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Need to Know: Competition on Redskins' wide receiver depth chart is heating up

Need to Know: Competition on Redskins' wide receiver depth chart is heating up

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 7, 49 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins wide receiver depth chart is fluid

At this point in the season, the Redskins don’t really have a depth chart. They pretty much know who their starters will be and some of the key backups. But they can’t say for sure how many players they will carry at most positions and who the last 10 or 12 players on the 53-man roster will be. 

OTAs are when players start to make a case for their lines on the depth chart. A player can’t win a job this time of year, but they can make some good impressions that will carry over to training camp when the real competition begins. There is some real competition setting up at wide receiver, both in terms of playing time and roster spots. 

One of the players making a good impression is rookie WR Trey Quinn. With the departure of Ryan Grant, the No. 4 receiver spot, the first one off the bench, is wide open and Quinn is making a strong case for the job. He has consistently made it easy for the quarterback to find him and he makes the catch way more often than not. 

“Trey has come in here, and I haven’t heard him talk a whole lot,” said Jay Gruden. “He’s very quiet. He’s a quiet assassin and he just goes out there and is very detailed in his routes. [WR coach] Ike [Hilliard] has done a great job with him, and Trey, when the ball’s in the area, he’s got strong hands.[He’s a] very quarterback-friendly target.”

But Quinn is not going to walk into a spot on the depth chart without a fight. The Redskins drafted Robert Davis in the sixth round last year. After spending most of the year on the practice squad, he was promoted to the 53-man roster in December. Davis didn’t play much but the 6-3 Davis has been making progress. 

“He made great strides throughout the year – his size, speed, his ability to block, run,” said Gruden. “He’s got all the things you want as a receiver in the West Coast-type offense… run after the catch. Now it’s just about him lining up and being comfortable in the route tree and who he’s supposed to block, when he’s supposed to block them and also help us out on special teams, so he’s done excellent, man.”

Also competing for position on the wide receiver depth chart are Maurice Harris and Brian Quick. Harris made a nice catch in the corner of the end zone in OTAs on Wednesday and he made one of the NFL’s catches of the year against the Vikings last year. He needs to develop consistency and stay on the field. Quick has not done much noteworthy during the OTAs that have been open to the media. But he has six years of experience in the NFL and with a receiver corps that is very green, that could be a major asset. 

The situation is very fluid behind starters Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and Paul Richardson. Between Harris, Quinn, Davis, and Quick, any could end up as the No. 4 receiver and all of them will have to battle to make sure they are on the roster when they cut to 53 on September 1. There likely will be only six wide receiver roster spots so one of them will have to go. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 5
—Training camp starts (7/26) 49
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 63

The Redskins last played a game 158 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 94 days. 

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With three NFC East games to go, don't tell Bill Callahan that the rest of the Redskins season is meaningless

With three NFC East games to go, don't tell Bill Callahan that the rest of the Redskins season is meaningless

When December ends and a new decade is upon us, the Redskins will be doing something that's become far too familiar for the franchise over the past several years: watching the NFL playoffs from home. 

For all intents and purposes, since Washington has been officially eliminated from playoff contention following their Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the final three games of their 2019 campaign are meaningless. 

But don't tell that to interim head coach Bill Callahan.

While Callahan is likely on his way out the door after 2019 -- the team will almost certainly hire a new head coach and potentially make changes in the front office -- he still has plenty he wants to prove. And that starts with winning games in the division.

"I want to see us compete in the divisional games. We haven't been good," Callahan said. "I think we're 0-7 in our last divisional games. That hits hard. We're 0-5 against Philly in our last five games. So I'd like to see a competitive effort against the division. This is a chance to redeem ourselves in a lot of ways."

Part of the reason the Redskins have struggled to put together winning seasons over the past few years has been their struggles within the NFC East. Echoing Callahan's comments, the Burgundy and Gold have dropped seven straight divisional contests, including an 0-3 record this season. They finished 2-4 within the division in 2018 and 1-5 in 2017. The last time they finished with a division record above .500 was 2015, which was also the last time they won the division.

That record looks even worse when the NFC East is in the conversation for one of the worst divisions in NFL history. Currently, the 6-7 Dallas Cowboys hold the tiebreaker over the 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles for the top spot. 

