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Redskins get back to balance between run and pass against Eagles

Redskins get back to balance between run and pass against Eagles

PHILADELPHIA—One of the topics of conversation this week at Redskins Park was how the team has seemed to have abandoned the running game during their two-game losing streak. Top back Rob Kelley had just 14 carries in the team’s losses to the Cowboys and Cardinals. Even offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who calls the plays, admitted that the team got away from the run when it wasn’t necessary, especially in Arizona.

They didn’t exactly wear Kelley out today against the Eagles but they were balanced on offense and that helped them break that losing streak. McVay called 23 pass plays and 22 runs. The Redskins managed 334 yards of offense, they were able to put together four touchdown drives, and get the win.

Chris Thompson didn’t carry much but he had the winning touchdown run. The Redskins trailed 22-21 at the two-minute warning and had the ball at the Eagles 25. Thompson took a pitch to the left from Kirk Cousins, eluded a tackle from defensive end Vinny Curry, and all of a sudden he found wide open spaces. He said it was because “Trent Williams was out there doing Trent Williams things”, meaning that the Pro Bowl left tackle was out in front blocking defenders in the open field. The speedy Thompson followed the blocking, cut back to his right a bit, and scooted in for the touchdown.

“We were getting man-to-man,” said Redskins coach Jay Gruden. “We motioned over there and faked a little jet sweep to DeSean [Jackson]. We just down blocked and pulled our tackle and hopefully get five yards. I was hoping for 5, 6, 7 yards and run the clock down to get a field goal but the touchdown was great.”

For his part, Thompson really wanted no part of a field goal try. He recalled Dustin Hopkins’ 34-yard miss against the Bengals in London. Although scoring on the play did leave the Eagles with enough time to drive deep into Redskins territory, he was happy with it just the same.

“What if the field goal gets blocked?” Thompson asked. “What if the snap gets bobbled or something?”

He didn’t mention it, but Hopkins did miss a 38-yard field goal try by bouncing it off of the left upright earlier in the game. The end zone was the way to go.

Kelley also ran for a touchdown, this one from 22 yards out in the second quarter. The two runs don’t sound like much but it was the first time since at least 2004 that the Redskins have had two touchdown runs of over 20 yards in the same game.

It wasn’t a monster game for the rushing attack in general or for Kelley, who had 16 carries for 63 yards, in particular. But he made some plays and the team won and after what had transpired the last two games the Redskins will take it.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 observations from Redskins' narrow win over Eagles

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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.