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The Redskins are being overlooked by almost everyone, which is exactly how Case Keenum likes it

The Redskins are being overlooked by almost everyone, which is exactly how Case Keenum likes it

Overlooking, disrespecting, underestimating, ignoring. Call it what you want. Case Keenum didn't label it with a single word, but overall, he's noticed how the 2019 Redskins are receiving next to no attention.

Heading into Week 1, it's the kind of position he relishes being in. 

"Nobody is talking about us, nobody expects much from us," Keenum said during his weekly press conference on Wednesday. "I think it's a pretty good place to be in. I think we got a lot of fight in that locker room, especially on our side of the football. So I'm excited to go out there and show what we're about."

Keenum's only been around this franchise for a few months, but he's spot on.

Even though in-season success has long been hard for the Redskins to capture, they haven't had any trouble drumming up hope each offseason under Jay Gruden and long before him. This time around, though, even hope appears to be on limited supply, and predictions about Washington's eventual record back that up. 

Well, if anyone needs to borrow any optimism, Keenum's got extra. When talking to the media, he rattled off how confident he is in his unproven receivers, an offensive line that's missing its foundational piece and a system he's still relatively new to. 

"I know we'll be locked and loaded and ready to go," he said.

In the locker room, Chris Thompson was asked if he agrees with Keenum's assessment of how the Redskins are being viewed. The running back mentioned how he's seen all types of chatter about his organization in the past — from projections of division titles to thoughts of dreadful finishes — and explained how he doesn't let it bother him too much.

Even so, it definitely does bother him.

"A lot of people out there that have these big jobs think we're going to be pretty bad this year, and that's OK," Thompson said. "As we go on this season, we win some games that nobody expects us to win, then we'll be able to shut their mouths. That's just how we have to go about it."

The reasons for doubting what the Redskins can do these next four months are obvious. Trent Williams' future being so unclear may top the list, but not far behind are questions about what the quarterbacks will produce, which receivers can become viable targets, Jordan Reed's health and whether a defense with so much talent can put it together on a weekly basis.

Still, Keenum remains upbeat, which he absolutely needs to be. The veteran believes his unit will mesh and develop through each matchup — "It's kind of a like a living thing" — and, overall, he's been through enough football to know who emerges in the fall and winter aren't always the squads who were praised all spring and summer.

"It's a new team, it's a new year and that's what's so great about the NFL," he said. "There's just no telling and that's just what's so much fun about this league."


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So what's the difference between Derrius Guice and Reuben Foster? Ron Rivera explains

So what's the difference between Derrius Guice and Reuben Foster? Ron Rivera explains

Last week the Washington Football Team released running back Derrius Guice after his arrest on domestic violence charges. The release came before any internal investigation, or according to Guice's lawyer, really any opportunity for the player to explain the situation and deny the allegations. 

Washington head coach Ron Rivera said that the decision was difficult but that he felt he had no choice in the matter, and frankly, considering the open investigation to a pervasive culture of sexual harassment inside the organization, Rivera is right. Washington had no choice but to cut Guice. 

Still, it's tricky to reconcile that decision with what happened with linebacker Reuben Foster about 48 hours later. 

After nine days of impressive on-field activity and no medical setbacks, the team activated Foster from the Physically Unable to Perform list over the weekend.

Yes, that's the same Reuben Foster that was arrested multiple times on domestic violence charges while with the San Francisco 49ers. The same Reuben Foster that ignited a national controversy in November 2018 when San Francisco cut him and Washington signed him - the only NFL team to put a claim in on the troubled but talented backer

It's important to note that in the time since Foster's arrest he's been cleared by the NFL and all charges from the November incident were dropped

But for Ron Rivera, the new coach insisting on building a new culture in old Ashburn, how does he reconcile working with Foster and dropping Guice?


"I think the biggest thing is Reuben was claimed here, and as he went through the process, certain things came out and he had his moment to be able to settle himself in and show that he was exonerated for the most part," Rivera said Monday. "Reuben and I have talked about some things, some specific stuff — I’m not going to get into the details — but the one thing that Reuben has really shown since I’ve been here is that he’s doing things the right way. He’s doing things the way that we need him to do. He’s been excellent, he really has."

Rivera didn't claim Foster. He could have. Rivera was coaching in Carolina at the time. But he didn't.

That's a huge distinction.

Rivera inherited Foster, and by all accounts - on and off record - Foster has had zero issues since he arrived in Washington. 

