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Redskins Superlatives: These two defenders receive the Most Likely to Break Out award

Redskins Superlatives: These two defenders receive the Most Likely to Break Out award

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

First up: They give their Most Likely to Break Out award to two defensive players.

Pete's pick: Daron Payne

Daron Payne has played two seasons in the NFL, and he's still younger than guys like Montez Sweat, Terry McLaurin, Wes Martin and Jimmy Moreland. The dude turned 23 a month ago. That's a major reason why he's my selection for this superlative.

Another reason? The way Ron Rivera is talking about him.

When discussing Washington's interior rushers last week, Rivera did the thing nearly every coach likes to do and mentioned everyone — Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioanndis and Tim Settle — by name.

Yet the way he discussed Payne in particular made it sound like he expects the third-year lineman to really take off starting in Week 1. It was a subtle remark, yes, but it certainly came off as an indication that Rivera sees something special inside of Payne.

With so many talented pieces up front, it's easy to forget about No. 94, especially after a somewhat quiet follow-up to his rookie performance (he notched just two sacks after tallying five in his debut campaign and also saw his tackles for loss and QB hits drop). Payne himself is literally quiet, too, which may cause him to be a bit overlooked.

No one will be overlooking him in a few months, though. Like every other defender, he's going to benefit from the Redskins' scheme change and he's going to put together what he learned in 2018 and 2019 to have a very productive 2020.

Right now, it feels like fans largely view Payne as someone who's "good" and "solid." Those same fans should start preparing more complimentary adjectives now, so they'll be ready to use them when the time comes.

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JP's pick: Cole Holcomb

To begin, it's good to know Pete reads my content. 

As for Holcomb, he was a fifth-round rookie on an awful team that fired its coach after Week 5 and fired its team president after Week 17. Still, Holcomb, the North Carolina linebacker that didn't even get invited to the NFL Combine, made 105 tackles. He finished inside the Top 40 of NFL linebackers for tackles, and he gained steam as the weather got cold. 

New Redskins defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said that Holcomb showed "real speed and linebacking ability" during his rookie season and it's easy to project the second-year player as the starting weak side linebacker in Washington's new 4-3 scheme. Also, have we mentioned Chase Young? The second overall pick out of Ohio State should make the entire Redskins defense better, as well as the additions of Rivera and Del Rio. 

Holcomb already had a good rookie year in 2019 despite being under the radar as a late round pick. By the time 2020 ends, Holcomb won't be under the radar anymore. 

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Former Redskins CB Shawn Springs wouldn't mind a red, white and blue color scheme with new name

Former Redskins CB Shawn Springs wouldn't mind a red, white and blue color scheme with new name

Over the next few days, and in the spirit of a Presidential election year, NBC Sports Washington is polling ex-Redskins players and NFLers who grew up in the DMV for their thoughts on the burgundy-and-gold's pending name change - and what name THEY would like to see.  

With the Redskins officially reviewing their name for a seemingly imminent change, suggestions from fans have poured in. 

Not only do you see name ideas like the "Washington Red Tails" or "Washington Warriors", but nowadays you see logo mockups, uniform designs and new color schemes to go along with them. With almost too many to choose, former Washington all-pro cornerback Shawn Springs highlighted the best suggestions he's seen.

"I like the Washington Warriors or the Senators," Springs told NBC Sports Washington. "With the Senators, you have the Capitals and Nationals, so you can keep that theme in DC."

Springs, a Silver Spring native, played in Washington from 2004-to-08, tallying 12 interceptions, 250 tackles and 52 passes defended. He seemed to like the idea of including the Redskins in the nation's capital theme, especially if it meant changing the team's color scheme to match every other pro team in the city.

"I like the fact that the Nats, Wizards [and Capitals] all wear red white and blue," he said. "I think that'd be a real cool thing for DC. And hell, both the [Nationals and Capitals] won. I just like something that's gonna give you a theme with the rest of the teams [in DC]."

