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Plenty of Redskins cornerbacks are making plays, but Adonis Alexander isn't

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USA Today Sports

Plenty of Redskins cornerbacks are making plays, but Adonis Alexander isn't

The Redskins could really use a big offseason of growth for Adonis Alexander, but on Wednesday, that wasn't happening. Alexander sat out the minicamp session, instead, working the sidelines with coaches.

Washington coach Jay Gruden revealed that Alexander was dealing with a bit of a groin injury and the team decided to sit him out. In June, at minicamp, an abundance of caution is the right move. 

But with Alexander, it would be great if the progress started to come quick. The second-year pro out of Virginia Tech has every physical tool to be a dominant cornerback in the NFL, but he needs to learn the position. At 6-foot-3 and 207 lbs., Alexander has the size to play press coverage and the speed to react.

Still, last year Washington got next to nothing from the rookie. He played in just nine games and made four tackles, as he dealt with injuries and lost snaps to Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson. So far this summer, Alexander has looked behind Stroman and rookie Jimmy Moreland, and well behind veterans like Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau and even free agent signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. 

The Redskins rolled the dice to take Alexander, albeit a minor gamble, by taking him in the sixth round of the 2018 Supplemental Draft after his college career in Blacksburg came to an unceremonious early end. There have been zero off-field issues with Alexander as a Redskin, he's been a solid citizen.

At some point though the team wants to see his potential show on the field. Missing minicamp isn't a big deal in a bubble, but after a mostly silent rookie year, and other cornerbacks showing their ability and their durability, training camp will be important for Alexander. 

Norman, Dunbar and Moreau are roster locks. After that, there will be serious competition. Alexander better be ready because Stroman, Moreland and Rodgers-Cromartie have shown they are. 

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Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan had to know the question was coming, and for the most part, his answer was perfectly polite and diplomatic. Until a nice, little elbow at the end, that is.

The 49ers coach was asked on a Wednesday conference call how he'll avoid making this Sunday's game against the Redskins personal. Shanahan was with Washington from 2010-2013 along with his dad, Mike, but the end of his tenure in D.C. was very messy.

In his response, he explained how he'll try to treat the Burgundy and Gold like any other opponent, but then he dropped one comment that indicated he is in fact looking for some major revenge.

"It's not my first time back there," he said. "I've been in three buildings since. I've moved on with my life in many other ways and I think my family has also. I think it's pretty easy not to make it personal. The guys it'd be personal with don't play in the game."

That last portion was no doubt directed at the Redskins' front office, with whom Kyle and Mike had plenty of issues with. It wasn't the only part of the call where Shanahan slighted the Redskins, either. 

At one point, the 39-year-old was pushed to describe how he's gone about rebuilding San Francisco's culture since he took over. He stressed having a united vision with the decision-makers above him and sounded quite pleased to be in a place where he feels like that's happening.

"To me, culture's based off the type of people you have there," he explained. "I knew, during the interview, meeting the owner, then being able to get a general manager like John Lynch, we knew we had the people, the right people with the right intentions that were in it for one thing, and that was to win. And we also could be very honest with where we were at at the time."

"We've got people who live and die football and they know how to treat each other," he added. "It's one of the more fun groups and higher-character groups that I've been around."

So, that wasn't as direct as his first jab, but it still got the job done. Don't worry, though. He found time for one more obvious remark about his old employer before facing them in Week 7.

Near the end of the discussion, Shanahan was given a hypothetical where a young, up-and-coming coach approaches him about possibly working with the Redskins. What would Shanahan tell that person? After a quick chuckle, he played along the best he could.

"Just look into it. See what the situation is, who you want to work for," he said. "Anytime you get opportunities, you've got to look into it. But I'm not there, I don't know how it is right now, so that would be up to that person."

Then came the kicker.

"I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice."

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Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

While the Redskins 2019 campaign has not gone as expected, news from Wednesday's practice should give the fanbase a glimmer of hope for the future at the quarterback position.

Starting QB Case Keenum was held out of Wednesday's practice to rest his body. With Keenum absent, rookie Dwayne Haskins took all of the first-team reps. Callahan was impressed with the Ohio State product and pleased with his development.

"Dwayne took all the reps today and it’s invaluable for a backup to take starting reps," Callahan said. "Especially at the beginning of the week in terms of putting your plan together and laying it out there and making all the adjustments, whether it’s new communication, new formations, handling the shift-motion game.

"I thought he did a really good job today, so his growth is starting to show in practice and also in his preparation," Callahan continued. "He’s in earlier, he’s out later, so it’s all coming to fruition. It’s going to take a little time, but it’s good to see him take a major step today in practice."

Keenum wasn't the only veteran to be held out as practice, as running back Adrian Peterson missed Wednesday's practice, too. Interim head coach Bill Callahan held out both players simply to rest their bodies. It's not atypical for veterans to miss Wednesday practices, especially as it gets to the deeper portion of the season.

"Definitely just veteran guys, backing them down and just trying to take care of their bodies a little bit better," Callahan said of why he held them out.

When Callahan took over as interim head coach last week, many expected the team to turn to Haskins as their starting QB. At the time, Washington was 0-5, and both Keenum and Colt McCoy had been largely ineffective under center.

Although Callahan did not immediately turn to the signal-caller, he's at least given a plan of action to develop the rookie, something that was unclear while Jay Gruden was the head coach.

"He will be [the starter] at some point in time,” Callahan said on Haskins during his introductory press conference last Monday. “We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process, try to get him on schedule so he is prepared."

Gruden had Haskins running the scout team. Even when Keenum does practice, Callahan has given the rookie at least a few reps with the starters.

"We've got to be conscientious in getting him some repetitions during the course of the practice," Callahan said last week. "So that will a little be a shift in philosophy moving forward."

When Callahan ultimately pulls the trigger to move to the rookie remains uncertain. But with Haskins improving by the day, and Keenum continuing to turn in subpar results on Sunday's, that move could come sooner rather than later.

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