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Cheap Authentic Nike Custom Washington Redskins Jerseys 2019

The Washington Redskins’ offense wasn’t exactly a juggernaut under the direction of Alex Smith in 2018, but it was efficient enough for the team to start 6-3 before the quarterback went down with a career-threatening broken leg. The team addressed uncertainty at the position by trading for veteran Case Keenum and drafting Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick.

The quarterback competition will continue to be a focal point of the offense during training camp, as will the status of tackle Trent Williams, who skipped mandatory minicamp over frustration with the team’s medical staff. But those are far from the only story lines affecting the offense before camp opens in Richmond in late July. Let’s take a look at four big questions for a unit that ranked 29th out of 32 teams in scoring offense last season.

Will Josh Doctson finally have a big year?
Doctson has something to prove, even if the wide receiver doesn’t want to look at it that way. The team declined to pick up his option, and the 2016 first-round pick is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Doctson needs to show the Redskins, and the league, that he deserves a significant deal after this season, and there’s no question the Washington offense would benefit from a breakout year from at least one member of its receiving corps.

The problem is Doctson may not get the opportunity to put up big numbers in an offense Coach Jay Gruden hopes is balanced and heavily reliant on the running game. Gruden wants to give plenty of opportunities to running backs Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson while spreading the ball around through the air to Paul Richardson Jr., Jordan Reed, Trey Quinn, Vernon Davis and rookie Terry McLaurin, in addition to Doctson.

“I can’t promise he’s going to get a ton of opportunities with the group of guys that we have,” Gruden said. “The whole intent of this offense is to spread the ball around … and everybody taking advantage when their number is called.”
[The Redskins’ deep backfield could force coaches into some tough decisions]

Will Brandon Scherff’s contract extension get done?

Right guard Brandon Scherff has yet to agree to a contract extension as he enters the final season of his rookie deal. He’ll make $12.5 million this season after making two Pro Bowls and the all-rookie team in his first four years. Scherff had been durable — he played 46 of 48 games in his first three seasons — before a torn pectoral muscle landed him on injured reserve after eight games last season. Pro Football Focus ranked Scherff as the ninth-best guard in 2017 and No. 14 during his injury-shortened 2018.

Team president Bruce Allen has said that extending Scherff is a priority, and he is likely to command a top-five salary at the position. The Dallas Cowboys’ Zack Martin is the highest-paid guard in the league; he has a six-year, $84 million contract.
Scherff could gamble and wait to sign a multiyear extension until after the new collective bargaining agreement is signed. Former Redskins salary cap analyst J.I. Halsell said Scherff could decline a long-term deal, force the team to use the franchise tag on him for the 2020 season and negotiate a multiyear contract worth more money under the new CBA.

[The Redskins view Ereck Flowers as potential starter at left guard]

Will Samaje Perine see any playing time?

Gruden continues to praise the running back, insisting the 2017 fourth-round pick deserves more chances. But how? Running backs coach Randy Jordan has said he envisions a 50-50 or 60-40 split between Peterson and Guice, with Thompson getting snaps in passing situations. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of opportunity for Perine.

“Samaje really has been the guy that has been most impressive,” Gruden said during minicamp. “He’s been out here taking all the reps. He’s really improved in not only the running game but also in the passing game. . . . He’s a powerful running back and he has not had the opportunities that he probably deserves or needs.”
The Redskins made something of a surprise move last fall when they kept five running backs. The numbers could be interesting again with fourth-round pick Bryce Love joining the fold once he recovers from a torn ACL.

[Dwayne Haskins could start Week 1, and more Redskins offseason takeaways]

Will Trey Quinn excel as the slot receiver?

Expectations were low for Quinn when he was the last pick of the 2018 draft, but he quickly impressed with good hands and precise route running during workouts and training camp. Ankle injuries landed him on injured reserve twice, but he is poised to replace Jamison Crowder as the starting slot receiver.

“Trey’s done an excellent job,” Gruden said. “He’s come in here and stepped to the head of the class as far as his position is concerned and done a great job. He understands raw concepts, he’s physical, he’s got strong hands, he can separate, and he can block. He’s also a punt returner for us, so he’s a valuable member of our team right now. . . . That slot position is critical for us.”

