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Fantasy owners might drool when they hear what Jay Gruden said about Derrius Guice

Fantasy owners might drool when they hear what Jay Gruden said about Derrius Guice

The Redskins offense plans to "go through" second-year running back Derrius Guice. Head coach Jay Gruden said as much earlier this week, and when asked for more clarity on the situation between Guice and veteran RB Adrian Peterson, Gruden did not back off.

"The big thing is we get somebody ready for the mother load and everybody else is ready for whatever else they can get," the coach said.

The mother load. Wow. 

Gruden's comments came when asked what Peterson's role would be in the offense if Guice is going to see the bulk of the carries. The coach explained that while the organization really appreciates Peterson's skillset and role, at least early on this year, it's Guice's opportunity. In fact, Gruden provided a quick history lesson on last year, when the plan was to roll with Guice until a preseason knee injury put him on the shelf and brought Peterson to Washington midway through August.

"[Guice] was our second-round pick. Had he not got hurt, we wouldn't know Adrian. Fortunately, we got to know Adrian and he's a great player for us," Gruden said Wednesday. "The issue is you’ve got one ball and if you're going to hand the ball off 25 times a game, only so many carries can go around." 

Last year in the season opener, Peterson rushed the ball 26 times for 96 yards as the Redskins bludgeoned the Cardinals into the ground. This year, it sounds like Guice will be that hammer instead of Peterson. 

"I think you have to start with the first back and you start the game on offense, you start the game with Derrius Guice. From there, we'll see where it goes. I'm anxious to see him play," Gruden said. "He's shown us that he's full go. He's had a good training camp. He's had good practices. He's into it mentally. He can handle the passing game, the protections and obviously he can handle the running game."

The coach was also clear that things can change, and frankly, things probably will change. 

"That can change next week, it can change the week after, but initially we have to have a plan and go with it."

The Redskins plan for now is clear: Run Derrius Guice early and often. The path to wins for Washington is good defensive play and a strong run game. Gruden has said multiple times this offseason that he's comfortable winning games with low scores like 20-17 or 13-10. Guice would be a big part of that. 

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The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

Jamison Crowder's final season with the Redskins was injury-shortened and disappointing, so when the team ultimately let him leave and sign a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Jets, there wasn't much pushback.

When Crowder takes the field this Sunday for the Washington-New York matchup, however, plenty of people on the home side will likely wish the receiver was doing so in Burgundy and Gold as opposed to Gotham Green.

The fifth-year pro has 48 catches in 2019 so far, which is 16 more than the Redskins' top target, Terry McLaurin, has hauled in. And if you want to compare Crowder to Trey Quinn, the guy who mans the slot now that Crowder's gone, Crowder has twice as many catches and nearly 300 more yards (486 to 189) than his replacement.

"Anytime we need a big play, he comes up with it," Jets coach Adam Gase said this week. "He's been very quarterback friendly."

Crowder will never be someone who generates a ton of game-changing plays — his yards-per-catch this year is 10.1 and his career average is 11.6 — but quarterback friendly is a perfect way to describe his game and it's a valuable quality, too.

His catch rate, for example, is 73.8-percent, a number that reflects how well he gets open and how much trust his signal callers have in him.

For an offense like Washington's, a unit that hasn't found the end zone in a month, one that is incapable of sustaining drives and one that's devoid of any dangerous wideouts beyond McLaurin, Crowder would make an enormous difference.

"Jamison, when he was here, was productive, outstanding," Bill Callahan told reporters on Thursday. 

Of course, the Redskins didn't just carelessly allow Crowder to depart without having a plan in place to fill in for him. They didn't want to compensate him at that price level and instead hoped a younger draft pick would mitigate the loss, which is what organizations do all the time.

Their plan, unfortunately, just hasn't succeeded.

Jay Gruden and Ike Hilliard were supremely optimistic in Quinn's ability to step up in his second campaign and become a legit threat, and while Callahan praised Quinn's versatility and dependability on Thursday, he just hasn't emerged as any kind of difference maker.

Quinn is far from the only pass catcher who's faltering for the Redskins, sure, but his catch rate is just 58.5-percent despite the fact that he's not running many deep routes. Coaches love his reliable hands, yet those hands aren't translating into enough completions.

Crowder likely won't have that issue in his return to FedEx Field in Week 11, by the way. Greg Manusky's defense allows an NFL-high 78.9-percent completion rate to slot receivers, and No. 82 is coming in off of two strong efforts.

That means you can expect Crowder to stand out versus his old teammates, while also reminding the franchise as a whole of a very simple truth: You get what you pay for. Washington chose not to pay for Crowder, and now, their slogging offense is largely paying for that choice.

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It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

The Redskins made Dwayne Haskins the third quarterback taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft when Washington selected the former Ohio State star 15th overall. 

So far, he's only got one start, and the numbers were pedestrian. He completed 68 percent of his passes with no touchdowns or interceptions though he ended up with just 144 pass yards. The Redskins didn't give Haskins many chances to throw the ball downfield, and besides that, there was a fierce wind blowing in Buffalo that day which hampered both offenses. 

That said, it's time to let Haskins take some chances. A quick glance around the NFL shows that Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones are both averaging more than 220 pass yards-per-game, but so is Gardner Minshew, the only other rookie QB with at least two starts.

Here's a look at those three quarterbacks numbers so far this year:

  • Kyler Murray (1st overall) | 64 percent completion, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, 255 pass yards-per-game | 3-6-1 in 10 starts
  • Daniel Jones (6th overall) | 63 percent completion, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 220 pass yards-per-game | 2-6 in 8 starts
  • Gardner Minshew (178th overall) | 61 percent completion, 13 TDs, 4 INTs, 254 pass yards-per-game | 4-4 in 8 starts

Based on the data, the numbers actually look fairly similar. All three rookie passers with significant experience are able to move the ball and score TDs, and none are throwing that many interceptions. 

For Haskins, it's tough to extrapolate too much from his first two appearances. He was bad in both, throwing four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts. But both games were relief appearances  - against the Giants and the Vikings - and came on the road with his team trailing. 

Sunday's contest against the Jets should look quite different. It's Haskins' first-ever start at FedEx Field, his second start of the year, and against a Jets defense that allowed Jones to throw more than 300 yards with four TDs last week. 

Jones, Minshew and Murray all impressed in their second start of the season:

  • Kyler Murray (Week 2 loss @ Baltimore) - 25 of 40 for 62.5 percent | 0 TDs 0 INTs | 349 pass yards
  • Daniel Jones (Week 4 win vs Redskins) - 23 of 31 for 74 percent | 1 TD 2 INTs | 225 yards
  • Gardner Minshew ( Week 3 win vs Titans)  - 20 of 30 for 66.6 percent | 2 TDs 0 INTs | 204 yds

Right or wrong, the bar has been set low for Haskins amid early season reports he was having trouble learning the offense and getting coaches trust. Haskins denied any of that, but on Sunday, it won't matter.

By the Jets game, Haskins will have been the Redskins QB1 for more than three weeks. He's talked about his growth in the offense and the coaches have too. This will be his second start and he's had two weeks to prepare for the New York defense.  

It's time for Haskins to put up some numbers, at least on par with what other rookie passers have done so far this year. The young passer seems ready for the moment, he just needs to seize it. 

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