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Redskins pass catchers land very low in national rank, but how much higher should they be?

Redskins pass catchers land very low in national rank, but how much higher should they be?

The Redskins lost a lot in the offseason at the receiver position.

DeSean Jackson took his vertical speed and 1,000 yards receiving to Tampa Bay via free agency. Pierre Garçon took his toughness, play making and his 1,000 receiving yards to San Francisco

It became clear the Redskins were moving on from both players early in free agency, and neither exit was a surprise.

To offset the loss the Redskins brass signed Terrelle Pryor away from Cleveland. Pryor, playing with a collection of bad passers in 2016, still put up 1,000 receiving yards last season and could have a breakout in 2017 playing with Kirk Cousins.

All of this leads to a series of rankings published by Bleacher Report. Including tight ends, every NFL team's pass-catching group was ranked, and the Redskins landed quite low on the list. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

How low? 26th out of 32 teams. The author Doug Farrar explained:

Losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency? Those were two major hits to a Washington offense that came together well in 2016, including quarterback Kirk Cousins’ best season by far. But contractual drama with Cousins left little on the table for his best offensive weapons, and with those two top targets out the door, Cousins—who relies on his receivers to make plays—could be severely impacted.​

Farrar went on to explain that Pryor should help the offense, as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Reed, however, is too injury prone for Farrar, as well as 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson. 

Here's the thing: Farrar isn't wrong about much specifically, except he's wrong about the overall ranking. 

Jamison Crowder is an established slot man that could very well post 1,000 yards this season. Barring injury, Pryor seems certain to go over 1,000. The tight end position, between Reed and Davis, will go for another 1,000, just like it did last year.

Jay Gruden has made clear the Redskins offense runs through Reed, so with better health in 2017, he could again approach his 2015 totals of 87 catches, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Doctson remains a question, certainly. Missing the team portion of OTAs last week will do little to calm Redskins' fans fears about the second-year pro out of TCU. Still, he has a ton of talent if he can get on the field, something he and Gruden are confident will happen this fall.

Further down the Washington roster at wideout, while there is potential, there is hardly any production. The staff likes Mo Harris and Ryan Grant, and took a flier on 2012 second-round pick Brian Quick in free agency and drafted Robert Davis in the 6th round. But those options won't make defensive coordinators lose any sleep, and might even lay the groundwork for the team to check out recently released free agent Jeremy Maclin.

But, regardless of the Redskins inexperience in their fourth and fifth WR spots, this ranking is still too low. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Reed is arguably the best tight end in football, and is certainly no worse than third at the position. Pryor could be great this fall, and will very likely be good. Crowder's receiving totals improved by nearly 250 yards from his rookie season in 2016 to last year. Another similar improvement would land him with more than 1,000 yards and double digit TDs. 

Just based on those three players, the Redskins probably belong in the Top 20. And that's before Doctson's unique situation even gets considered. 

It's cherry picking, yes, but Farrar ranked the Buffalo Bills receiving group five spots ahead of the Redskins. The Bills top three pass catchers, per Farrar, are Sammy Watkins, rookie Zay Jones and tight end Charles Clay.

Watkins, despite spending his whole career at WR and being a Top 10 pick, has the same amount of 1,000 yard seasons as Pryor. One. Jones (ed. note: a rookie I really like) and Clay have done nothing close to the production of Crowder and Reed. 

Want another example?

The Vikings receiving group ranked 18th on this list, eight spots ahead of Washington. 

Their top three pass catchers, not necessarily in order, would likely be Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. Show me the personnel man that would take that group over Pryor, Reed and Crowder. 

These rankings are a hypothetical list, done for speculation and ultimately a fun way to compare things for fans. The Redskins seem far too low, but that doesn't mean the group belongs in the Top 10 either.

Beyond Pryor and Crowder, there is no established player in the Redskins receiving group. Gruden and company seem quite confident in their young pass catchers. This season they will get the chance to prove if they're right. 

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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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