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Washington's controversial name could be seen as divisive for the city's sports fans, so what better way to unite everyone than every team sharing the same color scheme. Pittsburgh is the only other city whose pro sports teams (Penguins, Steelers, Pirates) use the same color scheme, and it certainly works for them. 

One obstacle going with the Senators would be the fact that the name belonged to the city's baseball team from 1901-1960 and again as an expansion team from 1961 to 1971. But Senators 1.0 moved to Minnesota to become the Twins and Senators 2.0 left quickly for Texas to become the Rangers. Baseball has since returned to DC and the Nationals couldn't be a better name for the franchise. Why not bring "Senators" back in a different sport?

RELATED: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

You can recapture some of the town's sports history and perhaps even recycle some of the logo/uniform concepts they used years ago. Not to mention how cool it'd be for a Walter Johnson jersey to become appropriate attire at an NFL game.

Whatever the team's name ends up being, this whole saga has bred a ton of creativity and done a lot of heavy lifting for everyone set to choose new fantasy football team names this year.

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Ex-Redskins CB Fred Smoot says team officials like 'two or three' replacement names

Ex-Redskins CB Fred Smoot says team officials like 'two or three' replacement names

Over the next few days, and in the spirit of a Presidential election year, NBC Sports Washington is polling ex-Redskins players and NFLers who grew up in the DMV for their thoughts on the burgundy-and-gold's pending name change - and what name THEY would like to see.  

The Washington Redskins released a statement on Friday announcing they are undergoing a "thorough review" of the team name after major corporate sponsors FedEx, Nike, PepsiCo, and others put pressure on the organization to change the mascot.

At this point, a name change seems inevitable. So, what will the team's new moniker be?

Former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot told NBC Sports Washington on Sunday that the team's top decision makers, especially owner Dan Snyder, have a few prime candidates that stand out.

"What I'm hearing from Redskins Park, there are already two or three names that they like," Smoot said. "That tells you that Dan has already been working towards it."

Over the past few days, several potential name replacements have surfaced, with the Warriors, Redtails, and Redhawks being the most popular. For Smoot, 'Warriors' would be the easiest transition.

"Me, in my head, Warriors is the one that sticks out the most," Smoot said. "I think it's an easy transition. There are no Warriors in the NFL. It's already a mascot for Golden State, and they've gotten no pushback on it."

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The name 'Warriors' also allows the team to honor Native Americans, something Smoot said Snyder wants to do.

"At the end of the day, besides Warriors, I know Redtails is up there," Smoot said. "But [Synder] said something that stuck out to me: he wants to keep the logo and acknowledge Native Americans, give them something that they're proud of. So that tells me that it won't be Redtails."

While 'Warriors' might be the easiest transition for the franchise, Smoot offered a few of his own suggestions. And they were quite creative.

"If you're going for a total re-brand, you can go Red Wolves," Smoot said. "I've never heard anybody say anything about that. The Wolf is almost a spirit animal for Native Americans. I think the Red Wolves would be one of those things that I heard nobody say that I think would be a great one. I can just see FedEx Field and the 80,000 people just howling like Wolves. That would really be something."

Plus, the cornerback mentioned that Snyder does not want to change the colors or the team's current logo.

"If you get a name like the 'Americans' or 'Red Wolves,' you don't have to change the brand," Smoot said. "Whenever 'Redskins' is, you're just taking the name off. [Snyder] already said he's keeping the colors. He's keeping the logo. Now, it's just changing the name."

RELATED: LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

Outside of the Red Wolves, Smoot also had a few other...um....out-of-the-box suggestions.

"I have another one that's off the edge, because you know I'm an edgy guy," Smoot said. "This one, you're pretty much going to laugh at. What about the Washington District of Columbia?"

Additionally, Smoot suggested the Redskins could take the mascot of one prominent college athletics program - or also change the name to something that would honor the team's own history.

"If you're going for a total re-brand, there are so many different animals that haven't been used," Smoot said. "We could be the Washington Wolverines. But I don't think [Snyder] wants a total re-brand. I think we could be the Washington Pigskins. Just put the Pig in front of [Skins]. We're already connected to the Hog."

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