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Need to Know: Davis' return a key for 2017 Redskins

Need to Know: Davis' return a key for 2017 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 8, one day before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 40
—NFL Draft (4/27) 50
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 129
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 186

Davis a key to Redskins offense

A few hours ago, Chick Hernandez of CSN sent out the following:

It’s a multi-social media post, a tweet of a message that tight end Vernon Davis delivered via Snapchat. It apparently shows him signing a three-year contract extension worth a reported $15 million in Bruce Allen’s office.

That seems like a lengthy deal for a 33-year-old player but we will see what the details look like. In any case, given the what is going on with pass catchers on the Redskins, they needed to do what they had to do to retain him.

Davis is important for two reasons. For one thing, he is the backup for the best pass catcher they currently have under contract, Jordan Reed. Besides his talent, the one thing we know about Reed is that he is unlikely to play 16 games. Last year he missed two games with a concussion and two more with a shoulder injury. There was a drop off with Davis in for Reed but it wasn’t a big one.

But even if Reed plays every game the Redskins need Davis because he is a capable receiver as a second tight end. The departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon as free agents appear to be imminent. While they need wide receivers to replace then they also need hands. Last year Davis caught 44 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns. They will lose over two thousand yards of offense if Jackson and Garçon walk out the door. They could ill afford to lose the nearly 600 that came from Davis.

We could see the Redskins offense transform into one that went through the outside receivers last year to one focused between the hash marks. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who caught 67 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns, is the leading returning receiver if the two free agents depart. Davis and Reed (66/686/6) will ably man the tight end spot. And they could utilize the speedy Chris Thompson (49/349/2) as a pass catcher out of the backfield more than they have been.

The Redskins still will need to hope that Josh Doctson is healthy and productive this year and they will need to get a wide receiver or two if Jackson and Garçon are gone. But with Davis back they have the core of a pretty good set of targets for Kirk Cousins to throw to.

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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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10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

Over-simplification can be dangerous, but at the same time, some problems boil down to a root cause. 

The Redskins play-action pass game looked bad in 2018, and if you listen to head coach Jay Gruden, much of that might have hinged on the ability of his tight ends to run block. 

Back in March Gruden opened up about some of his team's offensive struggles in 2018 and the coach pointed out that his tight end rotation varied greatly on if the team was going to run or pass. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis tended to come off the field in clear run situations, while Jeremy Sprinkle didn't get many snaps on pass plays. 

As the season went on, that became obvious for opposing defense. 

"Your tendencies are probably through the roof when you throw, that's what we're trying to guard against," Gruden said at the NFL League Meetings. "We got to figure out ways to be balanced in all personnel group settings and make sure that's really what we're studying in the offseason and moving forward how we can adapt our running game to make sure we have the equal amount of runs in each personnel group with each person in that group."

Sure those quotes are a few months old now, but nothing has been done to change the personnel. Reed, Davis and Sprinkle populate the tight end depth chart, and it doesn't seem likely there will be significant change to any of the three player's game. 

Based on that, something else must change. 

The Redskins either need to adapt their run style to something where Reed and/or Davis can be on the field. Or use Sprinkle more in the pass game.

Neither of those options seem particularly likely. 

What could happen is less two tight sets for the Washington offense, and less dependency on that look. 

In his remarks from March, Gruden hinted that the Redskins could deploy their 11 personnel more often, going with three wideouts and one tight, instead of two tight ends on the field. That would require health and productivity from the Redskins wideouts, which hasn't happened in the last two seasons. 

In a way, the discussion of a blocking tight end is very much an oversimplification of the Redskins 2018 offensive woes. The team ranked 29th in the NFL in points scored, and obviously, that lack of production did not stem from one position. 

At the same time, however, the lack of a tight end that can run block and show up in the pass game creates a series of other problems. The team can't always run with their best receiving threats on the field, they can't pull off play-action because the run threat doesn't always emerge, and all of that snowballs. 

The little things add up in the NFL. Just ask Jay Gruden. 

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Derrius Guice shares workout video amid reports swirling about his health

Derrius Guice shares workout video amid reports swirling about his health

Many Redskins' fans became increasingly worried over the weekend about the health of running back Derrius Guice after a report came out that he suffered a hamstring injury during his rehab process from an ACL injury he suffered last August.

The report questioned Guice's availability for the start of Redskins' training camp, which begins on July 25.

In response to the report, Guice tweeted: "I don’t listen to the noise. I know what’s going on with me." He has since deleted his Twitter account.

But Guice is still an active user on Snapchat, and took to the platform on Monday to share footage of himself working out. The second-year running back shared video taken of him performing a number of drills, many of which required him to change direction quickly and test his hamstring, as well as his knee.

Guice even captioned one of the videos "Hamstring who," with several eyes emojis attached to the caption. Based on his caption, Guice does not appear to seem concerned that this latest report will affect his status for the upcoming season.

Prior to his ACL injury last August, Guice showed plenty of promise during training camp and the preseason. 

At this point, Redskins fans just want Guice to be healthy and ready for Week 1 and showcase the talent that earned him an All-SEC honor at LSU.

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