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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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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

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Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Those who are worried about Derrius Guice's character picked up some added evidence when, on Monday night, the Redskins rookie invited a bunch of fans to watch Avengers with him in Ashburn.

Man, what is this guy's deal?

First of all, not everyone likes superheroes. So how did he know that those who joined him actually wanted to see Avengers?  Did he even ask? What if they wanted to see that really successful, really funny, really well-regarded Amy Schumer comedy, instead?

Then, there's the issue of Guice buying tickets and concessions for those who showed up.

Some people enjoy buying movie tickets — which are absolutely reasonably priced these days — and, as far as the concessions, seriously? Candy? Popcorn? He could've at least offered to buy something healthier, like broccoli. All movie theaters have broccoli.  

Thankfully, those who took Guice up on his invitation weren't grateful for the experience at all, which hopefully means this will be the last time he orchestrates a dastardly deed like this one:

At this point, it's a surprise Guice didn't slide even farther down in the draft, like to the 15th round. Unbelievable.

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