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Success of Redskins receiving corps hinges on ability to match potential

Success of Redskins receiving corps hinges on ability to match potential

When looking at what's gone wrong for the Redskins in recent seasons, it's hard to overlook the struggles the team has had at the receiver position. Some of the problems can be attributed to unpredictable injuries, but there's no denying the lack of production, and surplus of drops, that have come from the pass-catchers.

In 2018, the Redskins top wide receiver, Josh Doctson, only put together a stat line of 44 receptions, 532 yards and two touchdowns. No terrible, but not what you're looking for out of the No. 1 option.

In 2019, Trevor Matich believes that won't be the case. A mixture of new drafts picks and players returning from injury has the analyst seeing a brighter future for the passing game.

"The receiver group has a chance to be deep and productive for the first time in a long time around here," Matich said.

"I love the potential of the Redskins receiver room," he added.

The key word, however, is potential. If the Redskins receivers want to change the stigma around the group, they'll have to play to the ability many believe they can. When talking about living up to potential, Josh Doctson is a name that surely comes to mind. The Redskins' first-round pick in 2016, he hasn't been all that Washington has hoped for.

Despite being the leading wide receiver in 2018, the combination of injuries that kept him off the field, and inconsistent play on it, have put Doctson in a situation where the team did not pick up his fifth-year option prior to this season. The receiver even said himself that he thinks he'll hit free agency after this campaign.

For Matich, he's not ready to give up on him just yet. In a make-or-break year for Doctson, Matich sees him as the wild card that could dictate the success or failure of the group.

"The light might come on for him, and if it does he's got all the potential that he had coming out of TCU and into the NFL. To be able to jump high in the air and make contested catches even when he's well-covered," Matich said. "The Redskins in the red zone have not been particularly productive in part because they haven't had a wide receiver to that. That's why they drafted Doctson. If the light comes on, he'll be here for a long time. If it doesn't come on, there are other guys that can compete for that role."

Even if Doctson doesn't figure it out, Matich is still in on the other pass-catchers the Redskins will feature. Cam Sims, who only made it through part of a game in 2018, is someone that he believes will become a solid target with his combination of speed and strength. He's also excited about the speedy duo of Terry McLaurin and Paul Richardson Jr.

McLaurin has impressed in his early showings, even having some analysts believing he should get a crack at the starting spot across from Doctson. Matich agrees that McLaurin should be lined up on one end, but he also likes the idea of putting the now-healthy Richardson Jr. on the field at the same time. After missing most of last season, Richardson has the potential to change the dynamic of the offense, with Jay Gruden believing he could be an X-Factor.

"Now you can imagine one on one side and the other on the other side," Matich said. "That'll open up all kinds of space for the tall guys underneath to make plays. The Redskins receiver room has the potential to be extremely productive."

New names and old, the formula is there for the Redskins to have success through the air in 2019. But, it all depends on the "ifs". If Josh Doctson finally establishes himself as a reliable option, the group gets deeper and more dangerous. If McLaurin and Richardson Jr. can stretch the field, everything becomes easier. The possibilities are there, now they just have to deliver.

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team under-performed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has drawn criticism because of his performance in D.C. during his 5-year, $75 million contract he signed in April 2016. Former Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall came to Norman’s defense during a radio appearance with Craig Hoffman on 106.7 The Fan on Friday.

“He does compete, he’s a competitor. And if I have a football player on my roster who’s a competitor, who wants to be out there, who fights hard and plays hard, I’m [going to] find a way to put him in position to make plays,” Hall said. “I think we could’ve done a much, much better job of putting Josh in position to make plays.”

In November, then-interim head coach Bill Callahan benched Norman, and the 32-year-old cornerback played just 10 defensive snaps over the last six games of the season. Should Washington choose to cut ties with Norman this offseason before June 1, the team would save $12.5 million of cap space.

Hall, who interviewed for the Redskins’ defensive backs’ coaching position last January, said Norman wasn’t given the chance to be the leader of the defense. Hall said some of that was self-inflicted because of Norman’s habits and preparation, but a portion of that was because of schematics. 

“I always told those coaches ‘If you want Josh to be a leader — because Josh wants to be a leader — you’ve got to put him in a position to make plays, the same way Carolina put him in a position to make plays,” Hall said. 

The peak of Norman’s career came in 2015 under the direction of Washington’s newly hired head coach Ron Rivera. In that all-pro season, Norman recorded 56 tackles, 18 passes defended, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two touchdowns. 

Hall believes Norman still possesses that all-pro ability; it just needs to be tapped with the right defensive scheme. Hall compared the situation to Richard Sherman, who has revitalized his career in San Francisco after battling injuries. 

“It’s not because [Sherman] is the best lockdown man-to-man corner. It’s because they play Sherm in a system that he’s able to succeed and shine, and they put players around him so that he can make plays,” he said. “If we [would’ve] done the same thing to Josh Norman, he could’ve been an all-pro player here, too, just like he was in Carolina.”

Despite Hall’s belief in Norman’s ability, and the presumption that Rivera and new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will run a similar system to what Norman played in with the Panthers, the former Redskins defensive back doesn’t think the $15 million price tag is worth it for a franchise that has other holes to fill.

“I, as a fan, would love to have Josh back on this team, in this defense that I feel will be similar to Carolina,” Hall said. “But to me, it doesn’t make sense to bring Josh back for $15 million. It’s just a big pill to swallow when you can do a lot with that money on a team that needs a lot of help.”

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