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Redskins rookie minicamp observations: Notes on Haskins, McLaurin, undrafted guys and more

Redskins rookie minicamp observations: Notes on Haskins, McLaurin, undrafted guys and more

ASHBURN — Football has returned! Sort of.

Saturday marked the second day of Redskins rookie minicamp and the first day in which the media could watch the action in person. And while there were plenty of guys inside of the Redskins' practice bubble whose NFL careers will be over after this weekend, there was also plenty of hype surrounding Dwayne Haskins, Montez Sweat and the rest of Washington's 2019 draft class.

Here are the key takeaways from all that went down...

  • The first song blasting over the speakers at practice? "Old Town Road." Strong start for the Burgundy and Gold in that department.
  • Haskins, of course, was the main story. There'll be more detailed breakdowns of his performance to come, but if you want one word to describe it right now, it'd be "uneven." Now, that's to be expected: It was only his second session with the 'Skins and he was throwing to targets he has barely worked with, many of whom weren't exactly polished. But there were times Saturday where he made some throws that were fantastic, and others where he forced the issue or clearly wasn't on the same page. 
  • Here's one thing about the 15th overall pick, though: You will rarely hear about him not having enough arm for a throw. When he's able to set up and drive it, he drives it.
  • Haskins' best highlight might've come early in 1-on-1 drills, where he lofted a high 30-ish yarder to Terry McLaurin for a score. McLaurin had broken free on a go-route and Haskins really couldn't have delivered it any better. 
  • Speaking of McLaurin, you could've taken the numbers off of every wideout and still easily guessed he was the one who played college ball with Haskins. They were cooking in 1-on-1s.
  • Another tidbit on the Ohio State WR: In talking with him, you can really tell the pride he takes in doing things other than catching the ball. That's his reputation, and you understand why. "Anytime you step on the field, you should do everything that's expected you to the best of your ability," he said. "That's how you respect the game... I'm the type of guy who's willing to do anything for the team."
  • Haskins wasn't the only 2019 first-rounder on the field Saturday. Montez Sweat was there, too, and it looked like he didn't belong — in a good way. He looked like a five-year NFL vet just because of how large and athletic he is. Afterward, Jay Gruden remarked about how Sweat "eats up ground" when he runs and said he sees him as one of the team's fastest players already.
  • Rob Ryan was coaching up the linebackers. He's awesome. That's all.
  • Gruden spoke highly of many youngsters while at the podium, including Kelvin Harmon. The head coach compared Harmon to Mohamed Sanu, whom he coached while with the Bengals, and thinks he can work inside at some point in addition to his duties as the Z on the outside. 
  • Harmon met with reporters walking off the field and got the chance to reflect on the draft profile that said he plays with a "big-dog swagger." He agrees with the evaluation. "It comes from my competitive nature," he explained. "I'm always trying to bully the guy in front of me, whether I have to block him or win the route... Always trying to win every 1-on-1 battle." That's a good quote.
  • There were a few non-rookies in Ashburn participating as well. Josh Woodrum was the other QB along with Haskins, while Darvin Kidsy and JP Holtz were working with the offense, too.
  • Not only was it the first time seeing this collection of players, it was also the first opportunity to see some of the new coaches on staff. With Ryan and Ray Horton now also in the mix, everywhere you looked, you saw an assistant with tons of NFL experience and knowledge. It'll be an interesting dynamic to follow all year and will make training camp worth listening to as much as it'll be worth watching. 
  • This time of year is always where one or two out-of-nowhere prospects make a name for himself. Could that guy this year be Steven Sims? The Kansas receiver popped a few times both in team and individual action and Gruden mentioned him by name in his presser. Last season, Gruden mentioned a different Sims, Cam, as well as Danny Johnson after minicamp and both of those players eventually made the 53-man roster. Not saying this Sims is a lock, but just file that away.
  • Lastly, the Redskins have already inked one tryout player, per our Ben Standig. Deion Harris, a North Dakota corner, did enough to secure a spot on the offseason roster. An Achilles injury caused him to go undrafted, but at one point, draft guru Mel Kiper was very high on him.


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'My whole house is going to be jersey'd out': Redskins players explain why they swap jerseys

'My whole house is going to be jersey'd out': Redskins players explain why they swap jerseys

Tress Way wants an office. Does he need an office? No, and he admitted as much this week at Redskins Park. Regardless, the punter wants one and he has a vision for it, too.

That vision doesn't include a computer or a chair with solid back support or a fancy stapler, either. Instead, it's all about what will be hanging on the walls.

NFL jerseys. Lots and lots of NFL jerseys.

Way, like many of his teammates and many other players around the league, has been swapping jerseys with opponents following games for a handful of years now. Between the uniforms he has hanging in his locker at the organization's Ashburn practice facility and the collection he's developed in past seasons, he's now picked up more than enough to decorate that future office.

