any way the Redskins can beat the 49ers? Here's the blueprint

On pace for an 0-16 year and statistically one of the worst teams ever through five games, the 2019 Miami Dolphins might be the worst team in NFL history. And the Redskins barely beat them. 

Turning the page to Sunday, Washington will face an undefeated 49ers team that excels at running the football on offense and getting after the quarterback on defense. San Francisco has won four of their games by double digits, and two of their victories came by 20+ points. The Redskins have one win by one point against Miami, and then four losses by double digits. 

By all logic and reason, the Redskins won't beat the 49ers. Vegas installed San Fran as a double-digit favorite even though they're on the East Coast for an early start. So, how can the Redskins win? Here's a blueprint. 

  1. Turn turnovers into scores - Usually a team with the plus/minus ratio of the 49ers doesn't have an undeafeted record. San Francisco is only +2 in turnovers, and in their last three games, the Niners have given up the ball seven times. The problem is the opposition isn't converting on those free possessions. In their last three games, despite seven turnovers, the Niners are giving up just 10 points-per-game. Jimmy Garapolo has five interceptions and four fumbles in five games. He's going to turn the ball over. What Washington's offense has to do is turn interceptions or fumbles into touchdowns. Touchdowns, not field goals. 
  2. Trust in Terry - If there's one area the 49ers defense is vulnerable, it's in the secondary. Sure interim Redskins coach Bill Callahan wants to commit to running the football, and that makes sense, but Washington should look to feed rookie WR Terry McLaurin early and often. In their closest game this year, a 24-20 victory over the Steelers, Pittsburgh WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dionate Johnson each got deep for long touchdown plays. If Callahan and offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell study that Steelers tape, and it's a good guess they have, deep shots to McLaurin need to be a big part of this gameplan. Callahan even hinted as much in a conversation with NBC Sports Washington, "Every game is different. This game coming up may be different than last week. We may take certain shots on certain downs and distances, and change our tendencies as we go forward. That's always fluid. I think that you are gameplan specific based on your opponent. Obviously, you want to take advantage of the things you can do."
  3. Muck it up - In the first half against the New England Patriots, the Redskins defense showed up in a big way. Washington's defense sacked Tom Brady three times and generally suffocated the Patriots offense. The effort didn't hold up in the second half, but Callahan has made clear that his team is focused on playing four full quarters. The weather could be bad Sunday, and maybe that will help too. The Redskins want this game to be ugly, and much of that will depend on their defensive line showing up strong. 

It's a long shot, but strange things happen in the NFL. The Redskins need big plays on offense and when turnovers do arrive, Washington needs to capitalize.