Before the Redskins offseason program gets too far in the rear view mirror, lets take a look back at what we saw, which was three OTAs and two minicamp practices, and see what we learned.Keep in mind the usual caveats here, that the workouts are held with no contact in helmets and shorts while the actual games are played in full pads with a lot of contact. And, because there are no pads and more contact you can tell a lot more about defensive backs and offensive skill positions than you can about other players, soHere are some takeaways, in no particular order.The competition for backup cornerback spots will be fierce. I thought this going in but it became more apparent every day that there is some talent vying for jobs there. One day Richard Crawford was flying around knocking down passes, the next week it was Chase Minnifield. And it was apparent that Kevin Barnes isnt going to give up his job without a fight. It looks like those players plus Brandyn Thompson and Morgan Trent will be battling it out for two, maybe three roster spots behind DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and Cedric Griffin.The depth at running back is shaky. That is not so much in terms of talent but in terms of health. By the end of camp sixth-round pick Alfred Morris had to take a majority of the snaps as Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr., and Evan Royster all were spectators due to injuries. Perhaps this is one of those situations where they would have been in there if it was the regular season but there still is some concern. Availability will be the watchword at this position in 2012.Robert Griffin III has a long way to go. He has come a long way but that is just a start. It takes time, reps and more reps until the mind believes and can break down what the eyes see. Until what takes place in the classroom meshes with what he sees on the field, RG3 will have good and bad plays and good and bad days. He had his share of both in May and June.Pierre Garon will make your jaw drop several times this season. The Redskins really havent had a receiver who can make one-handed stabs of the ball on a regular basis in quite some time. Garon is one of those guys who can do that. His one-handed grab in the end zone during minicamp was the highlight play of the spring. Certainly, it is much more important for Garon to be productive from play to play than it is for him to make circus catches. Still, fans should get some thrills along the way in any case.Dont be surprised if Aldrick Robinson is a surprise player. Or something like that. With no offseason program to prepare last year, Robinson looked overwhelmed in training camp. He was so unsure of himself that his speed never was on display. That changed this year and Robinson has a good shot at making the roster and contributing.Neil Rackers and Graham Gano will battle for the kicker spot until the final cuts. It looks like Rackers is better from short distance and gets good height on his kicks. Gano can hit from a longer distant but he is inconsistent from short range and his low kicks are prone to being blocked. The early prediction here is that Gano hangs on but I wouldnt bet a dime on it.
Besides the quarterback competition between Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, one of the biggest storylines from Redskins training camp will be whether the team and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff can agree on a contract extension before the start of the 2019 season.
On Monday, a report came out from 106.7 The Fan's Erin Hawksworth that Scherff has been offered multiple contract extensions from the Redskins, but "the two sides are far apart."
Scherff is entering the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie deal and set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
The fifth-year guard will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2019 after the Redskins picked up his fifth-year option a year ago as part of his rookie deal.
Should Scherff hit the open market, he will be a hot commodity.
He may not receive a contract as big as Cowboys' guard Zack Martin did, but expect him to command close to top-market money. Martin received a six-year, $84 million deal in 2018 with $40 million guaranteed. A contract extension for Scherff could look something like the five-year, $66.5 million deal Jaguars' guard Andrew Norwell signed in 2018.
Besides tackle Trent Williams, Scherff is without a doubt the most important piece to the Redskins offensive line. With Williams currently holding out, Scherff's presence on the offensive line is even more important.
Scherff missed eight games a season ago with a torn pectoral muscle, and his absence was very visible.
One thing is for certain: if the Redskins are not willing to pay Scherff top-market money, barring something unexpected, he will certainly get it somewhere else. And no Redskins fan wants that.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
With the release of EA Sports' Madden NFL 20 just a few weeks away, the game released their individual player ratings on Monday.
Madden ratings are usually a controversy-provoking topic. Each year, there are a lot more players disappointed with their initial Madden rating than those pleased with theirs.
This year was no different. Some players, such as Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, have said they will boycott the game after being so upset with their rating.
The game unleashed a new rating system this year, which is intended to reward star players and have them feel different than just an above average player.
So how did Madden rate the Redskins?
The Burgundy and Gold come in at the 16th best overall team in the game, despite only having one individual player rated 90 overall or higher.
Two of the Redskins' NFC East foes, the Philadelphia Cowboys and Dallas Cowboys, were the No. 1 and No. 2 overall rated teams in the game, respectively. The Eagles boast a rating of 89, and the Cowboys come in at an 88 overall.