"He’s done a great job in terms of his rehab, he’s done a great job in terms of working with our coaches," Rivera said of Foster. "So I’m excited for the young man’s opportunity. Here’s a guy that needed a change of scenery. I think that may be one of the things that’s truly benefited him."

It also seems that there could be more to the Guice story than the head coach wants to say publicly. Rivera would not comment on the timeline or the team's knowledge of Guice's transgressions. That could be nothing, or even legal advice, but there could be more to it. 

Here's what is known from police reports - Guice is accused of domestic incidents in February, March and April. 

Well, in March, Washington added two more running backs as free agents and in April the team drafted a third running back. Maybe coincidence or just good football business to add depth to the running back room, but it sure is interesting. 


One thing Ron Rivera mentioned multiple times during his media session Monday - every situation is different.

Foster's arrest came nearly two years ago and all charges have been dropped. Rivera only took over in January, and by then, the league had cleared Foster for a full year. 

There's also the Cody Latimer arrest. A veteran wideout signed as a free agent under Rivera, Latimer got arrested in May in Colorado on several charges including assault. Asked why that was different than Guice, Rivera explained that the NFL intervened in that case and placed Latimer on the Commissioner's Exempt list. Right now the odds are Latimer won't even play for the Washington team, so perhaps an immediate decision to release him wasn't necessary. 

One final thought too on why Guice had to go.

Despite playing just five games in two seasons, Guice is high-profile in Washington.

Rivera is establishing himself in Washington. The coach might have just wanted to put his foot down, loudly, in a manner that will be seen in every locker in Ashburn and across the league. 

Every situation is different. For Rivera to actually install change in Washington, he has to prove that things will be run differently too. 

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Why did Ron Rivera cut Derrius Guice? Here is the head coach's full explanation on the matter

Why did Ron Rivera cut Derrius Guice? Here is the head coach's full explanation on the matter

A mid-August presser for an NFL head coach usually involves strictly football inquiries, with the media asking for updates on the race at slot receiver or wondering why one rookie hasn't gotten more reps with the starters yet.

Ron Rivera's time with local reporters on Monday didn't go like that.

Instead, the Washington Football Team's leader started his session off by explaining what went into the move to cut Derrius Guice and then he faced numerous follow-ups on the matter.

It's not what he should've been doing at this point in the calendar, but that didn't stop him from being transparent and direct.

"On Friday, I made a decision that I believe was in the best interest of this organization, our players and our fans going forward," Rivera said. "Very difficult decision, anytime you have to release a very talented, young football player, it’s always a tough decision. But this type of circumstance, this type of situation, we take those allegations very, very seriously, and we had to make the decision going forward."

Rivera met with the rest of the team on Sunday to discuss Guice's release and told them that he parted ways with the running back because he felt it was the necessary thing to do. While he didn't want to get too deep into the nature of that meeting, any meetings with Guice or the exact timeline of when he found out about Guice's charges, he had no problem accepting ownership of the transaction.  


"If it was the right decision, we will benefit from it, and if it’s not, it will be on me," Rivera said. "I will take full responsibility as we go forward to try and make sure we do things the right way."

Some outsiders have since wondered why guys like Reuben Foster or Cody Latimer remain with the franchise while Guice was dropped. The former was controversially claimed in 2018 and has been charged with domestic violence offenses in the past, while the latter is currently facing a handful of charges for an incident that happened in Colorado in May, including second-degree assault, which is a felony.  

Well, to Rivera, each circumstance is "unique" and "each one will be handled and dealt with differently." Foster, for example, has "been excellent" since Rivera arrived, so the coach is willing to see what his future holds in Burgundy and Gold. Latimer, meanwhile, is currently on the Commissioner's Exempt List, and Rivera wants to gather more details when it comes to his legal standing.  

As Rivera attempts to get the Washington pointed in the right direction — a process that is likely more intensive than he could've ever imagined — he broke down one key question he wants his players to ask themselves. The question can apply to all kinds of scenarios, both on the field and away from it, and he believes it can give guidance as the team proceeds in its rebuild.

"When we decide to do something, when we think of what we’re going to do, we have to honestly think: Is what I’m about to do truly going to help us?" Rivera said. "Is it going to benefit us, and how is it going to benefit us?"

Guice obviously didn't ask that question, and how he's gone. For Rivera's sake, hopefully that'll be the exception.