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Redskins plan on keeping rookie WR Steven Sims, per report

Redskins plan on keeping rookie WR Steven Sims, per report

Steven Sims impressed just about anybody that watched him this summer. At 5-foot-10 and 176 lbs., Sims did not arrive with much fanfare as he was an undrafted free agent from Kansas. 

Every time he touched the field, however, he proved to be electric. That peaked last Thursday during the final preseason game against the Ravens, where Sims caught a touchdown and delivered a number of impressive punt returns. 

As Sims became a fan favorite, Washington head coach Jay Gruden said that he continued to be intrigued by the rookie. Saturday marks NFL cut down day, where rosters must go from 90- to 53-men by 4 p.m. It's obviously a gut-wrenching time for a number of players, but it looks like Sims made the team. 

It's unknown what Sims' role will be going into the season, or how many receivers the Redskins will keep on the roster. His special-teams ability could keep him active on game days, but he projects to be the backup to Trey Quinn, at least in the early going. Quinn has been dealing with a thumb injury but is expected to be fine for Week 1 in Philadelphia. 

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What will make a successful training camp for Washington? Brian Mitchell explains

What will make a successful training camp for Washington? Brian Mitchell explains

The year 2020 hasn't been the least bit normal, but it's the middle of August and NFL training camp is here.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic still being extremely prevalent in the United States, the NFL and its players association have agreed to several protocols to help conduct a season in as safe of a manner as possible. Such include daily testing, frequent social distancing and the elimination of all preseason contests.

So, as Washington gears up for the 2020 season, which begins in almost exactly a month, NBC Sports Washington's Brian Mitchell explains the three most important things the team must do over the next few weeks to be as prepared as possible for when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town on Sept. 13.

The first key, which comes as no surprise, is that players must do everything they can to stay healthy and limit their risk of being exposed to those who have contracted the virus.

"First of all, the players must take care of themselves off the football field," Mitchell said.

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In an interview with local media on Tuesday, veteran Ryan Kerrigan stressed the importance of players being as careful and aware of their surroundings when they are away from the facility as they are when inside the Park. Some teams, such as the Dallas Cowboys, have had players all check-in to the same hotel during camp and create their own mini bubble to limit the risk of contracting the virus.

"People think it’s what we do here at the [facility] that’s important, but really, we’re taking all the protocols here at the [facility]," Kerrigan said. "It’s how you’re handling it away from [the facility], how you’re handling it at home. You’ve just got to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions and mask up. We’re all dependent on each other to have a season, so we’ve really got to be responsible not only here but socially."

On the field, Mitchell believes that one of the crucial things Washington must figure out over the next few weeks is how the left side of the offensive line will look.

"They have to find a way to get that left side solidified if they're going to have a chance to go with Dwayne Haskins, have the young receiver group go out and do some things and have that talented running back room go out and do what they need to do," Mitchell said.

Longtime Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams is now in San Francisco, while left guard Ereck Flowers left Washington for Jacksonville in free agency this offseason. Washington has a few candidates vying for the starting gig at both left tackle and left guard, but what the starting lineup will look like in Week 1 remains a mystery.

The team has promising young talent at the skill positions on offense. But as Mitchell said, it'll be hard to see that young talent maximize its potential if the Washington offensive line is struggling in 2020.

Mitchell's final point as to what will make a successful camp has to do with players maximizing their time on the field.

"Players learn in the room and then out on the field. All they've been doing is studying," Mitchell said. "Now, they need to make sure it's implemented properly, then they can go out there and hit the ground running. If you're thinking, you're not going to be performing well."

In a normal year, the second week of August usually means teams are practicing with full pads and already have a preseason game or two under the belt. But due to coronavirus wiping out all in-person offseason activities, much of what Washington has done thus far resembles an OTAs session in May, rather than a typical training camp practice in August.

With no preseason games, there are plenty of question marks up and down Washington's roster that won't have an answer until Week 1. That lack of exposure to other teams before the regular season begins is something head coach Ron Rivera said could give Washington an advantage, but also something that makes his job over the next few weeks a lot more difficult.

While the team's opening contest is still over 30 days away, there's still plenty Washington must accomplish over the next month in order to come out victorious in the opener and start its season on the right foot. 

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Michael Irvin compares Cowboys drafting CeeDee Lamb to Kevin Durant signing with Warriors

Michael Irvin compares Cowboys drafting CeeDee Lamb to Kevin Durant signing with Warriors

The Cowboys, on paper, got one of the biggest steals in this past April's NFL Draft when standout Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb fell to Dallas at 17th overall. Lamb was one of the best pass-catchers in the country during his time with the Sooners and was predicted to be a top 15 pick by almost every draft expert.

Lamb will wear the No. 88 in Dallas, the same number that Hall of Fame wideout Michael Irvin sported for the Cowboys years earlier. And Irvin believes the addition of the rookie wideout will turn Dallas' offense to the league's best.

In fact, Irvin is so confident in what Lamb will bring to the table for the Cowboys that he compared the addition of the rookie wide receiver to one of the NBA's most controversial and talent-shifting free agent signings ever.

"What the Cowboys did in the 2020 NFL Draft, by adding CeeDee Lamb to the No. 1 offense in the National Football League — what Will McClay did, what Jerry Jones those guys, what Mike McCarthy did by adding this guy CeeDee Lamb, is akin, or almost tantamount to Kevin Durant being added to a 73-win Warriors team," Irvin said.

Woah, woah, woah.

Yes, Irvin just directly compared the addition of Lamb in Dallas to Kevin Durant -- a top 3 basketball player in the world (!!) -- joining a previously 73-win Warriors team.

There are a few things that immediately stand out when comparing the two that make Irvin's claim seem quite outlandish.

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For one, there's a significant talent gap between Lamb and Durant within their respective sports.

Lamb -- while an incredible collegiate wide receiver -- is still a rookie. On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic eliminated all in-person offseason activities, meaning the rookie adjustment period for everyone will be a lot tougher in 2020.

Durant, on the other hand, was one of the three best basketball players on the planet when he made the move to Golden State in 2016. That's why everyone was so upset by KD's decision to join the already stacked Warriors, who had made the NBA Finals the two seasons prior and just came off an NBA record 73-win season.

On top of that, Durant had just been eliminated by Golden State in the playoffs after his Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead. While Golden State was the better team during that season, Durant's Thunder team had the talent to win the NBA championship that season. So, his move to the Warriors was deemed the easy way out to win a championship.

Secondly, Durant's move to Golden State turned an already title contender into an enormous title favorite. In Dallas, Lamb will almost certainly improve an already explosive Cowboys offense, but no one is saying the addition of the rookie wide receiver is the sole move that will turn Big D into a Super Bowl favorite.

"They were already great offensively and they got one of the best players and one of the best young talents, at WR in the National Football League," Irvin said. "It is crazy what the Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to do."

Irvin is right in that aspect. With the addition of Lamb, the Cowboys have one of the best wide receiver corps in the NFL. Dallas re-signed four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper to a lucrative five-year deal during free agency and still has promising third-year pass-catcher Michael Gallup in the fold, too.

But even if Lamb turns into the star wide receiver many expect him to be, putting him in the same category as Durant's move to Golden State is just preposterous. Few things, if any, will ever compare to that. 

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