Redskins

Quick Links

New Redskins RB JD McKissic wants to 'create a hazard' for opposing defenses

New Redskins RB JD McKissic wants to 'create a hazard' for opposing defenses

The Redskins signed running back JD McKissic with a pretty specific role in mind, but the wide receiver turned runner might have bigger designs than just being a third-down back. 

"I love to run between the tackles," McKissic said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. "I want to create a hazard for the defense."

That's great, but it's not why Washington brought in the fifth-year back out of Arkansas State. In college, McKissic played wide receiver and played it well. In four seasons for the Red Wolves he caught 289 passes for nearly 3,000 yards with 11 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards.

He was a very legitimate receiving threat in the Sun Belt Conference, but in the NFL, that just wasn't in the cards, particularly at 5-foot-10 and 195 lbs. So he switched to running back and has stuck in the league since 2016, when he signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. 

Now in Washington, McKissic is focused on being a running back but won't let his roots go. 

"I will always feel like I'm a receiver just because I've done it my whole life," he said. "I never want to lose my receiver ability. I feel like it's kept me in the league to do something different. That's what sets me apart from a lot of other guys."

In new Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner's scheme, receiving ability has a lot of value for a running back. Throwing to backs has always been a staple of the Turner offense, even when Scott's father Norv Turner ran it throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It's a way to create mismatches against the defense and get more defensive backs on the field, which can in turn open up more room to run the football. 

McKissic spoke with Turner about the offensive plans and liked what he heard. 

"The running back position is very important to him," McKissic said of Turner. "He mentioned Christian McCaffrey had 100 catches [in 2019]. He told me I'll get a couple but I won't get that many."

Last season in Carolina, McCaffrey cooked.

He didn't just catch 100 passes, McCaffrey caught 116 passes. He accounted for nearly 2,400 yards of total offense through the air and on the ground, and that was with Norv and Scott Turner running the offense. 

Now, to be clear, McKissic isn't McCaffrey. Last year with the Lions, McKissic caught 34 passes for 234 yards and accounted for about 440 yards of offense.

There will be a similar McCaffrey role available in the new Redskins offense though. 

Of the Redskins running backs under contract, and there are a lot, McKissic has a similar body type to McCaffrey and is best known as a pass-catcher. There will be competition for that job, and the position group has a lot of options. As far as third-down back though Adrian Peterson is unlikely to be in the running, which leaves McKissic, Derrius Guice and Bryce Love. The Redskins also signed Peyton Barber this offseason but the former Bucs running back has never been much of a pass-catcher in his four-year career. Guice and Love are coming back from significant knee injuries, so McKissic could have a leg up on the competition, and he's certainly the only back that used to play receiver.

When new Redskins coach Ron Rivera took over the top job in Washington, he promised competition at every position on the field. By adding two free agent running backs to a group that already included Peterson, Guice and Love, Rivera's got plenty of heat in the backfield. 

"That's what's it all about, competition man," McKissic said. "We understand the business, we know the game."

While he said he's "honored" to be in the same group as Peterson, the best way for McKissic to make an impact is through the air. 

"I got to keep my route running up. I can't let them forget that I was a wide receiver."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Report: NFL teams must hold training camp at own facilities amid coronavirus pandemic

Report: NFL teams must hold training camp at own facilities amid coronavirus pandemic

If and when training camp begins as scheduled in late July, the Redskins will not be traveling to their usual camp location in Richmond.

The NFL has informed clubs on Tuesday that all training camps will be held at each team's respective facility due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

ESPN's Todd Archer was first to break the news, reporting that the Dallas Cowboys will not be headed to their typical training camp location in Oxnard, California.

Additionally, teams are not allowed to have joint practices during training camp in 2020, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Joint practices have been a common thing over the past few years, as the Redskins held a combined practice with the Jets in 2018 and the Texans in 2015.

Besides the Cowboys, the Panthers, Raiders and Chiefs are among the several NFL teams that hold their annual camp at an offsite location, too. A total of 10 different teams held training camp away from their facilities in 2019.

Washington has held its training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond since 2013. Prior to that, the Redskins had hosted training camp at their Ashburn facilities from 2003-2012.

While the pandemic has prevented all in-person offseason activities, the NFL has yet to determine whether training camp and the regular season will begin as planned. Training camps across the league are expected to open in mid-to-late July.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

 

Quick Links

One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

No one will look at the Redskins' quarterback situation and call it superb or even settled, but with a slimmer and more experienced Dwayne Haskins positioned as starter and ex-Panthers signal caller Kyle Allen reuniting with his old staff as depth, fans can at least reasonably hope that things will work out under center in 2020.

NBC Sports analyst Josh Norris, though, doesn't envision a positive outcome for Washington's passers this year. During an interview on the Redskins Talk podcast, he explained why.

First, Norris gave his opinion on Allen. When the Burgundy and Gold initially acquired the former Carolina QB, some asserted that Allen would actually beat out Haskins for the top job. Norris, however, flat out doesn't believe Allen has that kind of talent.

"My lowest moment of 2019 was that two-month span where people tried to make Kyle Allen a starter in the NFL," Norris told Redskins Talk. "It was bogus. It was so ridiculous."

"I understand the production was there and he went on some starting streaks and they won some games," he continued. "But he's at best an NFL backup."

In the end, Norris compared Allen to Colt McCoy. Yes, most rosters need someone like McCoy — hell, he just left the area after a six-year run with the franchise and he's now a Giant, so he's clearly valued — but those kinds of guys aren't the ones coaches want running their offenses for more than a few quarters or so.

Now, here's the part where it gets dispiriting: While Norris doesn't think much of Allen — in addition to the McCoy comparison, Norris labeled Allen inaccurate and too susceptible to pocket pressure — he still expects him to start for team in 2020. That stems from Norris also doubting what Haskins will be able to do in his second season as a pro.

"We still don't know who he is," Norris said of the 2019 first-round pick.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

Yes, Haskins improved as a rookie in a situation that was largely a catastrophe, so it's not crazy to conclude he should continue to ascend now that the organization is more settled. Norris himself acknowledged the growth Haskins made.

However, even with that maturation, as well as Norris' positive feelings about Ron Rivera, Scott Turner and many other aspects of Washington's potential turnaround, the analyst still sees a glaring weakness that'll directly affect Haskins and could contribute to a less-than-stellar campaign for No. 7.

"What is possibly the most important part of quarterback success is offensive line play, and I think it's fair to question the Washington Redskins' offensive line right now, especially the left tackle spot," Norris said.

In the end, Norris anticipates Haskins having issues for a certain number of weeks, Allen stepping in after and the Redskins overall being unhappy with their collective output at QB. 

"We've seen NFL storylines repeat themselves," he said. "A [staff] goes to a new organization and brings a quarterback that may not be starting caliber but understands exactly what they want to do and he ultimately ends up starting a handful of games because of that, because they want to stabilize the situation as much as possible."

How stable does that really sound? The answer, of course, is not at all. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS