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Redskins could be seeing same faces in different places in NFC East


Redskins could be seeing same faces in different places in NFC East

The Redskins might look around the NFC East next week and find that not much has changed. Some of the cards may have been shuffled but it appears that the faces remain the same.

The Giants are closing in on promoting Ben McAdoo to head coach, replacing Tom Coughlin. He has been their offensive coordinator for the last two years and he has worked wonders reviving the career of Eli Manning. The organization wanted to hold onto him and they decided the best way to do that was to promote him. It’s not a done deal yet but all reports are that things will be finalized soon.

Other than losing Coughlin and probably adding ex-Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin as their offensive coordinator, there isn’t much of a shakeup in New York. Steve Spagnuolo will remain as the coordinator of a defense that was ranked last in the league (yes, worse than the Saints). General Manager Reese will remain in place despite drafts that have been stunningly bad per this ESPN article.

The Giants have not been to the playoffs in the last four years and have posted double-digit losses in each of the last two years. But co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch apparently have decided that just a bit of tinkering will do more good than making wholesale changes.

And they should be given some benefit of the doubt. They have two Super Bowl trophies from the last nine years, while no other NFC East team has even made an appearance in The Big One in that time span. The organization has made some blunders hiring coaches in the past but it’s been a long time since they hired Ray Handley.

Still, a team that generally stays away from making any kind of splash in the free agency market needs to draft better. Maybe Reese can improve but, as noted above, he has a long way to go before he even can be considered competent.

Meanwhile, the Eagles “have turned their attention to” Coughlin to be the man to replace Chip Kelly, according to Adam Schefter. This is even further from a done deal than McAdoo’s promotion in New York is but it seems to be the top possibility at the moment.

Seeing Coughlin in Eagles green would be odd, to say the least. He certainly is an established, respected coach who has had success in the past. The old-school Coughlin could be the perfect replacement for Kelly’s “revolutionary” approach to the game. But the “what have you done lately” category does not look good for Coughlin, with the four straight years without a playoffs spot and a 19-29 record in the last three seasons.

He also might be considered a bit old to be taking over a new team. Coughlin will turn 70 about a week before the 2016 season starts. To be sure, he seems to be very sharp and energetic now. But they say that Father Time is undefeated. That usually refers to players but it’s true for all of us.

Despite all of the head-scratching moves (and non-moves), there is no reason for the Redskins to look around and think that the division will continue to remain down if and when the changes (and non-changes) go down. The Cowboys should have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back (and GM Jerry Jones, too), the Eagles have some talented players, and the Giants are unlikely to fall very far for very long. 

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It's not just Alex Smith - Derrius Guice also dealt with post-surgery infection

It's not just Alex Smith - Derrius Guice also dealt with post-surgery infection

During the last month, the average Redskin fan learned more about post-surgery infections than most football fans ever considered. 

The news surrounding Alex Smith's recovery from a broken leg has been upsetting, particularly that Smith has dealt with a serious infection and had to undergo multiple procedures to clean up the wound. Smith's situation was unique, he broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg, and the fracture wasn't clean

Still, alarming news emerged this week that Smith was not the only Redskins player to deal with post-surgery infection. 

Rookie Derrius Guice injured his knee in the preseason, ending his season and ruining a full offseason of momentum. Before he ever played a game, Guice became a fan favorite with his engaging enthusiasm. Then, he injured his knee in the preseason and was lost for the year. 

For many players, surgery is tough, but then rehab begins. 

For Guice - like Smith - that wasn't the case.

After his knee surgery, Guice suffered an infection that lasted two months and required three additional procedures, The Washington Post reported. That required seven weeks of antibiotics which included significant use of IVs, swelling, flu-like symptoms and having his knee drained. 

The experience forced Guice to stay in Louisiana for months, closer to Dr. James Andrews office in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and away from his Redskins teammates in Ashburn. 

Now, finally, Guice is feeling better and expects to be all the way back for offseason work in 2019. That's great news for the Redskins.

Guice was considered to be the focal point of the Washington offense before the knee injury in the preseason, and he's a running back with immense potential. 

On some level, however, it's quite alarming that both Smith and Guice suffered infections after major injuries. 

