Preseason games might be boring for fans, but for a lot of players, the exhibitions offer real opportunity to impress coaches and scouts. Everything goes on tape in the NFL, and that matters for a lot of players.
The Redskins have plenty of guys that need to make a mark, but here are three to watch Thursday night against the Bengals.
- Cole Holcomb - It seems unlikely Shaun Dion Hamilton will play after injuring his chest last week against the Browns and missing both practices since that game. That likely means Holcomb starts next to veteran Jon Bostic in the middle of the Redskins defense, or even if Josh Harvey-Clemons gets the start, Holcomb should get a lot of playing time. He impressed last week in Cleveland and has been a favorite of coaches throughout training camp. If Holcomb proves he can rack up tackles and lead the defense against Joe Mixon and the Cincy offense, things could get real interesting in the middle of the Redskins defense.
- Darvin Kidsy - The second-year wideout from Texas Southern played well last week in Cleveland, leading the Redskins in catches and yards. This week in the home preseason opener, Kidsy might get even more playing time as starting slot receiver Trey Quinn could be held out with a thumb injury. Quinn missed two days of practice and last week's game against the Browns after hitting the thumb just prior to kickoff. That means more opportunities for Kidsy. When opportunity strikes in the NFL, players need to seize it. Gruden said he believes Kidsy can play in the slot, and there is not a real backup to Quinn on the roster. Maybe that could be Kidsy?
- Wes Martin - There's no sense in dumping on Ereck Flowers, and that's not the intention here. Flowers is trying to learn a new position on the fly, and that wasn't the plan. When the Redskins signed the Giants' former first-round pick, Washington intended to let Flowers play guard throughout offseason workouts, minicamp and training camp as a way to convert from tackle to guard. Instead, injuries to other players and the holdout of Trent Williams forced Flowers to play tackle until the last few weeks of camp. He's now competing a guard, but the results have been uneven, and that means rookie Wes Martin could take over the gig. On practice Tuesday in Ashburn, Martin worked in with the first team, subbing in for Flowers. That's the first time that has happened in 11-on-11 drills so far in August, and will definitely be something to watch against the Bengals.
The key with all of these players is an opportunity. That could come Thursday. It's up to them to make the most of it.
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A week ago, many Redskins fans were not familiar with the name Nate Orchard. But after No. 54's exceptional performance in the Redskins' Week 13 victory over Carolina, he's turned into a feel-good story in an otherwise tough season in Washington.
As many Redskins fans know by now, Orchard was signed just days before the Week 13 game. Due to injuries to linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, as well as Ryan Anderson being ejected, Orchard was forced to play meaningful snaps towards the end of Sunday's victory. He finished with a sack, recovering a fumble, and two tackles for loss in the win.
The former star on HBO's Hard Knocks while he was with the Cleveland Browns had worked out for 10 (!!) teams this season, but none chose to sign Orchard until Washington did last week. It makes sense why he was so emotional postgame.
So, how was Orchard spending his time before joining the Burgundy and Gold?
Orchard, who spent most Mondays and Tuesdays this season working out for NFL teams, was installing windows in Utah a few days during the week, according to 106.7 The Fan.
"A typical week for me, I would leave for a workout Monday, get back Tuesday night," Orchard said on 106.7's Grant and Danny. "Wednesday morning, I'd hit the gym early, then go and install windows from 7 [o'clock] until about 3 [o'clock], then come back to my family and rest up. [I would] repeat that Thursday and Friday."
Orchard admitted that he questioned whether he should continue to train and wait for a call, but says his wife encouraged him to stay motivated and continue to workout.
They say hard work pays off, and Orchard's whirlwind of a season thus far ended up being very rewarding for him this past Sunday.
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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick held a workout in November for a handful of NFL teams with the hopes of returning to the NFL, but the workout helped someone other than the former Super Bowl QB get a job.
Little known 24-year-old wide receiver Jordan Veasy, whom the Redskins signed to their practice squad this week, was on the receiving end of a 50-plus yard pass from Kaepernick at the workout that went viral on social media.
Veasy was undrafted out of the University of California in 2018 and has spent time with the Titans, Jaguars, Colts and Bills organizations, but has never played in an NFL game. He had previously met Kaepernick in 2016, when the two took a class in black representation in pop culture at Berkeley, according to the Washington Post.
"It helped," Veasy said to the Washington Post on the workout that led to him getting another chance in the NFL. "That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of it. Just being a part of the history of it, and I knew it was going to help me."
After being released by the Bills, Veasy had been training in his hometown of Gadsden, Ala., just two hours away from Atlanta, where the workout was held. It was an easy drive for Veasy, who figured that he might as well run routes in front of scouts when given the opportunity.
Just a week or so after the workout, the Cleveland Browns brought him to town, but Veasy left unsigned. He had not heard from any NFL teams since then until the Redskins called this week, according to the Post.
While Kaepernick remains without a job, at least someone else was able to benefit from the workout.
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