That’s a lot of praise for a seventh-round pick with three games of NFL experience and nine career receptions, but Quinn continues to make believers of those around him.

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By the beginning of this past week, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins knew he was going to end up with the Washington Redskins. The NFL draft was still days away, but the chatter, speculation and blather streaming out of the television screen and all over the Internet meant nothing to him anymore. He already was at peace with his future.

“It was just [a matter of] trying to figure out what time and what pick,” Haskins said Saturday afternoon.

He was standing on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, which he had visited many times as a child growing up in New Jersey and later as a high school student at the Bullis School in Potomac. Saturday’s trip was a publicity stunt set up by the Redskins to introduce their new franchise quarterback and his fellow first-round pick, edge rusher Montez Sweat, to Washington. But gazing around on this brilliant spring afternoon, with the Washington Monument towering behind him and a brisk wind whipping whitecaps on the tidal basin, he didn’t feel any need to be introduced.
He was home, he said, in the only place he expected to be through four months of draft speculation.

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[Redskins pick-by-pick draft analysis: Washington adds playmakers Kelvin Harmon, Bryce Love on Day 3]

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when the Redskins decided that Haskins would be the quarterback to lead the franchise into the 2020s. Maybe it came during meetings with team leaders at the NFL scouting combine in early March; Haskins remembers having good talks then. Perhaps it was at Ohio State’s pro day later in March, when Redskins Coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell showed up to watch him throw. It could have been that dinner at D.C. Prime this month during his visit to the Redskins’ team facility in Ashburn; he and Gruden devoured their steaks, and the coach kept cracking jokes.
“I clicked well with all the teams I visited. I felt like the team that liked me the most was the Redskins,” he said. “I could just tell by the vibe I got from all the teams. They loved me a little bit more.”

He smiled.

“It all made sense,” he said.
Haskins and fellow first-round pick Montez Sweat show off their new jerseys. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
There has been rampant speculation about whether Haskins was really the choice of Washington’s coaches or whether he had become the infatuation of team owner Daniel Snyder, whose son was a few years behind Haskins at Bullis. That Snyder called Haskins on Thursday night to say the Redskins were selecting him with the 15th pick speaks to how invested the owner was in the selection. But suggesting Snyder alone determined the Redskins’ path would ignore many other connections Haskins has with the team, and it would overlook the impression the team’s coaches gave him as the draft drew closer.

Haskins said he loved his chats with quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay. His meetings with Gruden were filled with complicated dialogue about X’s and O’s.

When asked Thursday night whether Haskins was the team’s top-rated quarterback in this draft — which began with Arizona selecting Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray — Gruden quickly nodded.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “For sure.”

[Draft preview: Haskins is eager for his opportunity, wherever it may be]

Ohio State’s pro day might have been what sold Washington on Haskins. Gruden, who did not attend many of the other top quarterback prospects’ pre-draft workouts, carefully watched Haskins’s feet. One of the biggest criticisms of Haskins, other than that he was a one-year starter in college, is that he is slow and has a long, deliberate windup. Both are considered negatives in today’s NFL; pass rushers are so fast and powerful that quarterbacks must do everything with haste.
But watching him at his workout, Gruden was struck by how quickly Haskins moved, and he noticed that passes left his hand much more rapidly than they did on video.

“Exciting,” Gruden thought.

Not only was Haskins faster than he might have appeared on screen, he was accurate, too.

“[Pro day] helped,” Gruden said. “But it was just all part of the process. When you’re thinking about taking a quarterback, it is important to go check out some pro days. Our coaching staff, whoever it is, we handle all the pro days of all quarterbacks this year. Somebody was at all of them, obviously, and I think that played a big part of it.”

