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Could the Redskins offense be better in 2017? Jamison Crowder thinks so

Could the Redskins offense be better in 2017? Jamison Crowder thinks so

Offense led the way for the Redskins in 2016, and despite some additions to the defensive side of the ball, the same should be expected in 2017. Jay Gruden's track record suggests that his unit will move the ball at a solid clip, but the team lost a number of offensive weapons, and that could slow the 2017 pace.

DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the franchise via free agency, and took more than 2,000 receiving yards with them. Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' franchise record 4,917 passing yards, and their loss will be tough to overcome. 

But don't think the 2017 squad won't try. 

"I think it can still be very explosive like the previous two years I have been here," Redskins wideout Jamison Crowder said Monday on a conference call. 

At first blush, it could seem Crowder is just spouting the company line. The 'Skins offense ranked 12th overall last year, second in passing yards. 

MORE REDSKINS: FedEx Field turning into a golf course during off-season

Then consider what Washington has to replace the departed Garçon and Jackson, and Crowder could be right. Terrelle Pryor went for more than 1,000 receiving yards last year on an awful Cleveland team catching passes from many awful quarterbacks. In Gruden's system, catching passes from Cousins, Pryor's yardage total could pop. 

Josh Doctson remains a total mystery, but there is a reason the 'Skins drafted him 22nd overall in 2016. He has big talent, and if his health is there, he should produce. A humble guy, Crowder proved he can be a major factor in the 'Skins passing game in his first two NFL seasons, and looks poised for a breakout third season in 2017. Add in tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, and perhaps more firepower via next week's draft, and certainly it's possible the 'Skins offense can keep the production up in 2016, and maybe improve.

"I feel like the offense can still be explosive, if not more than it was last year," Crowder said. 

Bold claim, but it's the right mindset. Crowder and company will have a chance to prove it this fall. 

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From intelligence to 'work of art' route running, Terry McLaurin displayed it all in Miami

From intelligence to 'work of art' route running, Terry McLaurin displayed it all in Miami

Terry McLaurin's first touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday wasn't just the result of one well-executed play.

Instead, it combined intelligent film study, superb route running and excellent speed, three of the qualities that McLaurin has shown off all season long as he's establishing himself as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and one of the best picks in the 2019 Draft.

Earlier in the week, the 24-year-old saw Amari Cooper run a similar route versus Miami — one that starts off looking like a crosser before a change of direction turns it into a dash to the corner — and he took note of how the defender tried to undercut it. So, he know if he sold the crosser well, he'd break free once he planted his foot in the ground.

It's one step to put in that work, though. It's a whole other step to actually carry it out on the field. But that's what McLaurin did in Week 6, and it ended up as one absolutely tremendous highlight in an overall impressive afternoon.

No. 17 would go on to find the end zone a second time in the contest, as well as secure an important, long catch late that got the Redskins off of their own goal line. After the win, the team's first in six tries as well as the first of McLaurin's pro career, he was asked if he's surprised by how effective he's been.

"Not really," he said. "I want to be a guy you can come to on third down, the clutch situations, press man. I want to develop into that."

While at the postgame podium, Bill Callahan described the way McLaurin gets open as a "work of art." Case Keenum was just as complimentary.

"He's friendly on the eyes as a QB," Keenum told reporters. "Just the body language he gives in and out of breaks, I know where he's going to be at all times."

In five contests for the Burgundy and Gold, the wideout has 23 catches for 408 yards. He's averaging 17.7 yards a grab and has nabbed five scores. He's beating guys deep, he's beating guys over the middle and he's beating the guys in contested situations.

Yet the trait everyone keeps coming back to, from coaches to teammates to analysts, fans, is his route running. Callahan comparing it to art wasn't a stretch, and Keenum calling him "friendly on the eyes" is deserved. It's top-notch already. 

It's something McLaurin takes a ton of pride in, too.

"I think that's what separates good receivers from great receivers," he said. 

Now, the Redskins' Week 6 victory over the Dolphins was far from flawless. In fact, if it weren't for a dropped ball on a two-point conversion attempt, it very well could've been another loss. 

But while fans of the franchise may not take much comfort in the final score, they should find time to appreciate what McLaurin is doing. 

He's not just an emerging star in the organization, he's an emerging star in the entire sport, and covering his rookie campaign has been a treat so far. Well, for everyone covering him except opposing defenders, of course.

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Redskins run their way to first win over really bad Dolphins

Redskins run their way to first win over really bad Dolphins

MIAMI -- The Redskins proved on Sunday that they're not the worst team in the NFL. That would be the Dolphins. 

Washington ground out their first victory of the year thanks largely to Adrian Peterson's legs and Terry McLaurin's hands. It's great for the organization to finally get a win after an 0-5 start and firing head coach Jay Gruden last week, but make no mistake, Miami is an awful football team. The Redskins had to win this one. 

Here's how it happened:

  • When the Redskins named Bill Callahan as interim head coach, he made clear he intended to run the football. A lot. He's a man of his word. The Redskins gave the ball to Peterson 23 times and he gained 118 yards. That's the first 100-yard rushing day for Washington this season and Peterson's first since Week 16 last year in Nashville. 
     
  • Case Keenum didn't throw the ball much, but when he did go McLaurin's way it worked very well. The rookie wide receiver had four catches for 100 yards but more importantly, hauled in two touchdowns. Both Redskins scores came via Keenum to McLaurin. The 2019 season is largely lost in Washington, but McLaurin's emergence has been an excellent subplot for the team. He's emerging as a potential real No. 1 wideout, something that has been missing in D.C. since Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson left in free agency after the 2016 season. 
     
  • Wow, Miami is bad, especially when Josh Rosen is at quarterback. The second-year pro completed 15 of 25 passes for 85 yards and two interceptions before getting benched at the end of the third quarter. The Dolphins offense looked much better once veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game, and the team scored a touchdown on his first drive. 
     
  • Callahan wants to be conservative, which is all well and good against Miami, but the team exercised an embarrassing lack of urgency at the end of this first half. The Redskins got the ball with about 70 seconds before the half and a timeout. A good team tries to move the ball down field in that situation and get points. Washington either didn't have that intention or showed terrible time management in the two-minute drill. Again, maybe against Miami, the Redskins coaches thought a four-point lead was insurmountable, but in general, that's a very flawed strategy.
     
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins on a late run, scoring a touchdown to bring Miami within one as the clock was running down. But, the Redskins managed to break up a two-point conversion attempt and the entire fanbase breathed a sigh of relief.

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