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Redskins Gruden on Jackson: 'He has not slowed down at all'

Redskins Gruden on Jackson: 'He has not slowed down at all'

If the Redskins are going to beat the Giants on Sunday and make it into the NFL playoffs, it seems likely that DeSean Jackson is going to have to play a part in it. The veteran receiver has been on fire lately. He has over 100 yards receiving in four of his last five games. In the other game in that stretch he caught a 59-yard bomb that set up a Redskins touchdown. In all, since the Redskins’ Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas Jackson has 20 receptions for 504 yards, a blistering average of 25.2 yards per reception.

Jackson was not as effective in most games earlier in the season but he did play a key role in the Redskins’ Week 3 win over the Giants He caught five passes for 96 yards but two of those catches loomed large. The Redskins were trailing 21-9 with the second quarter winding down. From the Washington 25, Kirk Cousins hooked up with Jackson twice. The first one covered 31 yards and on the very next play Cousins went to Jackson in the end zone for the touchdown. Two plays, 75 yards, and the Redskins were back in the game.

In Jackson’s recent hot streak, it doesn’t matter if the other team goes zone or with man coverage. He can beat either.

“Some of them he’s beaten man coverage, which is good to see,” said Jay Gruden. “But for the most part he’s making big plays in zones, which the two catches that he had – or three – big plays that he had were in zone coverage so it’s good to see him find holes in zones and the quarterback finding him. But, like I said before, we have a progression-based offense, especially when you play zone. And it’s up to the quarterback and the offensive line to have the time and find the right spots in the right holes and Kirk did a great job. So did DeSean.”

Jackson turned 30 earlier this month. At that age, the potential to lose some speed starts to be a concern. But not for Jackson, at least as far as Gruden is concerned.

“He’s not slowed down at all,” said Gruden. “Sometimes when he’s jogging it looks like he’s running 100 miles an hour. He’s got great speed, obviously he’s got great quickness and still has unbelievable hands.”

The Redskins need to take advantage of his speed, quickness, great hands, and production while they can. Jackson will be a free agent in 2017 and the organization may have to decide between keeping Jackson and keeping Pierre Garçon, who also turned 30 recently and he also will be a free agent. The two players combined to take up more than $18 million in cap space this year. They are likely to sign similar contracts next year and the Redskins will be wary of having so much money tied up in two receivers who are over 30 years old.

Jackson said on Wednesday that he is intrigued by the prospect of become a free agent but he will worry about that when the time comes. For now, he wants to go deep and try to get his current team into the playoffs.

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Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

While some may be hesitant to crown Dwayne Haskins the future of the Redskins organization, Doug Williams has made his stance on the former 2019 first-round draft pick clear: He's a fan.

“I’m a fan of him. We have a good relationship," Williams told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "Like I tell him all the time, I don’t coach him, but I can coach him on a lot of other things other than on the football field and how to handle certain things. Him and I have a good relationship. "

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As the Washington Redskins SVP of Player Development, Williams has a significant role in the front office. Haskins is one of the biggest prospects taken while he's been an executive of the team.

"I hear all the media pundits and stuff talk about what we should do regarding Haskins," Williams said. "But from what I’ve seen this young man do last year, I can’t see too many people as or more talented than him.”

In Haskins' nine appearances last season, he threw for 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 1,365 yards. 

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Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Since Ron Rivera took over as the Redskins head coach in early January, he has insisted on finding competition for rising second-year passer Dwayne Haskins. Rivera found that competition when the Redskins acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago, and the two are expected to compete for the starting job come training camp.

Rivera spoke to the local media on Tuesday for the first time since the trade and explained he envisions "a good competition" between the two. But as Rivera went on to rave about Allen's character, it's clear the Redskins new head coach brought in Allen for multiple other reasons besides just competing with the Redskins first-round pick from a year ago.

Allen -- an undrafted free agent in 2018 who started 12 games a season ago -- has played every role a quarterback can possibly have at some point during his first two seasons in the league. His mindset, and the ability to handle different roles and responsibilities, is something that stood out to the new Redskins head coach.

"What he's really concerned about is doing the best job he can," Rivera said. "If he ends up starting and being the guy, great. He'll be fired up about it. And if he's not, if he's in a backup role, he'll be fired up about that as well."

Although there will be some sort of QB competition, the Redskins don't necessarily expect Allen to win the job. Rivera even said as much during a radio interview last week, as the team plans to enter training camp with Haskins as QB1. Others, such as former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, simply think Haskins is the better player.

But should Allen have to step in as the team's starter for one reason or another, Rivera has full confidence in the 24-year-old. Allen is familiar with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system, one he called difficult to grasp but a system that has plenty of potential once learned. 

When in Carolina, Allen spent two seasons in the same room as Cam Newton, someone Rivera referred to is having a "strong personality." Rivera was impressed with how Allen handled himself there, especially with there being constant change at the position due to multiple injuries to Newton and former Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke. 

"Having been around Kyle for two seasons, I've kind of watched him interact with the quarterbacks that were in the room," Rivera said. "He was in the room with a very strong personality in Cam Newton, and Kyle handled himself tremendously. I just know what kind of person he is and feel like he's the kind of guy going into this, he's not threatened by anything."

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Outside of Haskins and Allen, the Redskins still have Alex Smith under contract as the veteran QB continues to recover from his gruesome leg injury. While Rivera has said not to rule out Smith in the past, the move to acquire Allen was something the head coach called "insurance," as Smith is still rehabbing and a ways away from returning to the field.

When taking the Redskins head coaching job, Rivera knew he would be tasked with turning around the culture in Redskins Park, a culture that has not seen playoff success in over a decade. Turning around a culture means finding people that will buy into the team mindset and the overarching goal within the organization, and that's something Rivera thinks Allen will do tremendously.

"He's the right kind of person for that room, and that's what I felt very strongly about," Allen said. "That's why we were able to make the deal with Carolina and bring him in. I just think he's got that real good sense about him, you know, being part of something is better than being an individual."

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