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Redskins should be able to go run heavy against Bears' defense

Redskins should be able to go run heavy against Bears' defense

The Redskins ran the ball on only 12 of their 59 offensive plays against the Panthers on Sunday. Lead back Rob Kelley had just nine carries and the leading rusher was quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had 12 yards on one carry (these stats exclude the Cousins kneel down at the end of the first half).

But while there was plenty of negative material for fans and members of the media to rehash after the game, the 20 percent to 80 percent run-pass ratio was not high on anyone’s list. That’s because anyone who watched the game could see that running was futile.

While many don’t take what Jay Gruden has to say after games with a lot more passes than runs at face value, I think most bought what he said to the media in a conference call on Tuesday.

“It was a problem [on Monday night], and as an offensive coordinator, when you’re calling plays, and you call a running play that’s a gain of one or a loss of one and the back is hit before he even gets the ball in his hands, it’s hard to call another run,” said Gruden.

The good news is that it shouldn’t be as hard to call another run when they play the Bears on Saturday. The Panthers are top 10 against the run almost any way you want to measure it. By those same metrics, the Bears are a bottom 10 unit. They are 23rd in rushing yards allowed and 20th in average per rush allowed. The number crunchers at Football Outsiders have them ranked 27th in rushing defense DVOA.

While is good to know that the defense should be hospitable to running the ball, the weather should be good for doing anything on offense. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 30’s with minimal wind. The Bears are just OK against the pass (14th in pass defense DVOA) so running to set up the pass should be the game plan.

Back to the Panthers game, the Redskins need to get to where they don’t have games like that. Two of their offensive linemen are going to the Pro Bowl. Besides the Carolina game they had games where they put up 55 (Steelers), 60 (Ravens), and 56 (@ Cowboys) rushing yards. Those three teams are in the top 10 in rushing defense DVOA as are the Panthers but the Redskins can’t simply give up on the run for a quarter of their schedule because the other defense is tough.

That’s easier said than done but until the Redskins can go into any game with a realistic shot at putting up at least 80-100 yards on the ground they won’t get to where they want to be.

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.


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Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

There's a reason the Redskins invested their No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in quarterback Dwayne Haskins: They expect him to be their franchise quarterback of the future.

His former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also believes Haskins has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.

Appearing on the Bow Tie Chronicles Podcast, Meyer praised Haskins, calling him the "most accurate passer I've ever had."

Haskins' numbers from his lone season as the starter at Ohio State support Meyer's claim. He completed 70.0 percent of his passes, which was best in the Big Ten this past season. He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for 4,831 yards, more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. Additionally, Haskins broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, as Haskins tossed 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

Although he only had one season as the Buckeyes starter, it is not unreasonable to say that Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history.  

So, it makes sense that Meyer had only positive things to say about Haskins.

"He's going to be great," Meyer said on the podcast. "He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it."

The Redskins begin training camp on July 25th, and Haskins will be in an open competition with Case Keenum for the starting quarterback position.

NBC Sports Washington's J.P. Finlay noted that during minicamp, Keenum did look like the better option at times. But that does not necessarily mean that Keenum will be the Week 1 starter. Head coach Jay Gruden already announced that Haskins will have the chance to win the job.

There's no secret that Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback very soon. It's a matter of when he becomes the starting QB, not if. How quickly that happens is up to Haskins and his progression.