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Top WR prospect DK Metcalf really, really likes Jay Gruden

Top WR prospect DK Metcalf really, really likes Jay Gruden

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden got quite the compliment from Ole Miss WR DK Metcalf after a successful meeting earlier this week. 

“He’s a perfectionist,” Metcalf said of Gruden. 

A likely first-round draft pick, Metcalf explained that his formal interview with the Redskins was his best so far during the NFL Scouting Combine. He said that Gruden showed him how to be cleaner in his breaks on receiving routes. 

The high praise comes as the Redskins might be in the wide receiver market during the draft. 

The team got poor production from the position in 2018, with no wideout bringing in more than two touchdowns or registering more than 45 receptions on the season. 

Metcalf made a stir during the pre-draft process when a picture emerged via social media of his size and stature. He’s an aggressive weight lifter that has less than 2 percent body fat. 

When he wasn’t speaking highly of the Redskins, Metcalf was almost in an awkward position where he had to defend his size. 

Asked if he was surprised by the questions about his size, Metcalf said simply, “yes.”

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    Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

    Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

    Dwayne Haskins played really well Sunday against the Eagles, and it wasn't just on certain drives or in specific situations. Haskins put together a complete and encouraging performance in Week 15, and for that, he deserves a lot of credit.

    But the Redskins' coaching staff, and most notably Kevin O'Connell, should be praised as well for setting Haskins up to shine versus Philly.

    Here are three things O'Connell and the offense did at FedEx Field that contributed to the rookie's best effort as a pro.

    They were more aggressive on early downs

    The following two things are true: 1) Bill Callahan loves Adrian Peterson, and 2) Adrian Peterson has a legitimate shot at rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season. Because of those two facts, it felt like Sunday was setting up to be the Peterson Show, especially on first down.

    It wasn't, though, and that greatly benefitted Haskins.

    No. 7 found Terry McLaurin for a nine-yarder to start the contest, a throw that allowed the QB to settle into a nice rhythm from the start. The 75-yard touchdown pass from Haskins to McLaurin was also a first down toss, one that featured play-action:

    A first down pass in the second quarter, meanwhile, led to a defensive pass interference that advanced the ball 14 yards. On that possession, Haskins would eventually find Steven Sims for a score. 

    Throughout the matchup, the Burgundy and Gold seemed more comfortable with trusting Haskins to attack the Eagles, and that's something he very much enjoyed.

    "I hope to continue to do it," he told reporters postgame.

    They targeted Steven Sims a bunch

    Want another example of O'Connell's influence over the gameplan? Look no further than how much Sims was involved.

    Overall, Sims was targeted 11 times, and while he only hauled in five of those passes, he's a guy worth looking to often. O'Connell has talked for weeks now about how much he wants to use Sims, and while it may sound odd to say that an undrafted receiver from Kansas deserves lots of chances on a unit that includes McLaurin and Peterson, it's true.

    He's really difficult for defensive backs to stay in front of and he's shown a penchant for making some tremendous grabs, including his toe-tapper for his first career receiving TD on Sunday.  

    "I'm seeing everything and I'm playing faster," Sims said in the locker room. 

    O'Connell and Haskins are seeing him, too, and his larger role is giving Haskins another weapon to rely on.

    They introduced a creative option play

    In addition to the uptick in aggressiveness, the Redskins also were more creative against the Eagles than they had been lately. The best example of that is the option they introduced and executed perfectly on two separate snaps.

    On the first option, Haskins fake-tossed it to Peterson before lateraling it to him a second later. The fake from Haskins was a nifty way to buy more time for the play to develop and it set Peterson up to pick up a first down:

    They went back to it again in the third quarter, but this time, Haskins kept the ball and cut upfield for a 23-yard gain:

    Watch any NFL game on any weekend, and you'll see offenses trying new concepts and surprising defenses with those concepts. In Week 15, the Redskins were finally one of those offenses, and the group as a whole was the most effective its been under Haskins. And for that, both the player and the staff should be recognized.

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    Hate the Redskins' loss to the Eagles if you want, but it was the ideal outcome

    Hate the Redskins' loss to the Eagles if you want, but it was the ideal outcome

    The Redskins lost to the Eagles in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, but in the big picture, Washington played a near perfect game.

    Certainly, fans should hate the final score, and players and coaches deserve every right to be angry after falling to Philadelphia 37-27. Make no mistake about that. The Redskins gave up a late, back-breaking touchdown to Carson Wentz to lose a game that Washington fought hard to improbably win. Plenty of Redskins fought their guts out on Sunday, and came up short, and that's incredibly hard. 

    In a lost season, however, wins and losses become less relevant as storylines shift to player development. And in Sunday's game against Philadelphia, Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins played the best game of his NFL career. 

    Haskins completed 19 of 28 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with a passer rating north of 120. 

    Haskins was great against the Eagles, and it was a performance Redskins fans, players and coaches needed to see. 

    The rookie passer was already the future of the franchise. That's just the inherent reality with the 15th overall pick. Until Sunday though, it wasn't exactly earned. Haskins had shown flashes of strong play, but never a full game. That changed against Philadelphia, when Haskins showed control of the offense and command of the team. There were great throws, plenty of good reads and more than a few athletic plays. 

    As the Redskins look to the future, and there's nothing else left to do at 3-11, Haskins is the most important piece. It's incredibly hard for an NFL franchise to consistently win without a stud quarterback, and while Haskins has immense potential, Sunday marked the first time he showed it for a full game. 

    The Redskins need a star Haskins to win in 2020, or beyond. And they might need a stud Haskins to even recruit a new head coach or football boss. 

    This team has warts, plenty of them, and that could scare off the best coaching and personnel candidates for next year. But if those same people believe that there is a QB in place in Washington, the warts get easier to ignore. 

    It also doesn't hurt that the Redskins helped their 2020 draft position with Sunday's loss. The team is now tied with Miami and the Giants for the second-worst record in the NFL, and be honest, Ohio State's Chase Young could be a game-changer with the second overall pick. Next Sunday's contest against the Giants will go a long way in determining that final order.

    The bottom line?

    2019 is all about Haskins' development, and on Sunday, Haskins took his biggest steps yet. That's far more important than another loss, albeit grueling, in a season full of them. 

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