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Name change dominates, but other major questions remain for Washington football team

Name change dominates, but other major questions remain for Washington football team

After more than 80 years of Redskins football the Washington football club announced Monday that the team will retire the nickname. It's a massive story. It's a global story. 

But as the name story dominates the conversation around the Washington club, there are still other huge stories floating around the organization, all of which will make a more significant impact to the actual football field.

RELATED: NAME CHANGE EXPECTED TO BE BUTTONED UP BY TRAINING CAMP, PER REPORT

How about a refresher?

  • Ownership changes - Forty percent of the Washington team is available for sale. That's a huge, huge story, and in any other year it would be the biggest story in the NFL. Who will buy that portion of the team? Why do the current minority owners want out? What's the valuation of the team? It's not that uncommon for limited partners to sell; those types of transactions happen. But this feels different and there have been reports of other issues at play. Again, this is a HUGE story.
  • Executives fired - Washington fired two pro personnel executives over the weekend, and there's been almost no discussion about the moves and no reason given for the moves. Front office changes usually happen one of two times: after the season or after the draft. Not in early July a few weeks before training camp. If this happened to the Eagles or the Browns or the Seahawks, it would be a major story.
  • Franchise tag - It's understandable if Washington's fans never want to hear about the franchise tag again after the Kirk Cousins saga/fiasco that encapsulated the franchise for multiple seasons. But, here we are. Brandon Scherff, the 2015 first-round pick, will play the 2020 year on the tag after neither side got close to a long-term deal. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking over the world and NFL revenues for 2020 in question, it makes sense the team didn't offer a mega contract to the three-time Pro Bowl right guard. There could be more here, however, as Scherff has dealt with injuries in each of the past three seasons and there is some debate around the league how much interior linemen should make. The deadline for a new deal for Scherff expires on Wednesday, and don't expect anything to happen. In a normal offseason, this would be the team's biggest story, but in 2020, this is barely a blip on the radar.

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  • That wide receiver that got arrested - Remember Cody Lattimer, the receiver the Redskins signed as a free agent to provide depth and maybe compete to start opposite Terry McLaurin? Remember he was arrested in May on multiple charges that included assault and weapons? Amid the name change and the ownership changes, the Lattimer story has gone completely forgotten. At some point, it will need to be addressed.
  • A million injuries - This might seem hard to remember but there was a time when Redskins reporters wrote stories about football. It used to happen. Washington has a number of players coming back from injuries, and some are potential stars. How is Derrius Guice's repaired knee? Can Reuben Foster play this year? Bryce Love? Alex Smith? If the Redskins actually get to training camp, those questions will need answers. 
  • So much more - The Redskins have a new head coach, new offensive and defensive coordinators and an almost entirely new coaching staff. Normally, that's the story of the offseason. In 2020, it seems like Ron Rivera has been in charge of Washington for five years. In fact, it's been about six months. 
  • Don't forget - There's a global pandemic and who knows if football actually gets played. 

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Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants."

That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic, and that they'd consult with local health officials.

This announcement comes two weeks after Packers CEO Mark Murphy had said that any Packers home games this year would include no more than 10,000-12,000 spectators, if any fans were allowed at all.

All other public areas at Lambeau Field, including parking lots, the pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame, will be closed during the home games that have no fans. The Titletown area surrounding Lambeau Field will remain open to the public, but no team-run, game-day activities will be planned.

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Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

As the Washington Football Team continues to ramp things up in training camp, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to officially name the team's starting quarterback.

However, for Team 980 radio host Kevin Sheehan, there's only one direction the team should go at the position.

"If he doesn't start September 13th against the Eagles, it's a major indictment on Dwayne Haskins," Sheehan said Thursday on Washington Talk & Friends.

In the QB room, there's Haskins, a first-round pick from a year ago that many expect to be the eventual starter. But Washington did trade this offseason for Kyle Allen, who has spent the past two seasons under Rivera and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera said that if there was no normal offseason program due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen would have a "leg up" on Haskins entering camp. 

Despite all that has transpired the past several months, Sheehan doesn't want the odd, pandemic-riddled offseason to be an excuse as to why Haskins shouldn't be the team's Week 1 starter.

"I don't care what anybody says about the offseason, minicamps and OTAs missing and Kyle Allen getting traded for, [Haskins] has got to be the guy," Sheehan said. 

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Earlier this week, Rivera praised Haskins for how he's handled everything this offseason. He commended the passer for how much of the playbook he's already mastered, albeit that being less than three-quarters of it.

Rivera's ultimate decision for who the team's starter will be isn't just between Haskins and Allen. Besides those two young signal-callers, there's also another QB in the mix: veteran Alex Smith. The 35-year-old is currently on the active PUP list, but has been cleared by his personal doctors to return to football activities.

Smith's journey is remarkable. After nearly losing his leg (and maybe his life) from infections that occurred as a result of the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November of 2018, Smith has worked incredibly hard to return to football. 

Even if Smith does get the clearance from Washington team doctors, Sheehan doesn't envision a scenario where the quarterback takes a meaningful snap for Washington.

"I don't see Alex Smith taking anything other than, if he takes a snap on an NFL field, it'll be ceremonial," Sheehan said. "That's what I'm hoping for, too, but I hope he gets back to where he's cleared and then decides not to play."

RELATED: DOES ALEX SMITH MAKE SENSE AS WASHINGTON'S QUARANTINE QB?

When asked why he thinks Rivera has not come out and named Haskins the starter already, Sheehan explained that the second-year passer may benefit from believing he's in a competition.

On his radio show, Sheehan spoke to former Washington cornerback Shawn Springs, who happens to be one of Haskins' biggest mentors. Springs explained to him that Haskins may benefit from not being given the title of QB1 just yet.

"[Springs] really thinks that it's better if Dwayne perceives he's in a competition," Sheehan said. "Maybe Ron recognizes that, too."

While Haskins may not be the starter just yet, plenty of signs point towards the second-year passer being Washington's Week 1 starting quarterback. And that's exactly why Sheehan and many others in the D.C. area believe he is the best direction for the team to go.

"I think he's fearless," Sheehan said of Haskins. "This thing is not above him, it's not too much for him."

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