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Redskins Mailbag: If everyone expected an 0-2 start, why is everyone freaking out?

Redskins Mailbag: If everyone expected an 0-2 start, why is everyone freaking out?

Mailbags are a fun way to interact with fans and answer some questions, and it's high time that I tried one.

By the way, this is JP, and I'm going to answer some questions that came in via my Twitter. 

Here we go:

1. Early-season emotions

James Lowe (@lowey133) - "If everyone expected 0-2 why is everyone going mad about us being 0-2?"

This is a great question and a good starting point. When the schedule came out in April, most folks thought the Redskins would lose the first two games. Vegas installed the Redskins as sizable underdogs in both contests, and sure enough, the Redskins lost. So the freakout might not be warranted, BUT, the manner in which Washington lost both games is quite concerning.

The Redskins were supposed to be led by their defense, and that just hasn't been the case. Greg Manusky's group ranks at or near the bottom in almost every meaningful defensive stat through two games this year. The secondary seems completely overwhelmed and confused, and those were the exact problems the team allegedly addressed this offseason. Also, the run game has been nonexistent so far.

Collectively the Redskins have less than 80 rush yards on the season, and Derrius Guice is on the injured reserve. Trent Williams not showing up and Jordan Reed's concussion situation probably aren't helping to settle many fans fears either. 

2. Contract progress for Scherff?

Defend the District (@DefendforOldDC) - "How likely do you think it is at this point that Brandon Scherff will get a new deal here?"

At this point, I don't think it's likely. Scherff is now 14 games away from free agency, and by all the whispers I've heard, the Redskins didn't really make an offer that would keep him tied to Washington.

It's possible the Redskins' brass doesn't want to go north of $14 million a year for a guard, even a guard as good as Scherff. It's also possible the team will use a franchise or transition tag on Scherff next offseason.

Whatever happens, I would not expect a contract extension between Scherff and the Redskins this season. 

3. Three-pack of quick hitters

Jared Wasser (@JaredAWasser) - "% chance Dwayne Haskins in the starting QB week 1 for the Redskins in the 2020-2021 season?"

100 percent. 

Hamid Safdari (@Hamid_Safdari) - "When will Norman be benched?"

Not happening. At all. 

Jim (@RedskinsFanStil) - "Do you get paid more for doing the mailbag?"

No. Kindness of my heart. 

4. Gruden's hot seat and a cold start

T.G. (@Coach_TommyG) - "How many wins do you think Jay needs to stay as HC of the Redskins? O/U 9.5?"

Well, Gruden himself said he needs to make the playoffs to keep his job in 2020. And sitting at 0-2 in the NFC East, a division title already seems pretty far out of reach.

That means Gruden's squad needs to grab a Wild Card spot, and to be safe, get 10 wins to get there. Which, with only 14 remaining, means the Redskins need to go 10-4 the rest of the way. Seems like an uphill climb.

Maybe 9-7 gets a Wild Card spot, which means 9-5 record the rest of the way. 

5. Defensive coaching tea leaves

Cory (@CoryMartens) - "Is the real reason Manusky is still here is because if he goes, Jim Tomsula goes with him? Any chance Jim T could be a replacement candidate for Manusky?"

A lot to discuss here. I think Greg Manusky is still the Redskins defensive coordinator because the team has only played two games. No matter how bad something looks, making a decision this early in the season seems rash. Now, if the Bears terrible offense drops 30 on the Redskins on Monday night, things could get ugly for Manusky.

As for Tomsula, he is very close with Manusky. I don't think he would even consider taking the defensive coordinator job if Manusky got fired, but I'm not positive the D-line leader would leave the team either. Tomsula is a man of immense loyalty and he cares deeply for his players. I'm not sure he would leave his guys in the middle of the year.

Complete honesty: I just don't know

6. Stadium update?

2Jet (@Y2Banana) - "Stadium update?" 

I've heard some stuff, but nothing I can share. I do think there will be either an official word or some reportable news soon.

My biggest hint: it will be north of the Potomac. 

7. Inside concussion protocol

Scotty Bugatti (@ScottAument213) - "Reed this week? Any updates? Also favorite pregame snack lol" 

When players are in the NFL concussion protocol, the media isn't allowed to speak with them. I have no idea Jordan Reed's status, but hope he takes all the time he needs.

As for a pregame snack, I'm a popcorn junkie. I love popcorn. Like more than a friend. 

Thanks for the questions folks. We will do this again next week. If you made it this far, I owe you a beer.

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Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Guys like Thomas Davis, Sean Davis and JD McKissic have all gone through their first sessions with the local media this week now that they're officially Redskins. Kendall Fuller had his, too, but because he's coming back to Washington after two years in Kansas City, it was really his second first session with the beat reporters.

So, here are three takeaways from the corner's call on Wednesday, which was a very useful way to catch up with him:

1) He doesn't know yet what his role will be — and that's perfectly fine with him

Fuller was at his best in the slot with the Redskins, but he moved around with the Chiefs, taking snaps on the outside as well as at safety in addition to the action he saw inside. He's essentially as versatile as a tuxedo T-shirt, giving Washington options in terms of what they'll do with him.