Haskins said nobody from the Redskins told him he was going to be their choice, but the decision soon became obvious to him. He brushed away the suggestion that he had a connection with Snyder, saying he barely knew Snyder’s son in high school and didn’t meet the owner until the draft process. If anything, that his mentor is former Redskins star cornerback Shawn Springs might have had a greater impact. For years, Springs — who met Haskins at a quarterback camp in New Jersey years ago and brought the family to live with him at one point — had been trying to tell Redskins executives about the quarterback who spent some time in the D.C. area and was going to star at his old school, Ohio State. No one seemed to pay much attention.
Even when Springs cornered Snyder before a game at FedEx Field last fall and pleaded for the owner to consider Haskins, he wasn’t sure Snyder knew whom he was talking about. Springs pushed on anyway. Then last month at the NFL’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Springs found team president Bruce Allen and begged him to pick Haskins.
A group of tourists, from Anchor Bay Middle School in New Baltimore, Mich., stopped to watch Saturday’s news conference. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
By then, though, everyone around the Redskins knew about Haskins. Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner, was all but certain to go first to the Cardinals, and despite having interest in trading for quarterback Josh Rosen, Arizona’s first-round pick last year, any enthusiasm for him appeared to have died by Thursday.

Gruden said the Redskins had a few quarterbacks in mind because they weren’t sure Haskins would fall to the 15th pick.

“You never really make up your mind on one guy,” he said, “because you have a tendency to get your heart broken if that guy gets picked.”
Still, the Redskins had a good idea Haskins would be theirs if they were patient. The New York Giants, whom Haskins had been linked to all winter, had fallen in love with Duke’s Daniel Jones and were certain to use the sixth pick on him. When they did, Haskins was not surprised. Two picks earlier, his agent had told him it would happen. Haskins noted that with a dryness that suggested he would not forget the slight.

“I’m just looking forward to being able to compete against those guys for the rest of my career,” he said Thursday.

“He’s going to be a beast when he plays the Giants,” Springs said with a laugh.

Once New York made its move, the other teams that might need a quarterback and were set to pick before the Redskins, such as Denver and Miami, appeared focused elsewhere.

“When whoever picked in front of us didn’t pick him, it was pretty much solidified,” Gruden said with a laugh. “It’s really hard because you’re sitting there and you want a guy, but you have to wait. It happens every year. You can’t trade up and get everybody; you won’t have any picks left. [You want] to keep the picks that we have because we were able to get some more players.”
When it was the Redskins’ turn, the choice that had become obvious was quickly made. Snyder got on the phone. At a Gaithersburg bowling alley, Haskins took the call — and wasn’t at all surprised to hear Snyder’s voice.

It was the phone call he had been expecting all along.

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year extension.

He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this month before signing Saturday.
Good was claimed off waivers by Oakland from Indianapolis late last year. He played four games for the Raiders, starting the final three at right guard in place of the injured Gabe Jackson.

Good was a seventh-round pick by the Colts in 2015. He has experience at tackle and guard, with 20 starts in his career.
ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins have hired longtime NFL defensive guru Rob Ryan as inside linebackers coach.

The team announced the move Wednesday, a day after promoting Kevin O’Connell to offensive co-ordinator on coach Jay Gruden’s staff. Ryan most recently served as the Buffalo Bills’ assistant head coach for defence in 2016.
Before Buffalo, Ryan served as defensive co-ordinator for the New Orleans Saints from 2013-2015, Dallas Cowboys in 2011 and 2012, Cleveland Browns in 2009 and 2010 and Oakland Raiders from 2004-2008. His 2013 Saints’ defence ranked second in passing defence and fourth in points allowed.

The 56-year-old takes over a role on a defence that ranked 17th in the league last season. Defensive co-ordinator Greg Manusky will return for a third season after the Redskins spoke with several potential candidates for the job but never hired a replacement.

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ASHBURN, Va. — A number of plays all announced the same thing Sunday: Chris Thompson is back. There was the burst he displayed on an outside zone run out of a run-pass option look. There was the dash to the outside to beat a defender for the first down. There was the way he won on a route that resulted in a touchdown catch.

They were the sort of plays Washington missed after he was lost for the season in 2017 after breaking his leg. The Redskins want to get Thompson 12 to 15 touches per game, knowing he could break off a long one at any time. He’ll get his next chance vs. Indianapolis on Sunday; the Colts allowed Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon 95 yards on 17 rushing attempts in the opener. They ranked 26th in rushing yards per game allowed last season.

