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Redskins players remember National Signing Day with stories from Denny's, prom dates and family

Redskins players remember National Signing Day with stories from Denny's, prom dates and family

As the college football world obsesses over high school seniors sending faxes on National Signing Day, some of the Redskins players remembered their declaring moment. Below are texts from a number of Redskins players about their signing day. For some, it was a big deal. For others, it wasn't. If there is any lesson in this, remember, some current NFL players were not highly recruited, so don't go freaking out if an 18-year-old picks the wrong hat.

  • Mason Foster - University of Washington - "I remember waking up super early and sending it in before they could change their minds."
  • Martrell Spaight - University of Arkansas - "I remember the significant feeling of accomplishment and I remember my parents crying, just knowing their sacrifices are paying off in me going in the right direction."
  • Will Blackmon - Boston College - "My recruiting was wild, but I decided to end it, probably around December. I didn't have the big reveal with the hat or anything."
  • Will Compton - University of Nebraska - "Announcing on a Nebraska radio station and the celebratory song being 'Straight Outta Compton'."
  • A.J. Francis - University of Maryland - "I remember I wore a red sport coat, and I remember that when I sent the paper through the fax machine I knew I did everything I needed to in my life up to that point to be successful. I also remember being salty my teammate Cam Johnson had TV stations come see him sign to UVA and nobody cared I signed at UMD (lol)." 
  • Nick Sundberg - University of California - "I didn't get recruited in high school so I honestly didn't even know when signing day was."
  • Trent Murphy - Stanford University - "I committed to Coach Harbaugh. I just remember being pretty excited to go with my parents to signing day and put on that Cardinal S. Was a no brainer for me."
  • Tress Way - University of Oklahoma - "I was just thankful Oklahoma wanted me to play for them so I had my family there with me. Oh yes, I asked the hottest girl in school to go to prom with me in front of the whole school after I signed and she said yes (haha)."
  • Dustin Hopkins - Florida State University - "I remember being so honored to be in such select company not only within our school, but across the country. Our school allowed all the players committing that day to come to the gym and take pictures with our families, our coaches, and together for the media. Directly after pictures, I remember sneaking off with my folks to a Denny's across the street from school for a celebratory long lunch!"
  • Nate Sudfeld - Indiana University - "Nothing too special for me that day, just had a little ceremony in our basketball gym. It was pretty cool to have classmates, coaches, and teachers there who somewhat felt like they had a hand in my development (which they did) and then I could tell moving forward how they all were living vicariously through me!"

And one for good luck from a former Redskins player.

  • Fred Smoot - Mississippi State University - "It's nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. You are happy because it's one step closer but you are also afraid about if you made the right decision. It's an emotional roller coaster."

Smoot is generally the coolest dude in the room, so if the emotions of signing day even got to him, imagine what the high school kids are feeling now. The coverage is unprecedented. So remember college football fans, before you send that @ tweet, take a deep breath. 


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Forget about the RG3 trade and realize that good teams are making bold moves for QBs

USA Today Sports

Forget about the RG3 trade and realize that good teams are making bold moves for QBs

Forget about RG3 for a second. 

For some NFL teams, trading up for a quarterback actually works out well. 

That will be on display Sunday when Patrick Mahomes starts the AFC Championship game for the Chiefs. Two seasons ago, Kansas City traded up to draft Mahomes even though Alex Smith was on the roster at the time. 

The Chiefs gave up a first-rounder and a third-rounder to go from the 27th pick to the 10th pick and take Mahomes, and he's been dynamite since taking over the starting spot this year. He threw for 50 touchdowns this season and seems very likely to win the NFL MVP Award. 

The Chiefs made an aggressive move to get a franchise quarterback and it worked. 

They’re not alone. 

The Eagles did the same thing in 2016. Philadelphia moved up from the eighth overall pick to the second overall pick to select Carson Wentz.

The trade required the Eagles giving up additional picks, including a first-rounder in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018, but the move has been great for Philly. Even with injury troubles for Wentz, the Eagles are committed to their young franchise passer, so much that they will likely lose Super Bowl MVP backup QB Nick Foles this offseason. 