As of now, he's still not exactly sure where Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio will ultimately employ him. Regardless, he anticipates making an impact no matter where lines up.

"I'm just excited to show my talent, knowing that I can play anywhere on the field," he told reporters. 

Fuller is clearly the team's highest-profile acquisition of the offseason so far, and his versatility is part of why he was such a priority for the Burgundy and Gold to bring in. Add that quality next to his age — he just recently turned 25 — and it's easy to envision him having those chances to show that talent for quite some time.

2) He, too, is well aware of what the Redskins are building up front

Thomas Davis explained in his time with the media on Tuesday how the likes of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ioannidis and others made joining the Redskins an enticing thought. A day later, Fuller echoed that thought.

"When you're a DB and you're looking at the front seven, you know how important that is for you and your success," Fuller said.

Of course, the franchise went 3-13 with that same crew just a year ago, but the hope is that they'll fare far better with a scheme switch and improved coaching (and, also, the possible arrival of Chase Young). Fuller believes he stands to greatly benefit from their presence. 

3) Being back home is a giant bonus for him

The Maryland native and former Virginia Tech Hokie identified Ron Rivera's reputation and the group mentioned above as things that convinced him to return to the organization that drafted him. But being back in the area factored into his free agent decision, too, as it's a place he's obviously comfortable in.

In doing so, he let slip that he used to forbid his mom from attending afternoon games to ensure she was at home preparing dinner for him. It sounds like that rule is about to be reinstalled. 

"I had to let her know that she's going to have to start doing that again," he said.

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Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Like many of the Redskins new free agent signings, safety Sean Davis held an introductory phone call with local media on Wednesday, as any normal press conference will unlikely be happening in the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the call, Davis answered questions about his role with the Redskins will be, what the free agency process was like, and his excitement to be with the Burgundy and Gold, among other topics.

Here are three major takeaways from his conference call.

1. He's completely healthy.

During the first three seasons of his career, Davis was very durable. The safety missed just one game between 2016-2018 while starting in 40 of them.

But during the Steelers Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots, Davis suffered a shoulder injury, one that cost him the rest of his 2019 season. 

Davis was asked very early on during the conference call how his shoulder is currently feeling, and the safety's answer should please many Redskins fans.

"My shoulder’s good," Davis said. "I passed my physical, so I’m feeling strong, feeling great and I’m ready to get back on the football field. My shoulder is doing good."

It's worth wondering if the Steelers would have tried to Davis, should he had been healthy during the final season of his rookie deal. The Redskins jumped on Davis in free agency, signing him to a one-year contract, essentially a prove-it deal for the safety just hours after the new league year began. Should the 26-year-old have a bounce-back season and stay healthy in 2020, he'll set himself up for a nice payday next year.

2. Davis models his game after the late Sean Taylor.

It was a little ironic that Davis was introduced to the local media on April 1, the same day Sean Taylor was born 37 years ago. Davis, who grew up a Redskins fan in Prince George's County, said Taylor had -- and still has -- a major influence on his game.

"He was probably the biggest influence on my football game," Davis said of Taylor. "I’ve been wearing 21 since high school. I had to wear 28 for Pittsburgh my first two years, but once 21 opened up it was a no-brainer I had to jump on it. He was just an awesome player, a huge role model."

Davis won't sport No. 21 in Washington, as that number has been off-limits since Taylor's tragic death in 2007. While the newest Redskins safety will have to choose another number (No. 28 has also not been worn by any Redskins player since Darrell Green), Davis hopes he can have an impact on the field in a way Taylor once did.

"He was just a beast, he was the best and I’ve tried to emulate my game after him," Davis said. "He instilled fear in the receivers, he was doing everything imaginable, so he was really a freak athlete and I just try to do what I’m supposed to do, but also unleash the inner beast in me and play like Sean Taylor. That’s my goal every week I’m out there, play like Sean."

3. Davis has played multiple positions and sees his versatility as a strength.

Davis, like many of the Redskins free agent signings this offseason, has experience playing multiple positions. In Pittsburgh, Davis played both safety positions -- each for a full season as a starter -- and played a little cornerback, too.

"I have played a lot of positions. I just like being on the field, honestly," Davis said. "I feel like I can play any position you really want me to. As long as I’m on the field, I feel like I’m going to make an impact on defense."

The Redskins expect Davis to play free safety, as Landon Collins will play the strong safety role lining up closer to the line of scrimmage. However, Davis and Collins both have experience playing all over the field, allowing the Burgundy and Gold to get creative with their looks next season.

"I’m just looking forward to being the deep guy, being the one that everyone has to depend on," Davis said on playing free safety.

Since Davis moved from strong safety to free safety in 2018, one aspect of his game he's really focused on is making open-field tackles. He'll likely have plenty of opportunities to make those with the Redskins next season.

"Being the last line of defense, open-field tackling – it’s one of the hardest things in football and it’s one thing that I pride myself on," he said. "Each year, I’ve missed less tackles. I’m just looking forward to improving my game each and every year and the best is yet to come."

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