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History with Redskins might not help Gregg Williams if D-coordinator job opens up

History with Redskins might not help Gregg Williams if D-coordinator job opens up

Despite going 5-3 in the season's final eight games as interim head coach, the Browns decided not to keep Gregg Williams on in that role for the 2019 season. 

In fact, Cleveland went with one of Williams' assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, instead of retaining Williams. 

So Williams will again be available for employment. Does that mean he could be a fit for Washington?

There are a million things to consider here.

First and foremost, the Redskins still have not announced any staff changes, including defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. It's widely believed Manusky will be fired, but until it actually happens, all of this is just speculation. 

Williams could also be a hot commodity as a defensive coordinator.

Or at least, he should be.

During the 2018 edition of HBO's Hard Knocks training camp show, Williams suggested he's had more than ten head coaching job offers, including multiple where he "didn’t even have to interview, just show up and sign the contract."

While that's probably hyperbole, Williams is a known defensive commodity in the NFL. He gets teams to play hard, tenacious defense and does not allow for chicanery on or off the field.

Some of that reputation isn't so good though. Everyone knows about Williams' role with the Saints during Bounty Gate, and that he was out of the league three seasons following an indefinite suspension. 

But what some Redskins fans seem to be forgetting is how Williams' tenure ended in Washington.

He served as Redskins defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2007 during Joe Gibbs second run with the organization. There were some good defenses during that era, and many considered Williams the heir apparent to Gibbs. There were also instances where Williams' abrasive style showed up on the sideline.

He had a few spots where he showed up Gibbs, an icon with the team. The most memorable example was when Williams elected to line up 10 players on defense in the first game after Sean Taylor's tragic passing.

While it was a nice tribute, Williams never told Gibbs that it was the plan, and it became obvious after the game that the Hall of Famer didn't know. 

Williams thought and expected he would get the head coaching job when Gibbs retired in 2007. Instead, the club let Williams walk and hired Jim Zorn. To run Williams' defense, the team promoted his lietuenant Greg Blache. 

It didn't end well back then between Williams and the Redskins. 

That might not matter now, 11 years later, but it is worth remembering. 

Jay Gruden will be the Redskins' head coach in 2019. That's the one thing that seems certain about the Washington coaching staff. Players love Gruden, and he has built the reputation as a player's coach. Some would argue he could use a bad cop to balance his good cop attitude.

Williams would absolutely come in and play the bad cop role. 

In the NFL, like life, bridges get burned. It happens.

In Ashburn, can they get rebuilt?

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Jay Gruden wants to see a statement game from Case Keenum against the Falcons

Jay Gruden wants to see a statement game from Case Keenum against the Falcons

ATLANTA -- Through two games in the preseason Redskins head coach Jay Gruden can't be particularly impressed with his team. Thursday night could change that.

When the Redskins face the Falcons in the third and most important preseason game, Gruden could play his starters as much as the whole first half. In that time, there's plenty he wants to see from his team.

  1. No injuries - It might be redundant to put that at the top of each preseason article, but there is nothing more important for a coaching staff than to escape the meaningless preseason action without major injuries. It's football, guys are going to get banged up, but Washington cannot afford to lose any starters or key reserves in August action. Superstitious or not, Gruden is knocking on wood and lighting candles before his team takes the field in Atlanta.
  2. Making a case - With Colt McCoy out for an unknown period of time, Case Keenum is the presumed starting quarterback for the Redskins when the real action starts Week 1 in Philadelphia. With that in mind, it would be nice to see some offensive efficiency from Keenum. Against the Bengals last week, Keenum started hot but was undone by a few penalties that backed the Redskins up and away from the red zone. Keenum doesn't have a stranglehold on this job either, so it would be a wise move to prove to the coaching staff and Redskins fans that he should be on the field in Philly.
  3. Making a push - After Keenum comes rookie Dwayne Haskins. Through two games he hasn't been terrific, but he's shown flashes of being terrific. The 55-yard touchdown pass he threw last week to Robert Davis is the prettiest downfield toss from a Redskins QB in at least a year, and nobody questions the arm talent or potential of the former Ohio State star. While it seems unlikely Haskins will push for the starting job, with McCoy out, if Keenum struggles and Haskins shines, things could get interesting. It certainly bears watching if Haskins gets time with the first team on the field. 
  4. All the horses - Offensively the Redskins strength should be running the football, and for the first time in over a year, Derrius Guice should take the field in Burgundy and Gold. Gruden has been clear that he just wants to get Guice a few touches before the real action starts in about two weeks, and it makes sense as the charismatic running back is about a year removed from ACL surgery. Redskins fans should expect less than five carries from Guice, but it will be highly valuable to see him take on contact again. Guice, along with veterans Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, could form a formidable backfield. 
  5. Keep it up - The starting defense didn't play much against the Bengals, but outside of some dumb penalties, that unit looked very good. The strength of the defense comes up front along the line, and that will get tested against a good Falcons offense. If the Redskins have real designs on a Top 10 defense, they need to prove it against Atlanta. These two teams met Week 9 last year, before Alex Smith was hurt and when the Redskins still looked like a playoff team. The Falcons scored 38 points and ran up nearly 500 yards of total offense in a runaway win at FedEx Field. Top 10 defenses don't give up 500 yards. 

Extra point - The Redskins special teams have been bad through two preseason games. Time to look better, especially with former special teams coach Ben Kotwica now on the Falcons sideline. 

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PROfiles Episode 2: Dwayne Haskins shines in minicamp, ready to compete for starting QB role

PROfiles Episode 2: Dwayne Haskins shines in minicamp, ready to compete for starting QB role

This is the second episode of a three-part series. You can watch the first episode, remembering when Haskins fell to the Redskins in the 2019 NFL Draft, here.

The Redskins are less than three weeks away from traveling to Philadelphia to kick off their regular season on Sept. 8, but head coach Jay Gruden has yet to name a starting quarterback.

The reasons for that vary depending on who you ask. Veteran Case Keenum is the favorite to win the job, especially with recent injury developments to Colt McCoy.

The Redskins selected the Ohio State product No. 15 overall in this year's draft with the expectation Haskins would compete for the starting job but ultimately start the season on the bench. Now, he must be considered to start.

In the second episode of NBC Sports Washington's PROfiles: Dwayne Haskins, chronicling the signal-callers first offseason and training camp with the team, Haskins lights it up at minicamp, having many media members wonder if the rookie could be thrown into the fire quicker than initially thought.

During minicamp, head coach Jay Gruden said there would be an open competition for the job, including Haskins.

At the start of the episode, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay said that "he should look good" in minicamp, and expected him to look good until he saw Haskins face a true NFL defense later on in the summer at training camp.

NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell agreed with Finlay, and said that Haskins must not take any time off and continue to work every day during the time in between minicamp and training camp in order to best position himself to win the job. He also said that the Redskins don't need to rush Haskins, but "if he's the best quarterback out there, why not play him?"

"I'm not really worried about starting Week 1," Haskins said at minicamp. "I just want to be ready to play Week 1, whether that's this year, next year, or whenever my time may come. I just want to make sure that when I do play, I don't look bad." 

While Gruden acknowledged during minicamp that Haskins still has a long way to go, he was impressed with his rookie QB, saying he was pleased with where Haskins was at in terms of development and learning the system.

Whether Haskins does win the starting job or not, there are plenty of reasons for the Redskins to have high hopes in their young QB.

"I feel like the sky is the limit," Haskins said.

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