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Redskins March Madness - Ranking the top 16 players from QBX to Tress Way

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Redskins March Madness - Ranking the top 16 players from QBX to Tress Way

It’s March and everybody wants brackets. In Redskins land, that might seem a little weird, but let’s give it a try. 

Below are the Redskins' most important players, ranked 1 to 16. 

1) Trent Williams - If he can stay healthy for 16 games, it will make a huge difference, both in the run game and with whatever quarterback lines up behind him. 

2) QBX - A quarterback on a rookie deal will land on this team before training camp. This is the great unknown. 

3) Case Keenum - Fair or not, Keenum seems likely to win the Redskins starting QB job unless QBX is very impressive early on. For two offseasons, the Redskins brass could have gone with Colt McCoy as the starting QB, and for two straight offseasons, the Redskins brass has made a trade for another QB. Remember with Keenum, two years ago he was in the NFC Championship Game, and last year, John Elway paid him $36 million to start for the Broncos. 

4) Landon Collins - The Redskins paid the former Giants star safety a lot of money this offseason. They need Collins to be the defensive captain and leader, right away, and to clean up whatever communication issues troubled the unit last fall. If Collins can get back to his All Pro level of play from 2016 would be a big help too. 

5) Brandon Scherff - Coming off a torn pectoral muscle that caused him to miss most of 2018, the Redskins need Scherff all the way back. He is a big cog of the run game. He’s also going into a contract year, and getting an extension done for the former Hawkeye will be something to monitor all offseason. 

6) Reuben Foster - Too high? Nope. A first-round pick of the 49ers in 2017, Foster has all-world talent. He has also been in a lot of trouble since entering the NFL, starting at the combine and including two domestic violence arrests. Foster seems likely to be suspended, so not only do the Redskins need to prepare for Foster to handle the middle of their defense, they need to prepare for a few games without him too. If he can play, stay healthy, and stay out of trouble, he could be a game changer for the ‘Skins defense. This is a guy that was in the Top 5 on many draft boards but slipped because of character questions. 

7) Jonathan Allen - Here comes the Alabama run. Allen was great in his second season, and there is plenty of reason to expect even more development in 2019. Pro Football Focus rated Allen a +11.9 last year, that makes him the highest ranking returning player on the team. 

8) Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for another 12-sack season. He’s dependable and durable, and yet, perpetually underrated. Allen nudges slightly ahead of Kerrigan because of his ability to stop the run, but nobody on the Redskins team gets after the passer like RK91. 

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9) Daron Payne - Much like Allen, his rookie season in 2018 was strong, and his sophomore season should only get better. Payne registered five sacks and 56 tackles last season while it looked like he might have hit a rookie wall late in the year. Expect those numbers to improve. 

10) Adrian Peterson - The absolute best surprise for the Redskins in 2018, he finished the year with more than 1,000 yards rushing and the easy vote for offensive MVP. In fact, without AP, the Redskins would not have won seven games. Peterson is back, and while his role could eventually change with the return of Derrius Guide, he will still be the engine for Jay Gruden’s run game, at least early on. 

11) Josh Norman - Some fans might gripe about his high price tag, but Norman created seven turnovers last season. The Redskins might want to consider more zone coverage to play to Norman’s strengths as the entire secondary in the 2018 season seemed to lack lateral speed on crossing routes. 

12) Derrius Guice - The Redskins seem unlikely to have an explosive passing offense in 2019, and Peterson will get plenty of carries, but if Guice is all the way healthy by Week 1, he will help this team. He has speed and power and vision and burst. The team will need to figure out the timeshare between AP, Guice and Chris Thompson, and the second-year star out of LSU also needs to be cautious in his return from a serious knee injury and not rush things along. 

13) Quinton Dunbar - The Redskins’ defense was a different group after Dunbar injured his leg. A mysterious nerve injury, it remains to be seen if or when Dunbar will be all the way back. If he is, with Collins on the back end and Norman opposite Dunbar, the secondary could be strong. If. 

14) Matt Ioannidis - One of the Redskins' most productive players in 2018, Ioannidis registered 7.5 sacks in just nine starts last season. Unfortunately, for the second straight year, injuries hampered the Greek God of Sacks from finishing the season. Going into a contract year and with a full offseason of working out, Ioannidis could be poised for a big 2019 campaign. 

15) Colt McCoy - It’s absolutely possible McCoy is the Redskins starting QB. Jay Gruden loves McCoy and the former Longhorn knows the offense backwards and forwards. He has support from the locker room, and honestly, the media. That said, the team traded to acquire Keenum this offseason, just like they traded to acquire Alex Smith last year. In both of those spots, the team could have gone with McCoy instead. They didn’t. 

16) Tress Way - Is it crazy to have a punter on this list? Maybe. But Way was fantastic for the Redskins in 2018 as a decisive weapon in the field position game. Another year with no touchbacks in 2019 would be wildly impressive. 

First Four Out - Jordan Reed, Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, Chris Thompson. 
The Redskins didn’t get much out of these four players in 2018, and still won seven games. If two of these four can play a full season and match their salary with production, this team could surprise people. 

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Redskins Superlatives: These two veterans pick up the Most Likely to Become a Head Coach Award

Redskins Superlatives: These two veterans pick up the Most Likely to Become a Head Coach Award

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will be handing out Redskins Superlatives as they continue to preview the 2020 season.

Next up: They give their Most Likely to Become a Head Coach Award.

Pete's pick: Alex Smith

If Alex Smith wants to be a dentist when his NFL career is over, I bet he'd become a successful one. 

If Alex Smith wants to be a pilot when his NFL career is over, I bet he'd become a successful one. 

And if Alex Smith wants to be an antique art collector when his NFL career is over, I bet he'd become a successful one. 

