Can the Redskins go from worst to first in the NFC East?That was a question posed on NFL.com. They took the four teams that finished in last place in their respective NFC divisions last year and ranked them in order of their chances of finishing in first place in 2012. Blogger Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Redskins have a shot but they face some serious obstacles.I have to quibble with the pick for the team that Jeremiah has the best chance of the ultimate turnaround, the Tampa Bay Bucs. Among the reasons he cites are their new coach, Greg Schiano, who is fresh from the college ranks, and free agent signees Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. Anyone who has followed the Redskins in the last decade know that a new coach, especially one straight from the NCAA, and high-priced free agents are not guarantee of a turnaround. Washington would have won the NFC East on multiple occasions if that was the magic formula.The Redskins are his second pick and Jeremiah cites what should be a vast improvement in quarterback play with Robert Griffin III at the helm and the pass rushing duo of Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan as reasons for optimism.But in the not so fast department there is the strength of the NFC East and the fact that while RG3 may be a special rookie he still will be a rookie quarterback with the accompanying growing pains that will come with learning on the job.The Rams and Vikings have the third- and fourth-best chances per Jeremiah.It seems like there is a worst to first occurrence every year in the NFL but it seems unlikely to happen this year, at least in the NFC. Of course, that is what it looks like in June just about every year.The Redskins could pull it off but a lot would have to go right for them and a lot would have to go wrong elsewhere around the division for that to take place.
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The first five off of the roster
G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot.
RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him.
WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out.
S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety.
ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight.
Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson
Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72
The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days.
In case you missed it
Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.
The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:
- LT Trent Williams, 91
- RG Brandon Scherff, 88
- FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
- MLB Zach Brown, 85
- CB Josh Norman, 84
- RB Chris Thompson, 83
- WR Paul Richardson, 83
- QB Alex Smith, 81
- WR Jamison Crowder, 81
The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.
Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.
These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.
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