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Play of the day: Redskins WR Maurice Harris is making his case for a roster spot

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Play of the day: Redskins WR Maurice Harris is making his case for a roster spot

RICHMOND—The situation with Maurice Harris and the Redskins is, well, complicated. He was promoted from the practice squad midway through the 2016 season, and he performed well in very limited duty. 

Last year, he was a surprising cut when they reduced the roster to 53. He returned from the practice squad, made a spectacular catch for a touchdown the first time he was targeted and then he mostly disappeared. After that one catch for 36 yards against the Vikings in Week 10, he caught just three more for 26 yards. 

This year, Harris is determined not to have anything get in his way of making the 53-man roster and contributing. He is having an excellent camp in the early going.

One play that he made on Sunday is a good illustration. 

It came during one-on-one coverage drills, and it should be noted that the format favors the offense since there is no pass rush and no help on coverage. That doesn’t detract from Harris’ play here because he was well covered in the back right corner of the end zone.

The pass went up, and Harris had to go up for it. He jumped higher than the defender and got both of his hands on the ball, pulled it in and held on as he hit the ground. So, even under the old catch rules, it was a touchdown. 

However, Harris’ helmet did not survive the ground. It came off on impact and rolled a few feet away. It didn’t seem to bother him, as he picked it up and trotted back to join the rest of the offensive players. 

Harris hasn’t just been making spectacular plays. He is doing the little things right, too. In the practice report from Saturday, I noted how he was getting out of his breaks quickly. The finer points add up. 

One thing Harris must do to make the team and be productive is to stay healthy. A knee injury that forced him out of training camp practice for a while last year likely contributed to him getting cut. Once he made his way back on the roster he missed games with a concussion and a back injury. You can’t make the club in the tub, as they say, and it will be very important for Harris to stay injury free. 

Harris is in competition with Robert Davis, Brian Quick, Trey Quinn and possible others for spots on the 53-man roster and position on the depth chart. Harris appears to be in good position and if he can stay healthy a spot on the 53 could be a lock. 

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

 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera did plenty of research before accepting the job earlier this month.

Rivera spent 30-35 hours with Redskins owner Dan Snyder before agreeing to be the ninth head coach of the owner's tenure. Additionally, he reached out to legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and ended up spending several hours talking with him prior to accepting the job. The two originally spoke on the phone, before the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera over to his home in Charlotte last month to discuss even further.

On Tuesday, Gibbs spoke on the Carol Maloney show, where he revealed some of the topics he spoke with Rivera about. One of those included the involvement of Snyder, who Gibbs spoke glowingly about.

"Where I felt like I could help the most was telling [Rivera] what it was like working with Dan," Gibbs said. "When I was there, Dan did every single thing he could do to help us win and was never, in any way, an interference. He was always trying to help in every single way he could."

Additionally, Gibbs raved about the Redskins fanbase. He explained to Rivera that fans in D.C. understand football, have been following the team forever, and are some of the most passionate in the sport.

"The other thing I could do, I felt like, was tell him about what it's like coaching in the greatest city in the world with the greatest fans in the world," Gibbs said. "I did tell him I thought it was the greatest job in the NFL."

Gibbs told Maloney that he hates making predictions, but had a strong one about the future of the Redskins fanbase.

"I think our fan base will come roaring back," Gibbs said. "I think [FedEx Field] will be full of Burgundy and Gold. They're going to be cheering their guts out."

When asked if he believed Rivera was the right man to lead the Redskins, Gibbs explained he was thrilled by the hire.

"He was certainly a great choice," Gibbs said. "[He was] Coach of the Year twice, put a team into the Super Bowl. And I think he's kind of a man's man. I think he can talk to the players. And I think he's proven that he can get the job done."

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