Smith's injury was grotesque enough that there were immediate worries of infection. Even with the advanced concern, the infection still came. 

Guice's injury was severe, but not like Smith. And still, the infection came. 

It would take a forensic medical team to compare the situations and figure out if there is something the Redskins need to address. That won't happen on this page. 

At the same time, however, what were the odds back in training camp that the Redskins' then starting quarterback and running back would not only need surgery on their leg, but both would suffer from post-op infection? 

Like many things with the Redskins' 2018 season, there seem to be more questions than answers. The good news, Guice should be back for 2019. As of now, the same can't be said for Smith. 


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How Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson is cramming for his first start in seven years


How Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson is cramming for his first start in seven years

REDSKINS PARK The surprise has worn off now and the work has begun in earnest for Josh Johnson, who will start his first NFL game in seven years when the Redskins play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

That is not something he or the Redskins would have thought possible during the summer. Alex Smith was going to be the new starting quarterback and Colt McCoy was set to be his backup. Then Smith and McCoy sustained broken legs in a nine-day span last month and the unthinkable happened. 

Behind an offensive line decimated by injuries once again, Johnson at least moved the ball when called upon down 40-0 against the New York Giants on Sunday at FedEx Field. Redskins coach Jay Gruden immediately made the decision to give Johnson the start against Jacksonville. A career backup now on his 12th NFL organization will start for a team whose season has cratered during a four-game losing streak. 

Johnson says he’s ready and that his journey around the NFL is part of the reason why. The Redskins had an extended practice on Wednesday with scripted sessions and walk throughs at the beginning and end to get him comfortable with the offense. He’s familiar with Gruden thanks to their time together in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, when Gruden was the offensive coordinator. But it’s a lot to cram into one week and the playbook will naturally be limited.      

"It has helped because I’ve been around a lot of different quarterbacks, a couple Super Bowl quarterbacks, a Hall of Fame quarterback, first-round picks, fifth-round picks,” Johnson said. “I’ve experienced coaching from numerous coaches and you pick up on some common traits. You pick up on different things where you can apply it when necessary whether it is preparation, performance, mental stability. Everything becomes a full circle, so it’s getting me ready for Sunday."

But prior to Sunday’s loss to the Giants, Johnson last threw a pass in a game on Dec. 11, 2011. Ironically, that came for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Jaguars in a 41-14 loss. Johnson’s last start was the week before that in a 38-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers. 

Cam Newton was a rookie. So was Redskins linebacker Mason Foster, who was Johnson’s teammate that day, too, as a starting rookie linebacker for the Buccaneers. Johnson appeared in two more games with Tampa Bay and then began his journey around the NFL. 

His stops included Cleveland, Cincinnati and San Francisco twice each, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Baltimore, New York with both the Jets and the Giants, Houston, his hometown Oakland Raiders this past offseason and now the Redskins.

“The one thing that I really respect about Josh Johnson is he is a very confident guy,” Gruden said. “He believes in his ability to be a quarterback in the National Football League despite being on [12] teams. He has a skill set that’s pretty good but hasn’t been able to stick anywhere, but still, the game's not too big for him.” 

Indeed, Johnson came on with 5:31 left in the third quarter and his team down 40-0 against New York and completed 11 of 16 passes and had seven carries for 45 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown plus two two-point conversions. He didn’t look nervous. 

With Washington’s situation at both left and right guard so disastrous because of injury, there isn’t much Gruden can do to change the playbook. Johnson’s mobility allows the Redskins to use him a little differently than Mark Sanchez, who originally took over for McCoy but struggled against New York and was benched.

Johnson is still grasping the new terminology, though. He was with Gruden in Cincinnati in 2013, a backup on a team that made the playoffs, but much of that wording was changed when Gruden arrived in Washington in 2014. But Jon Gruden – Jay’s brother and the Raiders’ head coach – once told Johnson to keep a manual on what coaches across the NFL are doing when he was between jobs so he’d be prepared if a call came. It did, but this time from a familiar face. They all hope it helps. 

“To come back and kind of experience a similar culture and being in something that I've been comfortable with before, it's kind of a blessing for me,” Johnson said. “Because I don’t really have to go through the rigors of a coach trying to figure me out. It's more of just figuring me in.”