He loves the thought of it as much as he hates the thought of a touchback. 

"That'd be awesome," he said. 

Honestly, it's hard not to notice the other, non-Burgundy and Gold colors that dot the walls of the Redskins' locker room. About half of the players feature jerseys from other teams among their other belongings, if not more.

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So, who do they target?

The most common answer is guys that they suited up with before the NFL. Way, for example, boasts one from his college long snapper. Quinton Dunbar looks for fellow Florida Gators, while Tim Settle hunts for other Virginia Tech Hokies. 

There are other reasons to make an exchange, however. Paul Richardson aims to acquire them from anyone who grew up in Los Angeles, like he did. Dunbar, meanwhile, will search for stars he's looked up to. After matching up with the 49ers, for example, he hopes to scoop Richard Sherman's uniform.

"I'm going to hit him up on Instagram," Dunbar said.

Some swaps are prearranged, such as the one Dunbar wants to orchestrate, while others are totally unplanned. Settle explained he doesn't go into games thinking about it, but if he takes a picture with someone, he'll offer to make a trade on the spot. 

Though the defensive tackle doesn't plan them out, he does have a specific idea for what he'll eventually do with the threads.

"My whole house is going to be jersey'd out," he said. "It's something that you get to work on, you're building something. It's every man's dream to have a nice, little decked-out man cave."

There is one especially prized piece currently on display in Ashburn, and judging by the amount of interest in it, it may need its own surveillance crew. That is the Tom Brady jersey that's dangling in Adrian Peterson's locker, a gift from one Hall of Famer to another.

Settle, who sacked Brady in Week 5, has long idolized the QB. So, please forgive the jealousy that creeps into his voice as he talks about the fact that Peterson was the one to receive Brady's No. 12. He understands it, but he's not thrilled about it.

"They've been in the league, they're dinosaurs," he said. "Two dinosaurs in the league."

Way, meanwhile, also considered approaching Brady after the Washington-New England contest. Ultimately, he decided against it for fear of being shut down.

"I'm terrified of that, that's why I never asked Tom Brady to switch," Way said, grinning. "I thought about asking Tom, 'Tom, I know you look up to my game, I look up to your game.' I was afraid of that rejection. Same with Brees that day that he broke the record against us [in 2018]. 'I know you look up to me, I look up to you. Maybe we could switch.'"

Settle and Way may have missed out on landing Brady's, but they have other names on their lists they intend to track down. And while the jerseys will one day be framed and mounted in offices or man caves, they will also represent something more than a sweet accessory to a room.

"They're part of memories, too," Settle said. "This is a dream. Trading jerseys with somebody you grew up with or played with or you look up to or that you want to meet, I'm all for it." 


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After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

Patrick Mahomes hurt his knee Thursday night, and while the severity is unknown, Kansas City's Super Bowl plans just got dealt a major hurdle. 

The truth is if Mahomes needs knee surgery then the Chiefs might need to recalibrate their hopes for January and beyond. If Mahomes only needs rest, however, then the Redskins might actually be able to help. 

It's no secret Washington and Kansas City know how to make a trade. January 2018 the two teams worked out a blockbuster when quarterback Alex Smith came to the Redskins and cornerback Kendall Fuller along with a third-round pick went to the Chiefs. The same power brokers are in charge now that pulled off that trade: Andy Reid in KC and Bruce Allen in DC.

And oddly enough the Redskins have a bit of a surplus in veteran quarterbacks. Neither Case Keenum or Colt McCoy can replace Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, but either signal caller might be able to keep the Chiefs afloat for a few weeks.

The trade deadline is approaching fast, coming October 29th. The Redskins are currently 1-5 and there is no reason to keep both Keenum and McCoy on the roster the rest of the year. 

Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick, and eventually, the Ohio State star will start for the Redskins. Beyond that, both Keenum and McCoy have contracts that expire after this season. Neither player figures in the long-term plans for the Burgundy and Gold, and certainly the future is to eventually go to Haskins.

Want one more mitigating factor? Even after his devestating injury last season, Alex Smith is due more than $20 million guaranteed next year. He has been at practice and games for weeks, and appears to be close with Washington upper management. It's not crazy to think that in some role Smith will be around in 2020 along with Haskins. That makes Keenum or McCoy that much more expendable down the stretch. 

If Kansas City needs somebody to run their offense for a few weeks, the Redskins should dangle McCoy or Keenum. Or both. 

It's unclear that either player would entice much of an offer, but keep in mind, McCoy is widely respected around the league and Keenum had the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game just two seasons ago. The return for Washington might not be much, but something is always more thank nothing. 

Most deals get made around necessity, and Kansas City might have a big need.