During Washington's three divisional losses this season, it's been outscored 87-51, including an embarrassing 24-3 loss in Week 4 to the currently 2-11 New York Giants.

"These three divisional opponents, we didn't do well at the beginning of the year," Callahan said. "We've got a challenge. We have a chance to rectify that and make it right."

In what has turned into a disappointing and lost season for the Redskins, there are still a few bright spots and building blocks for the future. Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has emerged as a legit NFL wide receiver. Running back Derrius Guice has struggled to stay on the field but has been a force when playing. Dwayne Haskins has had his fair share of growing pains but also gave few glimpses of what he's capable of down the line.

Callahan wants to use the final three division games as a way to demonstrate to his young core that divisional games are one of the most critical things to succeed in the NFL.

"[I want to] really set the tone for next season. We have a lot of young players, players that are going to be here," Callahan said. "They've got to realize that the divisional games are the most critical games. Just because it does tie into your playoff factor initially. You're going to see these teams twice a year. It gives you a catalyst if you win those games and then begin to compete."

This week poses an opportunity for the Redskins to play the spoiler role. If they beat Philadelphia, the Eagles' playoff chances look bleak. Washington hasn't beaten Philadelphia since 2016.

Many current Redskins remember the image of FedEx Field in Week 17 last year. The stadium was a sea of people sporting Eagles' green and black as they shut out the Redskins, 24-0. While defeating the Eagles would not mean much in terms of the Redskins' 2019 season, a victory over Philadelphia would go a long way moving forward.

"I think our guys are all playing for something: pride," Callahan said. "Division games are always great battles. You never know how those are going to end. They're always tight, close games. This will be a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to the challenge on Sunday."

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Running back is one position where things could look very different for the 2020 Redskins

Running back is one position where things could look very different for the 2020 Redskins

Not much has gone to plan for the 2019 Redskins. Congratulations, you won't read a more obvious thing all day.

Running back is one such spot on the team where the preseason expectations haven't been met. A surprise benching in Week 1, injuries and inconsistent production have plagued what was supposed to be one of the most stacked positions on the roster.

Because of those issues, there may be a lot of RB turnover this offseason, leading to what could be a different-looking depth chart in 2020.

The main reason for that possible shuffling is Derrius Guice's unfortunate health problems. Guice has actually been placed on injured reserve twice since Week 1, with the second trip to I.R. ending his year. If you count exhibition contests, he's suited up for the Burgundy and Gold seven times as a pro and has had to leave three of those contests with knee injuries.

There was so much hope that Guice would be able to prove himself this time around and convince the Redskins he could be their go-to option for the future, and when he dominated the Panthers for 129 yards and two scores, his long-discussed talent and potential popped.

But with a torn ACL, a torn meniscus and a sprained MCL already in the NFL, the franchise can't move forward with him as their surefire No. 1 back. This was the season where he could've seized the job, yet instead, indications are he'll need to be grouped together with other pieces.

Elsewhere in the backfield, Chris Thompson very well could be playing in his last three games for Washington. The 29-year-old is incredibly helpful in a lot of ways, but he, too, has difficulty staying on the field. After seven campaigns with the organization, it might be time for both sides to move on.

Then there's Bryce Love, the team's fourth-rounder who's essentially been redshirted as a rookie. The Stanford product has to show that he can recover from his own knee struggles — he had another surgery on it in late October — but he's got a lot of speed and should be more than ready to be a factor in 2020.

Oddly enough, Adrian Peterson has yet again been the steadiest running back for the Redskins. After Jay Gruden's decision to sit him for the opener, the 34-year-old has rebounded and shown he still can be a valuable asset. He's under contract and seems like a logical choice to keep in town for one more season. 

So, when added all together, the team has quite a few questions at running back. They've got to decide whom to trust out of a crop that includes someone who's super-skilled but often dinged up, a mainstay who could be on his way out, a totally unproven draft selection and an aging but still useful veteran, while also considering possibly acquiring other bodies.

Coming into 2019, RB looked like an area of strength for the Redskins. Now, nearing the end of 2019, it appears to be an area of mystery.

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