While it was important for Washington that Adrian Peterson provide power up the middle, it’s equally vital for Thompson to remain a playmaker.
Chris Thompson, who is returning from a broken leg, has added patience and smarts to pair with his speed and burst. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
“He’s just a baller. Flat out. I love that guy,” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said. “The way he’s able to maneuver and move, whatever he wants just give it to him because that guy’s an unbelievable talent. … He is the best third-down back in the league. Bar none.”

In a 24-6 victory over Arizona on Sunday, Thompson carried the ball five times for 65 yards and caught six passes for 63 more, plus one touchdown. Eight of his 11 touches resulted in a first down.

Thompson can provide the lightning to Peterson’s thunder. Thompson’s quickness and vision make him a strong fit in the Redskins’ run-pass option game, which they used often in the first half. In fact, his first carry resulted in a 13-yard run off this look in the first quarter.

“That young guy got me going,” Peterson said.

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When the Redskins lost Thompson in Week 11 last season, they lost their spark plug and, in many ways, the heart of their offense. He was their most valuable player because of his ability to change games with one play — much like receiver DeSean Jackson did for them from 2014 to ’16, but at a different position. Last season Thompson rushed for 294 yards and caught 39 passes for 510 more yards. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and 13.1 yards per catch, with nine receptions of at least 20 yards.

As he has matured, Thompson has added patience and smarts to pair with his speed and burst. He’s learned to read one level ahead when he runs. That way, if he makes the defender directly ahead of him miss, Thompson already knows his next cut — and that leads to big gains. All of that was evident Sunday as well. On one run, a 13-yarder, his eyes were upfield as the first block was made. Because of that, Thompson cut inside the block after drawing the second defender to the outside.
“He’s been incredible. You know, his work ethic to get back to where he was,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I didn’t see any hesitancy whatsoever. He hit the hole hard. He was explosive. He was great in the pass game, both pass protection and in the routes. He just did what CT always does ….The ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, the mismatches he creates, the protection that he provides for the quarterback, the second-and-long runs, get-back-on-track runs — he does a great job on.”

At one point in the summer, Thompson expressed concern over when he’d be back to himself. Meanwhile, coaches said he might be quicker than in the past. As the summer wore on and he practiced more, Thompson felt better. Nearly a week before the opener, Thompson said he no longer worried about his leg and felt like his old self.

“It was huge,” Thompson said. “I had so many nerves before the game; just not sure how I would feel before the game. I was feeling good, but not to where I wanted to feel. Once that clock started and I got on the field, that was the best I had felt since my injury.”

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LANDOVER, Md. — On a first-quarter run up the middle, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson spotted Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis in the hole. So Peterson did what he once did so often: He turned trouble into a long gain. Peterson used a jump cut to bounce outside, then cut once more for a 13-yard gain.

In an otherwise bad half for Washington, its new running back — trying to revive his career at age 33 — stood out.

Peterson finished with 11 carries for 56 yards in one half of action, showing Washington a lot of what it wanted to see in an otherwise ugly 29-17 preseason loss. He displayed some explosion and showed an ability to carry the ball on consecutive drives. He even converted a fourth-and-inches down with a 15-yard dash around the left end, getting a key block from someone even older — 34-year-old Vernon Davis.
Adrian Peterson finished with 11 carries for 56 yards in one half of action for Washington on Friday night. Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Peterson also might have shown that he’s the best first- and second-down running back on the roster.

For the Redskins, it was about seeing what sort of load Peterson can handle. For Peterson, it was just a chance to get some work.

“My body feels good right now,” he said. “We’ll see how I feel when I wake up in the morning. But I felt like I responded well. My legs felt good, I didn’t get tired, so the cardio is where it needs to be. And right now I just look at it as knocking a little rust off.”

Peterson carried more times Friday than he had in his previous six preseasons combined.

“So many years I’ve begged to play in the preseason and I’ve been shut down. They didn’t have to beg me at all to play this week,” he said.

