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Redskins depth chart review: Will Jay Gruden really be bold enough to keep just 2 QBs?

Redskins depth chart review: Will Jay Gruden really be bold enough to keep just 2 QBs?

The whole world watched the Redskins start Mark Sanchez at quarterback late last season in a game with playoff implications.

The whole world watched the Redskins get blown out in that game by a bad New York Giants team, and Sanchez throw a first-half pick six. 

Starting Sanchez was obviously a mistake, and while it only occurred because of an incredibly improbable set of circumstances, the process in place that allowed Sanchez to start a December NFC East game in 2018 was seriously flawed.

For a few seasons now, the Redskins have kept just two quarterbacks on their final roster. When the durable Kirk Cousins was the starter, that was never a problem. Cousins never missed a start from 2015 to 2016. Last year, however, not having a third quarterback really hurt Washington. 

Now that the majority of NFL Free Agency has ended and with the NFL Draft complete, Redskins fans have a good look at the reality of their quarterback situation for the 2019 season. 

The Redskins should enter training camp with veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy alongside 15th overall pick Dwayne Haskins. There's something for everyone in that group. It's also assumed Alex Smith will spend the season on the injured reserve, with serious questions about him ever returning to the football field. 

Keenum is two years removed from a breakout season in Minnesota, where he guided the Vikings to the NFC Championship game and threw 22 TDs against just seven INTs in 14 starts. Last year, Keenum backtracked in Denver. He wasn't good (18 TDs vs 15 INTs) but he wasn't bad either (62 percent completion percentage, nearly 3,900 yards passing). 

Keenum is not the long-term answer in Washington, but he could manage the offense this year. McCoy is another player that some believe could run 'Skins coach Jay Gruden's offense. 

McCoy has been in Washington since 2014, and while he's had six starts, he's never gotten a chance to be the starter. This offseason, for the second straight year, the Redskins had the chance to make McCoy the starter. And for the second straight year, the front office traded to acquire another QB. Last year it was Smith, this year, Keenum. 

Further complicating matters, McCoy has undergone three surgeries since breaking his leg last December in Philadelphia. Sources believe McCoy will be fine for training camp in July, but that's a long way from now. Arguably McCoy's biggest advantage is his knowledge and familiarity of Gruden's offense, but if he's sidelined, he can't show that. 

Like Keenum, McCoy is not the future at QB in Washington.

That would be Haskins. 

A star last year at Ohio State and Heisman Trophy finalist, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for 50 TDs. For some QBs, that's a college career. Haskins did that in just one season for the Buckeyes. 

Gruden was clear Haskins will get a chance to compete for the starting job this season, and that means a three-man race in training camp. In some ways, it will be apparent how serious the contenders are by watching offensive drills in Richmond. Gruden will be forced to give each player significant time with the starting group to decide on QB1. If any player, most likely Keenum or Haskins, gets more work than the others, than that player is likely QB1. 

It's premature to guess at QB1 in May, but it would also be naive to think Haskins won't win the job. The last time the Redskins drafted a first-round rookie QB, he won the job. Anybody inside the beltway remember that guy? Robert something?

Anyway, for the purpose of the 53-man roster, the real question will be if the Redskins keep all three quarterbacks. Speaking at the league meetings in March, Gruden made clear he only likes to roll with two QBs on his 53.

"If you carry three quarterbacks, which I've never been a fan of, it will have an impact on another position," the coach said. 

Which brings things all the way back to Mark Sanchez. 

The Redskins never thought they'd lose both Smith and McCoy to broken legs last year. The odds of that happening were astronomical. The Redskins never thought they'd actually have to start Mark Sanchez. 

Still, it happened, and it buried their season.

In 2019, that lesson might not be lost when figuring out the 53-man roster. Haskins is a rookie, McCoy has dealt with injuries throughout his NFL career, and Keenum was never considered an NFL starter until his seventh year in the league. 

The McCoy injury situation could cloud the issue if there are more delays with his leg. But should Washington leave Richmond with three healthy quarterbacks, all three should make the final roster. 

Learn something from the Sanchez era. History can be quite worthwhile when something is learned from it. 


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Redskins sign former Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby to boost secondary

Redskins sign former Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby to boost secondary

The Redskins signed former Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby to a one-year contract on Sunday.

