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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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10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

4) How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract?

Being a political town where scandals and elections bring in new folks all the time, Washingtonians are used to changing personnel. That said, what's happened to the Redskins offensive line in the past two seasons is plain outrageous. 

In the last two years players like Pro Bowl stalwarts Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams have missed extended time. Veteran journeymen signed late in the year as free agents, guys like Jonathan Cooper and Luke Bowanko, have been injured. Everything in between has happened to the Redskins offensive line. In some ways it's been a more dangerous profession than playing drums forSpinal Tap. 

Looking ahead to 2019, it's near impossible to simulate what will happen for the Washington offensive line. What is known, however, is the team will rise or fall depending if their big guys can stay on the field. 

Ignoring the precarious Scherff contract talks and the unnerving Trent Williams holdout, the Washington O-line has talent. Beyond those two, Chase Roullier and Morgan Moses are strong players in their own right. The final guard spot seems like a toss up between rookie Wes Martin and veteran Ereck Flowers, though he's never even played the position. Expect Martin to win that battle. 

Still, none of it matters if the injuries pile up again.

Football Outsiders determined that the Redskins offense missed more man games to injury than any other team in the NFL, and while it's the injuries at the quarterback position that stand out from last year, almost every starter on the line missed action.

Add in the fact that Washington lost veteran swing tackle Ty Nsekhe to free agency, and all of a sudden there is real concern about the depth at tackle.  Williams is holding out, Moses has a history of ankle issues, and second-year pro Geron Christian did not look particularly impressive last season. Additionally, all three men are working back from offseason surgery and none took part in offseason workouts. 

So, maybe Flowers will have to stay at tackle? He tried that with the Giants for parts of four seasons, and the results were awful. Don't expect it to change in Burgundy and Gold. 

In an odd change, after years of neglect, the Redskins did invest in the interior of their line. Bruce Allen drafted Martin in the fourth round and added Ross Piersbacher in the fifth, a versatile center/guard out of the University of Alabama. Those are depth moves that should help this season. 

Based on recent years, the Redskins will need the depth on their offensive line. Lots of it. 

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Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teams up with Raiders' receiver Antonio Brown for an offseason workout

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teams up with Raiders' receiver Antonio Brown for an offseason workout

With training camp right around the corner, Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teamed up with the most high-profile Oakland Raiders' offseason acquisition, wide receiver Antonio Brown. 

Brown and Haskins went through a private route session that featured some pretty impressive ball placement and one-handed snags. 

This isn't the first time Haskins and Brown have worked with each other. In 2018 Haskins spent his spring break on the beach in South Florida throwing to "AB" and Falcons wide receiver, Mohamed Sanu. 

Haskins has also got some work in with other NFL talent this offseason as just last week he posted a post-workout photo with Indianapolis Colts wide receiver, Parris Campbell Jr.; Haskins and Campbell were teammates at Ohio State last season.

There's an old adage that "you're only as good as the company you keep," if this is the case Redskins fans have a lot to look forward to from "Simba" this season. 

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