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Need to Know: Are there Redskins roster spots for Toler, Sudfeld?

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Need to Know: Are there Redskins roster spots for Toler, Sudfeld?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 14, five days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden news conference 2:45; Practice 3 p.m.; player availability after both sessions

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 217 days ago. It will be 29 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 20; Cowboys @ Redskins 35; Browns @ Redskins 49

The Redskins week that was

With the Redskins on the verge of wrapping up training camp here’s are some of my impressions of what has taken place over the last two and a half weeks here in Richmond.

—Preston Smith left practice early last Tuesday with a slight shoulder injury. Plenty of players who are locked on to the roster would have used the shoulder as an excuse to sit out preseason game No. 1. But Smith did some rehab to get his shoulder ready and played 18 snaps on Thursday. He even came in for a while in the second quarter long after the other starters had departed. Smith said that he wanted to get some “extra reps”. You have to like the second-year players mindset.

—Greg Toler recorded an interception today and made a few other plays. He is making things very difficult on the coaches. To keep him they will either have to cut Quinton Dunbar or Dashaun Phillips or go with six corners. The latter is hard to justify when you already have two safeties, Hall and Blackmon, who played corner their entire careers until this year.

—Last week Matt Jones said that he worked a lot on lowering his pad level over the offseason. He has not done it much during training camp; Jones still runs upright. But last year he was admonished for lowering his pads in practice. It was a little too rough and dangerous for a limited-contact practice.  He only got two carries in Atlanta so it’s hard to tell if he really has changed his style. Green said that they want to “get him going” next week against the Jets so maybe we’ll get a chance to see.

—Did Nate Sudfeld lock up a spot on the 53-man roster against the Falcons? There has been plenty of speculation that the Redskins will go with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and hope that they can keep Sudfeld on the practice squad. But for a stretch in the third and fourth quarters the rookie looked better than he has at any point in training camp. You could picture him getting the team through a bad spot if disaster struck at the quarterback position during the season. Even considering that the opposition was the Falcons’ third teamers that was a respectable performance.

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Despite a few highlights Dwayne Haskins knows his play 'wasn't good enough'

Despite a few highlights Dwayne Haskins knows his play 'wasn't good enough'

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins played poorly on Sunday, throwing an awful interception in the second half and missing some opportunities throughout the game. 

He got sacked six times, so not everything was on him, and the Redskins run game was largely ineffective too. Still, after an encouraging performance in Washington's last game in Buffalo, Haskins disappointed in Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Jets. The young quarterback admitted as much after the game. 

"It was okay," Haskins said of his play, where he completed 19 of 35 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. 

"It wasn’t good enough."

True words from the rookie, but what gets tough is to reconcile his full showing against the Jets. At halftime Haskins had fewer than 60 yards passing and most of his throws missed the mark significantly. His completions early on largely came at or around the line of scrimmage. His first half was a gigantic step back from the Buffalo game.

In the second half, he found some success, including a 45-yard touchdown throw to Derrius Guice that came on a screen pass. He also connected with Terry McLaurin on a 41-yard deep ball. 

"It’s tough. You have guys who have been in the league a long time. As a young dude with a new voice, you have to earn their trust," Haskins said. "You have to earn that ability to ask for what you see out there. As the game went on telling them what I want and what I think would help us make plays. They started listening to me. I have to keep earning that.”

Haskins' success did not come until Washington was trailing by more than four touchdowns. The Jets were mostly playing base defense. He eventually made plays, but they occurred long after the game had been decided. For Redskins fans, that makes a bit of a conundrum. Was Haskins' late surge impressive, or the result of a game already lost?

Put simply: In a lost season where the only thing that matters is the quarterback's long-term development, do garbage time stats matter? Does garbage time even exist in a garbage season? Bad football shouldn't create an existential crisis, but in a way, it has. Haskins was bad most of the game, except at the end, when he wasn't. Almost.

Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan didn't have much of an answer after the game.

"I think Dwayne's learning. This will be a great learning experience for him and he'll get better from it," Callahan said. "We all have those experiences in life where we fail and don't do as well. Then you come out of it learning a little bit more about yourself about, what you can do better and take it to the practice field."

Learning. Progression. The words exist but it's hard to know if they accurately describe Haskins' play. The Redskins scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game that was lost by halftime. 

Was that growth? Whatever it was, for Haskins, it wasn't good enough. The rookie quarterback said so himself. 

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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

FEDEX FIELD -- There's an age-old saying, 'there's no place like home.'

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder called FedEx Field home for four seasons but departed this past offseason for New York on a lucrative three-year, $28.5 million deal. At the time, letting Crowder walk did not seem like a big deal for Washington. His final season with the Burgundy and Gold was injury-shortened and unproductive, and the price tag seemed a little steep for a slot receiver.

On Sunday, Crowder returned to Washington for the first time as a visitor, and he certainly felt right back at home. The 26-year-old receiver finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 34-17 victory over Washington, a game that was not really close at all.

"It means a lot. Great team win," Crowder said on the victory. "Just to come back here to FedEx [Field] against the Redskins, for me, it's a great feeling. I'm just glad to be winning."

In his first year sporting green and white instead of burgundy and gold, the slot receiver has been a valuable asset for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Through 10 games, Crowder has recorded 53 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns with a 73.8 percent catch rate. He's on pace for 85 catches and just under 900 yards on the season, both of which would be career highs. 

"Crowder did a great job of making catches when [he] needed to," Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said. 

Meanwhile, his former team has struggled mightily on offense, especially over the last month of the season. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' 45-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Guice snapped a 16 quarter touchdown-less streak Washington had been on. That's four full games without a touchdown. The streak was the longest of such in nearly two decades.

Crowder, who played in a relatively high-scoring offense during his time in Washington, was asked whether he was surprised about the team's struggles. 

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much," Crowder said. "I think they have a really good ball team over there across the board. Especially on defense, they have a lot of guys that are really good. Offensively, they got a lot of guys that make plays, young guys that make plays. I haven't really thought about what's going on with them."

With Crowder's departure, the Redskins expected second-year receiver Trey Quinn to fill the void. Quinn has been unproductive and disappointing. He finished Sunday's contest with just two catches for nine yards, an unacceptable performance from someone who Washington counted on to make a leap in 2019. In 10 games, Quinn has a total of 198 receiving yards, with no more than 36 yards in any contest. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin's emergence as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise lost season for Washington, but even his production doesn't match Crowder's. 

Crowder was certainly happy to defeat his old team but downplayed having any extra juice entering the matchup.

"There wasn't any extra motivation. I just approached it as another game," Crowder said. "It was just a little different going against the guys that I played four years with. I'm familiar with a lot of guys over there. For me, that's the only thing. For my preparation, I just approached it as another game."

Crowder may have seen Sunday as just another game, but the Redskins should look at his performance and see a player they maybe should have kept.

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