Darby, a second-round pick by the Bills in 2015 who played college ball at Florida State, grabbed six interceptions in three years playing in Philadelphia but dealt with major injuries throughout his time there, including an ACL tear in 2018. The deal was first reported by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

Washington needed to sign another cornerback after trading away disgruntled CB Quinton Dunbar last week.

With the new addition, expect the Redskins to let Kendall Fuller start on one side of the field and Darby and fourth-year pro Fabian Moreau compete for the starting spot on the other side of the defense. Jimmy Moreland projects as the inside slot corner.

The money on this deal won’t break the bank for the Redskins, but with two corners added in free agency and significantly more cash spent on Fuller, the Redskins 2020 secondary is starting to come into shape.

Washington probably feels somewhat comfortable with Fuller, Darby, Moreau and Moreland and will likely draft another corner in April. The team also signed Sean Davis from Pittsburgh with the intention to pair him with stalwart Landon Collins at the two safety spots.

For Redskins fans pushing for a reunion with former draft pick Bashaud Breeland, the Darby signing could end that possibility. Team sources said for weeks that Breeland wasn’t a strong consideration anyway.

Interestingly, Washington has now signed three defensive free agents in the secondary all with local ties. Darby grew up in Oxon Hill and played at Potomac High, Fuller went to Good Counsel High School and Davis grew up in D.C.

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Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': This scene is a prime example of Ron Rivera's integrity

Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': This scene is a prime example of Ron Rivera's integrity

Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode six, "That's How Football Works."

When an NFL team fires a head coach, they almost always try to move on like they're closing an Internet tab; just hit the 'X', get rid of the window and move on.

But when the Panthers parted ways with Ron Rivera last December, it was a totally different process. Rivera held a 30-minute press conference after the news broke. Veterans labeled it the worst day they had ever been a part of in the league. He even came back to the area a few months later to hold a yard sale, which ended up acting as a goodbye event that 3,000 people attended.

Yes, the coach was very successful during his tenure with the Panthers, but that kind of send-off doesn't happen for someone just because of division titles and a Super Bowl appearance. Those kinds of farewells are reserved for the people who are revered for their integrity, character and impact on everything, not just their impact on the field.

And in episode six of Amazon's 2018 edition of All Or Nothing, viewers were shown an example of what separates Rivera from most who share his position in the sport.

The early part of this installment focuses on Devin Funchess' inconsistent season and includes a flashback to an earlier practice where the receiver confronts then-QBs coach Scott Turner for being too slow with his play calling. 

After that incident, Funchess, Rivera and Turner step away to hash things out, at which point Funchess reveals his cousin had been killed the week before and the funeral had just taken place. Funchess apologizes repeatedly for his behavior. Turner then hugs him and does his best to calm him down.

Rivera, though, wants to take more time with the wideout to further talk to him and show his support. So, he brings Funchess to a bench, sits him down and puts his arm around him for an emotional one-on-one.

"I don't know what you're going through, but I can feel for you, all right?" Rivera says. "I appreciate you sharing that with both Scotty and I right now."

"If you ever have situations like that or something like that, you need to talk about stuff like that," he continues. "You know you can always talk to me all right?"

A few seconds and a few more encouraging remarks later, the two stand up, with Funchess returning to action and Rivera walking slowly behind him. Just before the scene ends, the latter sighs and appears to wipe a tear away.

In a show filled with crunching tackles and slow-motion touchdowns laid under triumphant music, this quiet exchange was easily one of its more powerful moments. It also was all one needs to see to understand why so many in Carolina were so affected when Rivera was fired.

So much about being a winner on the sidelines in the NFL is about schemes and creativity and strategy and risk-taking. But relating to players and supporting them and earning their trust is arguably more crucial than any system or depth chart decision ever could be.

Rivera's interaction with Funchess was a strong illustration of that second point. The Redskins aren't just getting an impressive coach; they're getting an impressive person. He's going to look out for his roster in every way, and in turn, that roster will likely do all it can for him.

Links to past reviews:

Episode 1: Rivera doesn't flinch after adversity hits

Episode 2: Rivera shows his feelings on distractions

Episode 3: Special teams truly mean something to Ron

Episode 4: Young Redskins will have a chance in 2020

Episode 5: Rivera goes off, and you'll want to see it