All of that is meant to illustrate that I think Smith has the smarts and the personality to excel in whatever profession he chooses when his football playing days are officially done, but if he wants to stay in the sport, I could see him becoming a respected and winning head coach.

Now, his press conferences may not be the most interesting, and he wouldn't necessarily be the kind of guy to light into his team at halftime with an epic rant. He'd be more on the reserved and quiet side of things, far from the likes of Jon Gruden and Pete Carroll.

But don't doubt for a second that he wouldn't find a way to get it done. Ask any Redskin who has shared a locker room with him these past few years about his leadership abilities. Then take the extreme adversity he's handled after his unfortunate leg injury and add that into the equation.

Smith is a special person. And if he ever went in that direction, he'd be a special coach.

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JP's pick: Thomas Davis

A first-round pick in 2005, Davis has played nearly 200 career NFL games. He's made three Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro linebacker in 2015. He's played in a Super Bowl and dealt with major injuries. 

Any experience that players can go through, Thomas Davis has been there. 

And that might be why he projects best to be a head coach, especially considering how he talks about Ron Rivera in the role:

"He’s not a coach that beats you when you’re down. He’s not a coach that if you make a mistake or if you go out and you don’t have a particularly good game, he’s not that coach that’s going to be the guy that cusses you, he’s going to do whatever he can to lift your spirits and make sure that he motivates you to be better the next game. He’s not a coach that is going to go out and throw his players under the bus, he’s going to take full responsibility for whatever happens.”

Davis has seen his greatest successes playing for Rivera, another former linebacker. Davis has natural leadership abilities and an engaging charisma, similar to Rivera. 

Guessing what player will become a head coach is hard, and often, players that find a lot of individual success don't last in the gig. 

Davis seems different, though. As coaches say, Davis seems like he could be the guy to run his own room. 

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Brian Mitchell says an open-minded convo is needed on Redskins' name: 'In this life, things change'

Brian Mitchell says an open-minded convo is needed on Redskins' name: 'In this life, things change'

On Wednesday, it was reported that investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the Washington Redskins unless the team agrees to change its name.

The news came in the midst of an increase in pushback toward the franchise as demand for racial justice swells across the country. Early Thursday, former Redskins running back and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell spoke with Richard Graves of Sky Sports News about the issue. Mitchell stated that he believes change is going to come.

"Eventually, the way things seem to be rolling now, it's inevitable," Mitchell said.

Since his statements, the issue has only escalated. FedEx, which holds the naming rights to the Redskins stadium, released a statement saying “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name." Others around the sports world have also commented on the issue, and Nike has removed all Redskins merchandise from its site.

RELATED ARTICLE: NOW REDSKINS WAIT TO SEE IF NIKE, PEPSI WILL FOLLOW FEDEX'S LEAD

Amid the ever-growing movement, recent actions have only confirmed Mitchell's beliefs, rather than surprised him.

The main reason he believes this is the normal course is due to the major brands that are now involved. To Mitchell, wealth has become a determining factor in what changes get made in America.

“Nothing happens in our country unless someone’s money is affected," Mitchell told NBC Sports Washington. "When you see that start to happen, then you see things start to happen. I think immediately when I started hearing that thing I felt that somebody was going to say something.”

However, FedEx being the first to speak out was something Mitchell didn't fully expect to see so quickly. Not only because the company sponsors the Redskins stadium, and holds a deal with them through 2025, but because FedEx President and CEO Frederick Smith owns a minority stake in the Redskins. 

That decision by a brand so intertwined with the team for years is what has Mitchell thinking things are only beginning.

“I think when you see things like that, you have to believe that something is moving now in the direction that we think it would be moving," Mitchell said. “If they’re starting to stay stuff, if they felt the pressure to say something, I have to believe that somebody else will feel the pressure as well.”

While companies speaking out is a start, others with power will ultimately control the decision. Namely, Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has been outspoken in the past that the name is not something that is going to be changed, pointing to the long history of the franchise. Mitchell understands that point of view, but also feels that the name isn't what should represent the success.

He brings up a question he's asked time and time again surrounding the debate over the name.

“Do you cheer for the name or for the overall franchise, or do you cheer for players, cheer for the pride and all that type of things?" Mitchell said.

“Last time I saw people buying jerseys, I saw people buying jerseys with people's last names on the back of the jersey," Mitchell said. "Normally, what's on the back of the jersey is what people represent.”

In the end, that's what Mitchell believes it comes down to. Changing the name is not about tarnishing the legacy of the players and teams that have passed through Washington, but rather showing acceptance to those who are offended by the term.

Like in the past, life changes. As people grow and learn, holding on to the way things were in the past isn't what Mitchell believes to be right.

“Everybody wasn’t offended. But guess what? Those words left. You stopped using those words," Mitchell said “If something is offensive, we have to get to the point where we think of that all the same. In this life, things change, whether we want it or not sometimes. But I’ve always been told by my coaches when I played sports, you have to adjust. I think the same thing has to happen in life.” 

So, how exactly will this change come about? For Mitchell, who has dealt with this discussion since he joined the team in 1990, the same formula he preached back then needs to be enacted now. People need to come together with an open mind and a willingness to communicate, something he's seen the country struggle with constantly.

“I said then that what needs to happen is you need to have adults to sit down, and have a conversation. An educated, mature conversation, and then come up with a decision," Mitchell said. “You don’t go into the decision with a closed mind. You don’t go into a conversation with a closed mind. If you go into it with an open mind and just listen.”

No matter what comes in the future, Mitchell has seen enough to know the current state won't remain the same. As he said earlier in the day, there's no avoiding what is to come.

“It seems to be inevitable that something is going to happen," Mitchell said. 

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