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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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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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