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After nearly giving up, Redskins rookie Holsey looking to make an impact

After nearly giving up, Redskins rookie Holsey looking to make an impact

Josh Holsey is happy to be where he is.

He almost didn’t make it.

The Redskins’ seventh-round cornerback was at the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend, getting praise from Jay Gruden for breaking up a pass during drills on Saturday, soaking up the atmosphere in an NFL team facility and trying to learn as much as he could.

He almost gave up the game before he ever had a chance to experience all that as injuries nearly derailed his career. In September of 2013 he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while at Auburn. He worked his way back onto the field only to suffer a second ACL tear to the same knee in the second game of the 2015 season.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to play football any more after the second time,” he told reporters last Saturday. “I wanted to be able to run around with my kids, I was looking towards the future, not the present.”

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But friends, family, and one of his coaches at Auburn persuaded him to reconsider. He decided that he didn’t want to live with the regret that might come with leaving football behind. And he dove into his rehab head first.

“Once I told myself I was going to come back, I was going to play, I was in rehab three times a day, I didn’t go on no spring break, did no partying, it was all rehab and focusing on getting my leg back strong,” said Holsey. “Once camp came around and the season rolled around I was ready to go.”

He played well in his last year at Auburn. Opponents targeted his coverage just 50 times and he defensed 10 passes and intercepted three. But he did not get a combine invitation and many analysts believed he would go undrafted.

The Redskins saw something in him and took him with the 235th overall pick. Jay Gruden congratulated him after he broke up a pass during practice and had some praise for him afterwards.

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“Watching him move around, it doesn’t look like he was hurt at all,” said Gruden. “He’s really quick in and out of breaks. He’s a competitor, you can see that. He likes to talk a little bit, as do I, so it’s a good match. We have a lot of fun with him. I think he’s going to be a good candidate for this football team. I know he ran around well in special teams drills, so we’ll see how it goes, but I was impressed with Holsey.”

Holsey did line up at outside corner some during rookie camp but he doesn’t expect to be there when OTAs start next week.  

“I know when the older guys get here I’ll be more focused on inside because there’s a lot of guys outside,” he said. “But I’m going to know everything just in case I need it.”

There are a lot of guys both inside and outside. The roster is loaded with experienced cornerbacks. Josh Noman and Bashaud Breeland are set as the starters. Kendall Fuller was a third-round pick a year ago and they added another third-round corner this year in Fabian Moreau. Quinton Dunbar now has two years under his belt after he converted from wide receiver and the coaches like his progress. Last year Dashaun Phillips was on the nickel corner for a few games and he will be back to compete for a spot.

For his part, Holsey embraces the competition.

“If there’s no competition it’s no fun,” he said.

“You’ve got to come out here and compete. You’ve got to put your best foot forward every day.”

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.

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The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick back in April with one very clear goal in mind: new franchise quarterback. 

What isn't clear, however, is that timeline. 

Eventually, Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback. That could happen Week 1 2019, or it could be a year away.

Haskins wasn't particularly impressive during the team's minicamp, and veteran signal caller Case Keenum looked like the better option. Remember, though, real football is more than two months away. The mental aspects of NFL life that Haskins struggled with during the spring sessions, like calling plays and getting to the line of scrimmage in correct formations, are quite fixable. Haskins is smart and has talked about his commitment to learning the playbook. 

If that happens by the time Haskins gets to Richmond, then the quarterback competition will look much different than it did in Ashburn. And the 'Skins don't report to Richmond for another month. 

Here's the reality: Haskins should absolutely compete for the starting quarterback job. That's the minimum expectation for first-round picks. 

The important news: Haskins will compete for the starting job in Richmond. Jay Gruden has been clear about that.

Now, if Haskins doesn't win the job, he can't start. Politics or expectations can't push him into the top spot, no matter what pressure might be applied. 

Football players improve, often dramatically, over the summer. Haskins has all the physical talent needed to take the QB1 spot. He just needs to learn the speed of the NFL, which is challenging, and the depth of the offensive system, which is daunting. 

It's entirely possible Haskins does not win the Redskins starting quarterback job. In fact, it's probable he doesn't, by Week 1 anyway. 

But the notion that he can't start because of a difficult early portion of the schedule is crazy. If Haskins is the best option to win games, Gruden is obligated to give his team the best chance to win a game, regardless of an opponent. 

In a lot of ways, the Redskins decision with Dwayne Haskins is really up to Haskins. Compete and win the job? The decision will be easy. 

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