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Redskins over/under: Alfred Morris

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Redskins over/under: Alfred Morris

In the coming days, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to have some fun with numbers—Las Vegas style. Each morning, we’ll pick a player or unit that’s expected to make a major impact for the Redskins in 2015, set an over/under and then make our predictions. We encourage you to play along in the comments section below.

Will Alfred Morris thrive in Bill Callahan’s revamped run game?

1,200 yards rushing—Morris’ yardage total has declined in each of his three NFL seasons, dropping from a high of 1,613 as a rookie to 1,275 in 2013 to 1,074 last year.

El-Bashir—Under: While I do expect Morris to remain the Redskins’ No. 1 running back throughout the 2015 season, my gut also tells me rookie Matt Jones will get more work than some are anticipating. After all, there’s a reason he appeared to get more work with the first team than other backups during offseason workouts. As such, I think Morris will end up getting 230-240 carries (his previous low was 265) and gain 1,000-1,100 yards.

Tandler—Over: I agree that Jones will get a fairly substantial workload, perhaps 75-100 carries. But they won’t necessarily come at the expense of Morris. The team had 401 rushing attempts in 2014 and if things fall into place they want to run it more like 500 times this year. That should leave about 275 carries for Morris. He should get his average closer to 4.5 yards per carry (up from 4.1 last year) and that would give him around 1,250 yards.

10.5 rushing touchdowns—Morris scored 13 times as a rookie, seven times as a sophomore and eight times last season.

El-Bashir—Under: I suspect Jones’ presence will take some opportunities away from Morris in the red zone as well. Jones’ versatility and physicality could make him a dangerous player at or near the goal line. As a result, I think Morris will have a tough time topping the eight TDs he scored last year.

Tandler—Under: It seems that NFL coordinators are starting to stack up their defenses against the run in the red zone and daring teams to get into the end zone passing into a crowded, short field. Only two running backs scored double digit touchdowns, DeMarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch, who scored 13 each. I think Morris will come close but if Jones proves to be a viable option in the red zone I think Morris scored eight or nine.

16.5 receptions—Last season, Morris hauled in a career-high 17 receptions. But he was also credited with five drops, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

El-Bashir—Under: Morris is a productive, rugged runner and, at 26 years old, has some good years left in him. But he offers little in the passing game, and I don’t expect that to change. Jones and Chris Thompson/Silas Redd will be the primary pass catchers out of the backfield. I suspect Morris will end up with 10-12 receptions.

Tandler—Over: No, Morris is not going to be Matt Forte coming out of the backfield. But they need to throw it to him a couple of times a game to keep the defense honest. When he holds on to the ball he’s pretty effective; his 9.1 yards per catch average last year is very good for a running back. 

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Video of Terry McLaurin's insane minicamp catch is finally out and you need to watch it

Video of Terry McLaurin's insane minicamp catch is finally out and you need to watch it

Back in a June 5 minicamp practice, Dwayne Haskins threw a touchdown to Terry McLaurin. But this was no ordinary touchdown. It wasn't even an extraordinary touchdown.

It was honestly an extra extraordinary touchdown. In fact, if it happened during a real game, it would've counted for double points.

Unfortunately, the score came during a period of no filming, so none of the assembled media were able to get the highlight on camera. Tweets were sent, but the play deserved far more than the handful of characters on social media it received:

Luckily, a few weeks later, footage from that sequence has finally been released. You know how Taylor Swift will randomly drop a song and music video out of nowhere? This is like that, except it involves two Ohio State rookies making football magic instead of a bunch of veiled shots at other celebrities.

Here's the catch, which is still hard to process no matter how often you watch it:

If you really, really slow the clip down, it appears as if McLaurin reaches around cornerback Deion Harris, hauls in the ball with two hands right in front of the defender, then transfers it to his one hand while securing the grab. It's just insane.

There are almost no circumstances where it's acceptable to full-on spike a ball in minicamp. However, McLaurin mega-spiked it following this TD and deservedly so, too. Hopefully, next time he pulls something like this off, it'll be on a Sunday in front of plenty of cameras. 

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Redskins fans shouldn't forget about Colt McCoy because the coaches haven't

Redskins fans shouldn't forget about Colt McCoy because the coaches haven't

After a third surgery on his leg in April, Colt McCoy did not practice with the team during OTAs or mandatory minicamp. He was in Ashburn for many of the workouts, but did not take any team snaps.

In a normal quarterback battle, that would put McCoy at a distinct disadvantage, but the Redskins quarterback battle is not exactly normal. 

Veteran Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins got nearly all of the work at signal caller during the spring practice sessions, and both showed signs of being able to take over head coach Jay Gruden's offense. Keenum proved he can handle the huddle and has quickness when plays broke down behind the line of scrimmage. Haskins showed a rocket arm and a ton of potential, but he's also a rookie trying to learn a boatload about life in the NFL in a hurry, like calling plays, and that showed too. 

All of that is a long way to say neither Keenum nor Haskins locked up the top QB job. And that means the door is still open for McCoy.

"We would love for him to take some reps, but obviously his health is more important right now than anything, and that is the most important thing for him," Gruden said about McCoy on the first day of minicamp. "When his time comes it will come quickly. He will be ready."

Gruden's quote speaks to the biggest advantage McCoy will have once he hits the field. He's been with the Redskins since 2014, and knows Gruden's version of the West Coast offense backwards and forwards. 

Throughout the spring sessions, Haskins made clear that his number one goal for the offseason was to learn the playbook and gain mastery of calling plays in the huddle. McCoy already has that.

Speaking with reporters on the last day of minicamp, Keenum explained that Gruden's offense is the seventh or eighth new system he's learned in the NFL. Keenum said each system is like learning a new language, and that "there is no Rosetta Stone for the West Coast Offense."

If there was a translator, its name would be Colt McCoy. 

Once doctors clear the former University of Texas star, he will immediately be the Redskins quarterback with the best understanding of the offense. That will show up on the field right away.

Remember too that Gruden has tried to turn to McCoy as his quarterback at a few different turns, but injuries have always derailed those plans. If McCoy gets fully healthy in time for Richmond, which team sources believe will happen, he has a chance to finally take over this job.

Make no mistake, Haskins is the Redskins long-term future at the quarterback position. He has the talent but needs to learn the speed of the NFL, from playcalling to pass rush. Eventually though, he will be on the field for the Redskins. 

If he wins the job, it's his.

Same for Keenum, who is probably better than he showed last year in Denver but not as good as his career season with Minnesota in 2017. Keenum could certainly start Week 1 in Philadelphia and is probably ahead of Haskins right now. 

But fans would be wise not to count McCoy out of the quarterback competition. The Redskins coaching staff definitely hasn't. 

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