The New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers were all the next highest with an 87 overall.
Here are five takeaways from the Redskins' Madden NFL 20 ratings.
1. Left tackle Trent Williams was rated a 95 overall, the second-highest rated left tackle in the game.
Williams' rating of a 95 is very deserved. He's consistently been the best player on the Redskins from year-to-year, and one of the best offensive lineman in the league. Madden has recognized Williams' importance to the Redskins as well as his overall skill; only the Packers' David Bakhtiari (97) had a higher rating at his position.
The Redskins' Silverback was the third-highest rated offensive lineman in the game, with Bakhtiari and Cowboys' guard Zack Martin ahead of him. He's the only Redskins player to receive an overall rating of a 90 or higher.
Williams has been a key offseason storyline for the Redskins, as he was absent from Redskins' mandatory mini-camp in June. His absence was at first rumored to him wanting a new contract, but reports came out later that he was upset with the team's handling of his medical situation from a season ago. It is unclear whether Williams will report to training camp, which begins July 25.
If the Madden ratings are any indication, Williams is as important to the Redskins as anyone. The Redskins need him on the field.
2. Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins have been rated just one number apart.
The main storyline throughout Redskins' training camp and the preseason will be the quarterback competition between veteran Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins. If the Madden ratings prove to be true, it's going to be a very close battle.
Keenum's initial Madden rating comes in at a 73 overall, while Haskins is a 72. In terms of specific ratings, Keenum slightly edges Haskins out in awareness (80 to 75) and speed (79 to 75), but Haskins has the edge in acceleration (83 to 82), agility (83 to 73) and strength (70 to 51).
Of course, Keenum's ratings are based off his performance last season with the Denver Broncos, while Haskins' ratings are a rough estimate because he's a rookie. It's likely that both players could have a very different rating at the end of the season than they do now.
3. The Redskins have three defensive linemen all rated around the same number.
The defensive line unit is probably the strongest position group on the Redskins and the Madden ratings agree with that.
Defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis and Daron Payne received an 83 overall rating, while Jonathan Allen received an 82 overall grade.
While all three had productive seasons in 2018, it is worth wondering how Allen is not the highest rated of the three.
In his second season, Allen finished second on the team in sacks (8.0) and tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (11). Out of the three, Allen had the most overall tackles, sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hits.
While the Redskins expect Allen, Ioannidis and Payne all to have a major impact in 2019, don't be surprised if Allen has the highest overall rating of the three at the end of the year.
4. The Redskins' big free agent signing, safety Landon Collins, was rated a low 83 overall.
This number at first glance seems very low. In his four seasons in the NFL, Collins has made the Pro Bowl three times and first-team All-Pro once.
But Madden has a whopping 10 free safeties rated higher than him. Recently acquired New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers has a higher rating than Collins, and anyone who's watched the two players over the past couple years knows that's questionable.
A season ago, Collins was rated an 88 overall. Missing four games with a shoulder injury could be a partial reason for his dip, but the 25-year-old is still one of the elite safeties in the league. An 83 overall does not reflect that.
5. Haskins is the second-highest rated rookie QB in the game, while Giants' Daniel Jones is, uh, low.
While a 72 overall rating would not be flattering to anyone, Haskins has to be pleased being the second-highest rated rookie quarterback, only behind No.1 overall pick and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.
Overall, the rookie ratings are a lot lower in Madden 20 than they were in Madden 19. A year ago, five rookie quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen) started with a higher rating than Murray, who enters the game as a 73 overall.
When looking at the rookie quarterback class, perhaps the most surprising ranking has to be the Giants' Daniel Jones, who enters the game at a 63 overall.
In years past, a 63 overall would be given to a fringe roster player, not a top-ten first-round pick. For reference, Redskins' seventh-round pick Jimmy Moreland enters the game at a 64 overall.
To put it into perspective, the next lowest top-ten pick was Denver's Devin Bush, who checked in at a 72. The Giants have seven rookies with a higher Madden rating.
Jones' low rating is in unprecedented territory for a top-ten pick, let alone a first-round pick.
The beauty of Madden ratings is that they change. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was a 77 entering the 2019 season.
A year later, he's a 97 overall, and arguably the biggest snub from the 99 overall club. While many players may be upset with their rating, they have the ability to let their play do the talking.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Far Apart: Redskins, Scherff not close to extension, per report
- Huge Step: Smith gets leg fixator removed
- Chris Simms: Safe play to not start Haskins Week 1