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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Colts

Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Colts

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, September 12, four days before the Washington Redskins play their 2018 home opener against the Colts.  

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Here is some of what you should know about the Redskins’ upcoming opponent. 

1. Andrew Luck appears to be healthy

At his point, Luck literally is the Colts’ franchise quarterback because they have so little talent elsewhere. After missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury, Luck appears to have regained the form that had him in the top 10 of NFL quarterbacks, at least for one game. He passed 53 times in a game that his team led for most of the first three quarters. Luck wasn’t great, throwing an interception and averaging just 6 yards per attempt, but it was an encouraging return for the top pick in the 2012 draft. 

2. Colts built their interior OL like Scot McCloughan wanted to

In 2016, it was common knowledge that the former Redskins GM wanted to draft center Ryan Kelly to put alongside former fifth overall pick Brandon Scherff in the interior of the offensive line. The Colts took Kelly before the Redskins went on the clock. This year, the Colts took guard Quenton Nelson with the sixth overall pick. They essentially have the interior line that McCloughan wanted. Injuries have hampered Kelly’s career so far. He missed nine games last year with a foot injury and a concussion. 

3. The Colts lack an impact defender

Maybe Kelly and Nelson will work out for the Colts, but in this past draft they really could have used that sixth pick for help on defense. Perhaps LB Roquan Smith would have been a better pick or maybe CB Minkah Fitzpatrick. They just have no impact players. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard had 5.5 sacks last year. Nobody else currently on the roster had more than three. They cut Jonathan Hankins, their best run stopper. Safety Malik Hooker was their first-round pick last year and he may be good at some point, but injuries cost him nine games last year. In 2017 they were 30th in both yards and points allowed and they may not be much better this year. 

4. Ryan Grant led the Colts in receptions in their opener

Yes, the player who had nine receptions in 16 games with the Redskins in 2016 caught eight passes for 59 yards against the Bengals on Sunday. It was an odd departure from Washington for Grant, who did rebound last year to catch 43 passes for 573 yards last year. He clearly was a favorite of Jay Gruden’s, but the team never made much of an effort to retain him when his contract was up last March. The Ravens had a four-year offer worth $29 million on the table for him that they pulled back when they said he failed his physical. He took some visits after that and ended up with a one-year, $5 million deal with the Colts. The Redskins never got in on the market for him. With only three healthy wide receivers right now, the Redskins could use a guy like Grant. 

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The agenda

Today: Alex Smith press conference 12 p.m.; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m. 

Upcoming: Home opener vs. Colts (Sept. 16) 4 days; Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 11; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 26

In case you missed it

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Derrius Guice reportedly hurt his knee again before Washington released him

Derrius Guice reportedly hurt his knee again before Washington released him

A news storm ensued after Derrius Guice was arrested on domestic violence charges and subsequently released by the Washington Football Team. Seemingly lost in the shuffle was some news about yet another knee injury for the third-year running back. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Guice hurt his knee again the day before he was released.

This would have been huge news for the former second-round pick, who's grappled with knee injuries throughout the first two seasons of his career. He suffered a torn ACL as a rookie, a meniscus tear at the beginning of last season and an MCL sprain later on in 2019 as well.

There was hope for Guice to become a featured back, and he certainly had the ability to become one had he been able to stay healthy. 

RELATED: RIVERA EXPLAINS DECISION TO CUT GUICE

It's unclear how much another knee injury had to do with Guice's release, though it certainly couldn't have made things easier on Guice's hopes to stay on the roster. He later went unclaimed on waivers, making him a free agent for the first time in his young career.

Washington doesn't have much time to worry about Guice now. They have to figure out how to distribute the carries between Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love without a preseason schedule to test things out.

With their first taste of game action this season set as a September 13 clash with the Eagles, Peterson figures to start off as the lead back behind Dwayne Haskins based on experience alone. Peterson has over 3,000 career carries under his belt while the other four options have combined for 639.

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Alex Smith could make 'interesting' battle for QB practice reps with Dwayne Haskins

Alex Smith could make 'interesting' battle for QB practice reps with Dwayne Haskins

Training camp should be a major opportunity for Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins to get a lot of work with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner and the new playbook, but if Alex Smith is healthy, the reps for Haskins might shrink.

"The biggest thing we’ve got to do is not make sure we’re divvying up the reps as evenly as possible, but we divvy up who they work against. This could be a very interesting challenge for us because of QB Alex Smith. If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition," head coach Ron Rivera said on Monday. 

The Washington Football Team drafted Haskins 15th overall last year, only after Smith suffered a broken leg in November 2018. Rivera wasn't around for either of the decisions to draft Haskins or trade for Smith, but now the new coach gets to try and solve the QB riddle in Washington. 

Haskins struggled as a rookie in part because he didn't get much practice work with the first team offense. It was obvious how little Haskins knew of the offense and his offensive teammates when he first got on the field in Week 4 last year. Some of that might have been self-inflicted, regardless, Haskins needed the work. 

Now in his second season, Haskins got exactly zero team drills in this offseason due to Coronavirus. None. 

So, with what should be the most important training camp of his young professional career, Haskins again might face another hurdle in the return of Smith. 

Smith deserves tremendous accolades for his recovery after 17 surgeries and intense infection in his leg. But is Smith getting back on the field the best thing for a young Washington team trying to rebuild?

Haskins is 23. Smith is 36.

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Haskins has tremendous potential, Smith has already proven he can produce.

Haskins has started seven NFL games. Smith has started seven NFL playoff games. 

Considering all of that, Haskins should get the most work of any Washington passer.

Take note that Rivera didn't say the reps needed to be equitable, but rather the level of competition. Haskins needs more reps than Smith or Kyle Allen.

RELATED: WHICH WASHINGTON PLAYER HAS A LOT RIDING ON THE 2020 SEASON?

Smith has been in the NFL since he was drafted first overall in 2005. Allen started 13 games for Rivera and Turner in the last two seasons. Haskins hasn't even been through a padded practice with Rivera and Turner. 

It makes total sense to get Allen reps against the first-team defense. He needs to be prepared. And should Smith get medically cleared to be back on the field against a defense, he should get some of those reps too. Washington needs to see what Smith has left if he actually gets cleared for football.

Still, Haskins should get the majority of that work. He needs it, and Rivera needs to see what he has in the former Ohio State star. 

Smith's recovery is an incredible story, but Rivera's plan in Washington is a long-term rebuild to put together a consistent playoff team. That means getting Haskins on the field as much as possible. 

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