Grade vs. Rams: DComment:After jumping from the 31stranked defense to 13thlast season, there was hope that the Redskins unit would take the next step and join the leagues elite. So far, though, it hasnt happened and after Sundays 31-28 loss to the Rams theres legitimate concern whether its even possible.After two games, the unit ranks 28thin yards allowed per game (405.0) and 27thin points yielded (31.5). And now, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett must figure out how to overcome the loss of starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the remainder of the season.But lets get back to Sundays unsightly performance in St. Louis. The Redskins returned a fumble for a touchdown, recovered another and intercepted a pass. But thats it for good news.Sam Bradford and the youthful Rams had lost eight games in a row, limped in with an injury depleted line and were coming off a season in which they ranked last in points scored per game (12.1). The Redskins, however, made them look like the Greatest Show on Turf Rams of the late 1900s.Bradford and wide receiver Danny Amendola shredded the secondary, particularly in the first half even when everyone at Edward Jones Dome knew what was coming next. Twelve of Amendolas 15 receptions (a record high against the Redskins) came before halftime (on the Rams second drive, Amendola caught passes on six of seven plays). Bradford, meantime, finished with 310 passing yards and three touchdowns. It marked Bradfords third highest passing day of his career, while he equaled his high for touchdowns in a game.Against the run, the Redskins werent much better. The Rams managed to rack up 151 yards, despite losing star running back Steven Jackson in the second quarter to injury. With Jackson sidelined, rookie Daryl Richardson rushed for 83 yards, including a 53-yard scamper in the third quarter, on 15 carries.If the loss of Carriker (torn quadriceps) in the first quarter and Orakpo (torn pectoral muscle) and cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion) in the third were at the root of the Redskins struggles Sunday, watch out. It could be a long season for the D.
The Redskins might be just in the beginning of a quarterback battle, but at Monday's OTA session, it seemed pretty clear which player would eventually win.
Dwayne Haskins made a number of impressive throws while he was on the field, and while Case Keenum had his share of good passes too, the rookie shined. Even on the surface: Haskins looks the part of a franchise quarterback, standing 6-foot-3 and 230 lbs. Keenum is listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs, but that seems fairly generous.
When Haskins throws the ball, it zips through the air. He can go deep and has touch on his underneath routes. Keenum gets the ball where it needs to be, but there's a difference in velocity.
Let's be crystal clear, however, that one OTA session in May will not determine the starting quarterback job. While Keenum and Haskins are both learning the Redskins offense, Keenum has proved he can stand in the pocket of an NFL game and make plays. Haskins has never seen the size or speed of NFL defensive linemen.
"It’s a long process and I think they both handled it well today," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "Hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow and the next day and so on and so forth and I’m sure it will be a good, lengthy competition with some great players going at it."
A few, unexpected things stood out with Haskins.
Though he has a long windup on his throws, the ball gets out plenty fast. He also seemed quicker in the pocket than some of his NFL Scouting Combine numbers would suggest. Haskins certainly isn't fast, but he's not a plodder either. That said, Keenum does seem to have the advantage in squirting through the line of scrimmage and keeping plays alive. That's something Gruden really likes in his passers.
Both of the QBs seemed comfortable with their role in the competition.
"It’s normal. I compete every day whether I’m playing football, playing ping pong, playing golf, I’m competing. I’m competing against myself. I’m competing against the defense. In the quarterback room, we’re always competing," Keenum said. "Competition makes you better and that’s what the spring is about."
Haskins sounded very tactful in his responses; respectful of the veterans already on the team in Keenum and Colt McCoy, yet also eager to get more work.
"I want to be with the best, be around the best, and compete with the best. All season I’ll be around working out with the best quarterbacks on my team," the rookie said.
Planned or not, Haskins also seemed modest in his goals for the OTA session.
"I didn’t have any expectations for today, I just wanted to execute. The biggest thing for me was going to play right in the huddle."
That stands out in stark contrast to the Redskins last first-round rookie passer, Robert Griffin III. Expectations for RG3 were out of control, almost immediately, and while parts of his rookie season actually lived up to the hype, that situation was not healthy or sustainable. It's smart for Haskins to set reasonable goals at this stage of his career. Calling plays correctly in the huddle will get him on the field more, and that will give him more chances to make big plays.
It's a learning process, and at OTAs, Haskins showed a willingness to start on the ground floor. In a world of egos and branding, that's a sage move.
While McCoy was not present on the field at OTAs, he is in Ashburn. He will be a part of this competition, but he needs to get healthy soon. Gruden didn't provide much of an update when asked about McCoy, though the coach did say the quarterback should be back on the field for training camp.
McCoy knows the Redskins offense backward and forward, but without him on the field, Keenum and Haskins are learning the Redskins plays at the same time. And that means while Gruden is looking at a rookie and a veteran, neither player has much of a leg up on his playbook.
"I think we have to grade them based on production out here every day. Every day is a new grade, every day you see how they’re developing, see how they’re getting better, see if they’re making the same mistakes over and over. But it’s a process, this is the first time Dwyane has had a chance to call plays in a live huddle and go after a live defense and this is the first time Case has had a chance to do that with the Redskins terminology. So, we don’t expect perfection on the day one, but we do expect the guys to know what they’re doing when we go out to the practice field, execute and then continue to get better each and every day."
Get better each day. Compete. That's the cornerstone of success in the NFL, and for the Redskins, how QB1 will find his spot.
"Somebody is going to rise I would think," the coach said. "The cream always rises to the top and we’re hoping that’s the case.”
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
Redskins officials fear that linebacker Reuben Foster has torn the ACL in his left knee, sources tell NBC Sports Washington.
Additionally, there is concern about a more significant injury that could include the artery in his left leg, sources said.
Foster went down on his first snap in a non-contact drill during OTAs on Monday after stepping on the leg of guard Tyler Catalina. Immediately, Foster fell to the ground, and it was obvious he was in intense pain. He was audibly screaming and crying while writhing in pain on the field.
Moments later, the Redskins medical staff rushed out to Foster, and within a matter of minutes, his leg was placed into a stabilizing device. He was then helped onto a cart and wheeled off the practice field.
After practice, Jay Gruden said the team was unsure of Foster's prognosis but did say, "I’m just very disappointed in what happened in his first rep as a Redskin. He runs through the gap and gets injured."
The Redskins took a major public relations hit by signing Foster last fall, and the team's belief was that his play on the field would be worth the controversy that enveloped his signing. Foster won't be playing in 2019, but remains under contract for 2020, and Washington will have the option to keep him in 2021.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS: