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Redskins dominate in final tune-up

Redskins dominate in final tune-up

While a number of Redskins might jump each time their phone rings over the next 48 hours, Billy Cundiff wont be sweating Fridays final cuts.

The only kicker on the roster after he was signed Tuesday after Graham Gano was released, Cundiff said his focus is on developing chemistry with long snapper Nick Sundberg and Sav Rocca before the regular season opener in New Orleans on Sept. 9.

Cundiff was pleased with his debut Wednesday at FedEx Field, where he went 3 for 4 on field goal attempts in a 30-3 victory over Tampa Bay in the preseason finale for both teams.

The former Raven connected on kicks of 39, 27 and 22 yards, while missing from 46. He also made all three extra points and was credited with touchbacks on five of his six kickoffs.

Disappointed about the miss, but all things considered, we had four reps in practice yesterday and pre game today, he said. Theres definitely some things we have to iron out with the rhythm, getting used to each other.

As for the positions that remain undecided, heres a quick rundown of the latest developments:

Bank it: Wide receiver Brandon Banks likely helped his chances of making the 53-man roster. He had a 47-yard reception, took a reverse 43 yards and averaged 13.2 yards on five punt returns. But he also muffed a punt and fumbled a handoff.

No, Banks said, asked if hes going to be nervous Friday as teams cut down from 75 to 53 players. I think I put enough on film to still have a job somewhere. If not here, somewhere else.

Asked about his diving catch on the long third-quarter pass from Kirk Cousins, Banks said: I had opportunities, and I made the best of it. It felt good to finally catch a ball and show Im capable of going deep as a wide receiver.

Defensive MVP: Rookie corner back Richard Crawford had a tackle, defended a pass and made his second interception of the preseason in the third quarter. Crawford challenged Tiquan Underwood on a deep pass and pulled the ball away from Bucs wide receiver.

Im new to this business, so I dont really have a confidence level, Crawford said of making the team. Ill be by my phone.

Crawford sustained a sprained right knee but returned to the game and later reported that hes a little sore but fine.

Offensive MVP: Roy Helu Jr., who missed the past two games with sore Achilles tendons on both legs, rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 34 yards.

Injuries have muddled the running back position, but it appears likely that Coach Mike Shanahan will keep four running backs: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Alfred Morris and Helu.

Uncertain future: Like a number of Redskins, the next day and a half figures to be excruciating for wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Dezmon Briscoe.

Armstrong caught two passes for 61 yards and received ample time on special teams, while Briscoe did not enter the game until the second half and did not play on special teams as much as he had hoped.

This has been crazy, Armstrong said of the competition at wide receiver. Theres talent from the top to the bottom, which is going to make for some difficult decisions.

Briscoe added: Im not really too confident on whether Im going to make it or not. I wasnt really part of the rotation on special teams.

Injury report: Royster started the game at running back but was removed after suffering what Shanahan called a little sprained neck. He did not appear to be injured seriously as he exited the dressing room afterward. Running back Tristan Davis sprained his right knee in the first quarter on special teams and did not return.

Rough day: For perhaps the first time in NFL history, a review ended up getting looked at again by the replacement officials. Following a lengthy review to check the correct spot of the ball, referee Jim Core announced to the crowd: Were going to look at it one more time. The sparse crowd booed.

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Why Dwayne Haskins could be the first Ohio State QB to find real success in the NFL

Why Dwayne Haskins could be the first Ohio State QB to find real success in the NFL

The Ohio State University has one of the most prestigious football programs in all of college football.

Year in and year out, the Buckeyes are National Championship contenders, and also produce some of the best NFL players of any school. Ohio State has produced 81 first-round NFL Draft picks in their program history, tied with the University of Southern California for the most of any school.

But for whatever reason, quarterbacks that hail from the Columbus-based university don't tend to usually find success at the next level. The Redskins need this trend to end now. The Burgundy and Gold invested a first-round pick on former Buckeye Dwayne Haskins, who they expect to be their franchise quarterback for the next several years.

