The Redskins biggest problem against the Bengals, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday, was the same one that cost them a week earlier against the Bengals: Big plays.The one difference last Sunday, though, was that all of the big plays were the result of poor execution by the secondary. Haslett also mentioned injuries safety Brandon Meriweather has yet to suit up because of a knee injury and cornerback Cedric Griffin left the game in the first quarter and technique as issues, as well.We have to play better technique, No. 1, Haslett said. It would be good to get guys healthy, get some guys back. But like I mentioned last week, and it holds true again this week, we gave up the three big plays against Cincinnati.Tampa Bay, the Redskins opponent on Sunday, ranks 24thin points per game (20), and quarterback Josh Freeman has completed only 51.3-percent of his passes. But Freeman and the run-oriented Buccaneers offense has shown the ability to make big plays in the passing game, completing two plays of 40-plus yards and nine of 20 yards or more in the seasons first three games.On Thursday, though, Haslett still was explaining what went wrong against the Bengals.The first miscue came on Cincinnatis first play from scrimmage. The Bengals lined in the wildcat formation and the Redskins did not adjust properly.We didnt get lined up right, Haslett said before adding that the team also was not prepared for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to uncork a perfectly placed deep pass.We actually knew the receiver could throw, Haslett added. We just didnt know he could throw 50 yards on a rope.On 48-yard touchdown pass that put the Bengals ahead 14-7, cornerback Josh Wilson simply misplayed Armon Binns. Wilson did not have any safety help on the play and, therefore, no room for error.And on the decisive touchdown a 59-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Andrew Hawkins rookie Jordan Crawford simply got beat. Crawford, who was playing for the injured Griffin, bit on a double move by Hawkins.So, to review, the Bengals' first big play was poor preparation. The second was poor technique and the third was poor execution exacerbated by an injury that put a young player in a difficult spot.Theyll get better, Haslett said. We covered our butts off against New Orleans in the first game against maybe the best offense that played in the National Football League. So I know they can do 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:
Terry McLaurin just made a Madden glitch catch around a defender’s body to cap off a Haskins-led 2 minute drill. The ball may legit have gone through the corner’s back. Nice touchdown for the OSU boys— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) June 5, 2019
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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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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