Redskins tackle Trent Williams raised some eyebrows yesterday when he said that he did not intend to make any changes to his lifestyle in the wake of last years four-game suspension for violating the NFLs substance abuse policy.When asked about changing his ways, Williams said that he did not plan to do so.Were dealing with the program, he said. They take certain amount of measures to make sure it doesnt occur again. But not really.Given another chance to say he was going to alter his lifestyle to help ensure that the measures will be effective, he simply replied, Nah.Williams responses have left some feeling less than confident that he will be able to avoid testing positive again. Such a result would lead to a one-year suspension for the Redskins starting left tackle.On the one hand, it would be nice if Williams stayed home and watched TV and played video games every night. But it just isnt realistic to expect any 23-year-old man to do that, especially one who happens to be a millionaire. Since he is going to go out at night all the team can do is hope that the program works and that Williams is able to make good decisions.Williams future, and, to an extent, that of the franchise, rests on his ability to do so.
With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond.
No. 4: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?
In a way, the Redskins are quite lucky. Not every team in the NFL has an unequivocal No. 1 corner. Washington has that in Josh Norman.
His interception numbers in 2017 did not get the job done, but he still played quite well. Norman got targeted significantly less than the league average, which means NFL quarterbacks actively chose not to mess with former All Pro.
Still, Norman needs more interceptions than last year. He grabbed none, and he will admit that he must create more turnovers.
Regardless, Norman is not the Redskins question mark at cornerback. What happens after Norman is the question.
Washington moved quick this offseason to lock up Quinton Dunbar off restricted free agency. Dunbar has size and range, and has looked quite capable, in spots. He doesn't have a ton of experience, however, and will be asked to start this fall. The team also signed veteran Orlando Scandrick - from the Cowboys - as a likely nickel/slot corner.
Second-year man Fabian Moreau will be expected to take a significant step forward this fall. The Redskins would like very much to be able to primarily rely on Norman, Moreau and Dunbar while asking less of Scandrick.
Don't forget Washington lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Fuller got moved to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, and Breeland remains a free agent.
Redskins coaches won't tell the exact truth, but the the team would love for Moreau to emerge opposite Norman and let Dunbar play in the slot. Or maybe let Moreau emerge in the slot, like Fuller did in 2017, and Dunbar opposite Norman. Scandrick hasn't played a full season since 2013, and the 'Skins brass can't expect that in 2018 for the 31-year-old corner.
Josh Holsey, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman will provide depth at the bottom of the roster. That's two seventh-round picks and a supplemental sixth round pick. While each player provides reasons for optimism, it's hard to think any of the three young players will provide immediate help. They're better focused fighting for a roster spot than a starting spot.
In 2017, cornerback ranked as a strength for the Redskins.
In 2018, it's a big question. Elite play from Norman could change much of that equation.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions
— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap
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Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Training camp preview: Offense
Here are some of the big topics surrounding the offense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday.
The subheadline here doesn’t need any elaboration. The Redskins gave up a top-100 draft pick, a promising player, and $71 million in guaranteed money to get him. When asked about the timetable for Smith picking up the offense, Jay Gruden said, “He has got to get it down by the first game.”
That first game is seven weeks from today. Of course, the process has already started as Smith appeared to have a solid grasp of things in the offseason practices. There is every reason to think that he will look good in Richmond.
The question is, how much will the coaches push him? Will they focus on him having success on shorter, easier throws to build his confidence? Or will they call plays that test his ability to throw deep? Last year in Kansas City his ability to hit on long passes helped transform him from being an above-average quarterback to an MVP candidate. The Redskins need him to be effective deep starting Week 1 and training camp needs to be the starting point.
The running back rotation
This is primarily about Derrius Guice, who is the most anticipated rookie running back in team history. The Redskins were 28th in rushing yards last year and they bring back the same offensive line (although hoping for better health) and three of the same running backs. They are counting on Guice to be the difference maker.
But Guice can’t do it by himself. Gruden will be wary of overworking his rookie, who has an aggressive running style and who was banged up for a lot of his last year at LSU. He also may give Guice a light load if he struggles in pass protection early on. Chris Thompson’s role is set. Where do Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine line up? Does one or the other take most of the first-team reps when Guice is getting a rest?
The difference between being the third back and the fourth is big. The fourth back on the depth chart is unlikely to be active most game days. The active back could get five to 10 carries per game.
Who’s at left guard?
Is Shawn Lauvao going to be the left guard? It doesn’t seem logical that they would put all their eggs in Lauvao’s injury-prone and frequently ineffective basket. Will Ty Nsekhe line up there? Do they think that Tyler Catalina or Kyle Kalis can push for the starting job? Is a trade in the offing?
Jordan Reed’s health
This does not need much explanation if you’ve been paying attention the last several years. It would be both a good sign and a major surprise if he starts camp healthy and doesn’t miss any time due to injuries. If he’s out there, there is no question that he and Smith will quickly develop chemistry.
Wide receiver depth chart
The stakes at wide receiver are similar to those at running back. The top backup behind the three starters, who could be any of Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick or Try Quinn, will have a regular role in the offense line Ryan Grant had last year. The fifth guy will rarely play, the player who has the sixth spot will rarely play, and the seventh won’t have a job.
Tandler on Twitter
Apparently, some teams are worried that their players are playing too much of the video game Fortnite. No, seriously.
Miss a block? Fortnite. Blow a coverage? Fortnite. Fumble? Fortnite. My job this season just got a lot easier.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) July 21, 2018
Happy birthday to Redskins running back Quinton Dunbar, who was born on this date in 1992.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 4
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 18
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 41
The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 49 days.
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