The Redskins Talk podcast sat down with Ohio State football beat reporter Bill Rabinowitz last week to discuss Haskins' lone season as the Buckeyes' starter, his leadership qualities, how he's different from past Ohio State quarterbacks and why he might be the first former Buckeye QB to experience real NFL success.

Despite only spending one year as the Buckeyes starter, Haskins turned in the best statistical season of any Ohio State quarterback in program history.  

He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. He also broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, tossing 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

"Maybe the most impressive single season by any Ohio State quarterback," Rabinowitz said on Haskins' 2018 season.

Over the past couple of decades, the Buckeyes have had some very successful college quarterbacks, they just were unable to translate it to the next level.

"Ohio State's history at every other position is pretty impressive in the NFL," Rabinowitz said. "Probably the best quarterback they've every produced is Mike Tomzack in terms of a pro career. He was undrafted. Troy Smith looked like he had the chance to do that, but never really panned out in the pros."

Before Haskins, the previous two Buckeye quarterbacks, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, combined to win a National Championship for Ohio State. Neither one has been able to establish themselves in the NFL. Other recent examples include Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, who both had spectacular careers as Buckeye QBs before switching to wide receiver in the NFL.

But Rabinowitz says Haskins is "on a different level than those guys as a passer." Unlike many of the past Ohio State quarterbacks, Haskins relies on his arm a lot more than his legs. 

Some draft experts were skeptical of Haskins because of the type of offense Ohio State ran, which included a lot of short, quick passes. But Rabinowitz believes Haskins' arm will allow him to be successful in the NFL.

"Sure there were some shovel passes, but [Haskins] made some deep throws that were just spot on," he said. "Just beautiful, majestic throws. Even from high in the press box, you just went 'wow.' There should be no question about Dwayne Haskins ability to make every throw."

Of course, Rabinowitz was asked by the podcast crew the question that will dominate training camp headlines: Should Haskins start Week 1?

While Rabinowitz admitted that he was not too familiar with the Redskins' QB situation, he did say that because of Haskins' lack of experience, "it may be best not to throw him in with the wolves right away."

"I covered Tim Couch with the Browns in 1999, we saw what happened with him," Rabinowitz said. "Carson Palmer with the Bengals, he didn't play at all his first year, and he was a Heisman Trophy winner. I see the benefits. I know it's tempting to have a first-round pick and want to play him, and if he's their best option, maybe he should play. [Haskins] will do everything in his power to be as ready as he can be, but the NFL is different than the college game."

Training camp and the preseason will be telling for Haskins as to how soon Redskins' fans can expect him to be on the field.

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Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba

Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba


The story of the Lion King is one that takes many of us to our childhood, a feel-good story about a young cub going through adversity to become  King.

It's a story Redskins new quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Junior, has related to since he was a child himself, having taken on the moniker Simba. 
 
Disney first came out with the movie in 1994 and just released a photorealistic live-action re-make.  Haskins made sure he was there for the world premiere in Los Angeles walking the red carpet with his girlfriend Savhana Cousin earlier this month.

"The new Lion King brought so many great old memories!" he tweeted. "A blessing to be a part of. "


 
Haskins sees many parallels in Simba. He told me before the draft that the nickname first came from when his aunt was combing out his hair saying he looked like a lion.  

Beyond that, he liked the story of the young cub going through adversity to become King.

"The story behind him growing to king, going through adversity, and having to fall to get up and that's just something that resonates with my story. Everyone sees the highs of everything but not what it takes to get there," he said.

He has even used the story for his own clothing brand as well, Kingdom of Pride. 

Haskins fell in the draft to number 15 and the Redskins but has every intention of proving he is worthy of the pick and one day winning what he declares will be multiple Super Bowls.  

That would certainly fall in line with the story of Simba taking back the kingdom.  

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