In Chicago, a 2017 trade to acquire Mitchell Trubisky has paid dividends.

The Bears gave up a lot to move up just one draft spot to be sure they could get Trubisky, and this year, the Bears won their first division title since 2010. As a passer, Trubisky is hardly a finished product, but he's given the Bears offense some playmaking ability at the most important position on the field. Chicago's team is driven by a great defense, but Trubisky has plenty of upside. The Bears are certainly happy with the trade. 

That's a long way of saying that not all NFL teams regret trading up in the draft for a quarterback. 

There have been other examples where the trade doesn't work, and probably the most notable is in Washington. 

For one season, Robert Griffin III looked like the future of the NFL: A strong-armed, lightning fast quarterback that could beat defenses multiple ways. Early on, the league didn't know how to stop Griffin. Eventually, teams figured out how to slow the read option and RG3's body took a lot of abuse. 

It's now a cautionary tale, especially because the 'Skins gave up a lot to get RG3, but it's also worth pointing out that 2012 was their best, and maybe only, chance at real playoff success in the last decade. Griffin was the engine.

What does all this mean for the 2019 NFL Draft?

With Alex Smith's significant leg injury, quarterback is again a position of need for Washington. The draft has one elite QB prospect in Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, and then a number of other passers with upside but question marks. Is Kyler Murray big enough to hold up? Has Daniel Jones shown enough? Is Drew Lock accurate enough? 

Moving up to get Haskins would be a bold move for Washington. The team has a number of holes and could use a strong draft to fill them. Going to get Haskins would sap the organization of their stable of picks. 

The flip side is nothing can change the tide of an organization like a really good QB. How different were the Colts this season with the return of Andrew Luck? Yes, it helped a lot that they invested on their offensive line and defense, but an elite arm throwing the ball changes everything for a football team. 

It might not be prudent for the Redskins to try and go get Haskins, but it might not be dumb either. It would be bold. 

In a league where aggressive moves are becoming the path to the playoffs, maybe Washington needs to try strong actions. 

Go back to the Bears. A year after giving up a lot to take Trubisky, the team then gave up another first-round pick to acquire Khalil Mack. Mack's been a star for Chicago, turning their defense from good to great. 

Bold moves can work. 

There is a big difference, however, between bold and reckless.

It's hardly a sure thing the Redskins will take a quarterback in the first round, and even less of a definite that the club would move up in the draft for a QB.

Still, framed by the incredible success of Mahomes in Kansas City, the Redskins cannot approach the 2019 offseason scared of making a move for a quarterback.

What the team cannot do — cannot — is make a move just to create buzz. This is not a deep draft class at QB, and paying up for any player other than Haskins seems like a short-sighted investment. 


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Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

USA Today Sports

Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

The Redskins announced the hiring of Nate Kaczor as their new special teams coach on Saturday morning. Kaczor will take over the role vacated by Ben Kotwica, who left Washington to take the same role in Atlanta.

Kaczor spent the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as special teams coordinator, but that coaching staff got let go this offseason. Prior to his work in Tampa, Kaczor coached in similar roles for the Titans and the Jaguars. 

It's not particularly easy to rank special teams, but Kotwica's groups did some things very well, particularly in punt coverage. Football Outsiders ranked all 32 special teams groups across the league based on a formula that combines field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, and punt returns; The Redskins ranked 8th and Tampa ranked 29th. 

On the flip side, the Redskins had some of the lowest kick and punt return yardage in the NFL last season. The Redskins gained just 110 yards on all of their punt returns for the year. 

Head coach Jay Gruden spoke about bringing in Kaczor.

"We are excited to have Nate join our staff. We have had the opportunity to face his special teams play during his time at Tampa Bay and respected competing against him," Gruden said via press release. "He is a competitor and we have noticed and admired the intensity his units have played with through the course of his time as a special teams coordinator and assistant coach in the NFL."