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Redskins Position Battles: Who will become second wide receiver across from Terry McLaurin?

Redskins Position Battles: Who will become second wide receiver across from Terry McLaurin?

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will examine some of the more critical position battles you'll see on the Redskins over the next few months.

Next up? That second outside receiver spot across from Terry McLaurin.

Contenders

Kelvin Harmon, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Cody Latimer, Cam Sims

JP's outlook

*Before we dig into the position battle at wide receiver, let’s establish what we know. McLaurin will be the lead dog and Steven Sims will lead the work at the slot. Antonio Gibson could get some slot receiver work too, which will be an interesting wrinkle, but it’s important to identify the actual position battle in play. Those guys aren't exactly involved in this particular discussion.

*McLaurin’s going to play the X receiver position, even if he’s learning all the different positions, as he explained last week: “ I’m excited to play wherever they put me, to be honest. X is kind of like your boundary receiver, your one-on-one guy. Your Z is kind of like your flanker who moves with the formation and your S is like your typical slot, he can move anywhere as well. In this offense, which is nice, I can be the X, but really I’m the Z in a certain formation, so that versatility is really important for what I think Coach Turner and our offense is trying to get done this year.”

*Now, let's get down to business. The position battle here shapes up to be between second-year wideout Harmon and rookie wide receiver Gandy-Golden. I think Harmon wins the battle, and here's why. 

*Gandy-Golden has a lot of potential and physical tools, but at least early on, the jump from Liberty University to the NFL will be significant, especially without a normal offseason. 

*McLaurin is a playmaker. Sims is too. The Redskins hope Gibson will be. Harmon can make tough, contested catches even if he doesn't have deep speed. There's a role for that with a young QB that can trust somebody on 3rd down. Dwayne Haskins has known Harmon for more than a decade from growing up in New Jersey; with no offseason and a new offense, that familiarity could help. 

OTHER BATTLES TO WATCH: LEFT TACKLE | TIGHT END | QUARTERBACK

 

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Pete's outlook

*Like JP, I think Harmon wins this battle for 2020. His comfort level with Haskins, his bigger body and his ability to make a difference as a blocker all make him an appealing cog in this offense. While McLaurin has his straight-line speed and Sims has his shiftiness, Harmon brings his toughness. That element will matter.

*Going off of that last point, I'll never forget what Harmon told me at his first rookie minicamp last May: "I'm always trying to bully the guy in front of me, whether I have to block him or win the route." Ron Rivera is going to love that attitude more than I love making pico de gallo (it's a hobby I've picked up in quarantine and I really love it, just so you know).

*Now, while I certainly see Harmon edging out Gandy-Golden this year, I still like AGG's ceiling more in the long run. He and Harmon have very comparable college stats, yes, and their speed is similar as well, but I like Gandy-Golden's frame and penchant for highlight reel catches to eventually make him a more productive option. I still expect Harmon to carve out a very nice NFL career, but give me Gandy-Golden to finish with more yards and catches (let's talk in like 10 years to see if I was right or not).

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Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants."

That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic, and that they'd consult with local health officials.

This announcement comes two weeks after Packers CEO Mark Murphy had said that any Packers home games this year would include no more than 10,000-12,000 spectators, if any fans were allowed at all.

All other public areas at Lambeau Field, including parking lots, the pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame, will be closed during the home games that have no fans. The Titletown area surrounding Lambeau Field will remain open to the public, but no team-run, game-day activities will be planned.

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Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

As the Washington Football Team continues to ramp things up in training camp, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to officially name the team's starting quarterback.

However, for Team 980 radio host Kevin Sheehan, there's only one direction the team should go at the position.

"If he doesn't start September 13th against the Eagles, it's a major indictment on Dwayne Haskins," Sheehan said Thursday on Washington Talk & Friends.

In the QB room, there's Haskins, a first-round pick from a year ago that many expect to be the eventual starter. But Washington did trade this offseason for Kyle Allen, who has spent the past two seasons under Rivera and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera said that if there was no normal offseason program due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen would have a "leg up" on Haskins entering camp. 

Despite all that has transpired the past several months, Sheehan doesn't want the odd, pandemic-riddled offseason to be an excuse as to why Haskins shouldn't be the team's Week 1 starter.

"I don't care what anybody says about the offseason, minicamps and OTAs missing and Kyle Allen getting traded for, [Haskins] has got to be the guy," Sheehan said. 

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Earlier this week, Rivera praised Haskins for how he's handled everything this offseason. He commended the passer for how much of the playbook he's already mastered, albeit that being less than three-quarters of it.

Rivera's ultimate decision for who the team's starter will be isn't just between Haskins and Allen. Besides those two young signal-callers, there's also another QB in the mix: veteran Alex Smith. The 35-year-old is currently on the active PUP list, but has been cleared by his personal doctors to return to football activities.

Smith's journey is remarkable. After nearly losing his leg (and maybe his life) from infections that occurred as a result of the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November of 2018, Smith has worked incredibly hard to return to football. 

Even if Smith does get the clearance from Washington team doctors, Sheehan doesn't envision a scenario where the quarterback takes a meaningful snap for Washington.

"I don't see Alex Smith taking anything other than, if he takes a snap on an NFL field, it'll be ceremonial," Sheehan said. "That's what I'm hoping for, too, but I hope he gets back to where he's cleared and then decides not to play."

RELATED: DOES ALEX SMITH MAKE SENSE AS WASHINGTON'S QUARANTINE QB?

When asked why he thinks Rivera has not come out and named Haskins the starter already, Sheehan explained that the second-year passer may benefit from believing he's in a competition.

On his radio show, Sheehan spoke to former Washington cornerback Shawn Springs, who happens to be one of Haskins' biggest mentors. Springs explained to him that Haskins may benefit from not being given the title of QB1 just yet.

"[Springs] really thinks that it's better if Dwayne perceives he's in a competition," Sheehan said. "Maybe Ron recognizes that, too."

While Haskins may not be the starter just yet, plenty of signs point towards the second-year passer being Washington's Week 1 starting quarterback. And that's exactly why Sheehan and many others in the D.C. area believe he is the best direction for the team to go.

"I think he's fearless," Sheehan said of Haskins. "This thing is not above him, it's not too much for him."

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