“It was very critical, especially this third preseason game, to get out there and get a feel. Not only just for me, but to get something on film so we can go back. I was communicating with the offensive line and they were like, ‘Hey, we gotta be a little faster on this play; it’s a different speed.’ So I think we’ll learn a lot from it.”

The Redskins signed Peterson on Monday, wanting to see if he could unseat either Rob Kelley or Samaje Perine for the starting job. It’s not as if the rest of the offense was humming Friday night. The Redskins’ passing game struggled as starting quarterback Alex Smith completed just 3 of 8 passes for 33 yards.

Instead, the first half was about seeing what Peterson could do. The Redskins wanted to see his explosion, how he handled consecutive carries and his vision.

He started the game in the I formation, gaining 7 yards running up the middle. But that series ended in a three-and-out, so it wasn’t until the Redskins’ next drive that Peterson showed more.

It wasn’t always big gains. He gained nothing on his first carry of the Redskins’ second drive before a 13-yarder. However, that was followed by consecutive gains of 1 yard. On that drive, Peterson carried the ball seven straight times for a total of 28 yards. There was one flashy run and six workmanlike carries.

“I saw a big guy running pretty hard,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “The thing I liked about some of his runs is, he looked like he had a gains of 1 yard and fell forward for 3. I thought [the first run] was a 3-yard gain, and all of a sudden it’s second-and-3. I was impressed with Adrian the way he ran.”

Peterson saved one of his best runs for last. The Redskins went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 40-yard line. Peterson, running to his left, was going to try to slam the ball just outside the left tackle, but a defender closed that gap, so Peterson bounced wide left where Davis was blocking his man. Peterson cut back to the inside to finish for another 10 yards.

Peterson had been hoping for some sort of lead play through the middle, but the Redskins called for a run that he could take wide, perhaps anticipating a stacked front.
“When Alex called the play, I’m like, ‘Dang,'” Peterson said. “I just kind of got in my mind that I was gonna be patient and just watch and see how the play developed. I actually had a two-way go; I could have taken it into the gap [outside the tackle] and I almost did. The outside was wide open so I just turned on the speed a little bit, got around and tried to make a big play out of it.”

Peterson did not play another snap, but he had made his point.

After the play, left tackle Trent Williams — his good friend — embraced him.

“I got on the sideline and I was like, ‘Man, I should have crossed field,'” Peterson said. “He’s like, ‘Nah, you did good, you did good.’ But I’m always thinking that way.”

The Redskins are thinking they might have found more help at running back.

“The guy just got here, got up to speed fast, and all of a sudden he’s getting a bunch of touches in a game,” Smith said. “Still looks pretty strong and explosive. It was good to get him in a rhythm and see what he can do.”

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“Never won a Super Bowl.”
“That’s what we’re all chasing.”
Alex Smith must be thinking of the end.
How can it not claw at the mind? The thought of the endless pursuit ceasing to exist. All the work. All the hidden hours. Devolved into a meaningless, empty resolution. How could all of it lead to nothing? The reality hits quickly. With a jolt. Like lightning.
The lights came faster now as Alex Smith walked into a room, eyes watching him, cameras flashing, hands clapping. He casually made his way up the ramp and settled to the right of a polished wooden podium with a black canvas splayed out behind him, donning a navy suit and a navy tie. The colors of dusk.
Doug Williams had just eased up the crowd of reporters a bit. He made Smith’s job, at that moment, a bit easier. Walk up, give the man a firm handshake, flash the frugal, yet confident smile, and face the media. Take a few pictures. All the usual customary measures. But Smith knew his real job in D.C. wouldn’t be so easy. After all, they’d given him four years to do it.
He didn’t mind. Alex Smith exuded confidence entering his introductory press conference with the Washington Redskins. That’s one thing he’s never lacked in his twelve year career. Confidence. Even when Colin Kaepernick took his job in San Francisco, the former No. 1 overall pick was confident he’d get an opportunity elsewhere. And even when the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to draft his immediate successor, Patrick Mahomes, in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Smith knew he wasn’t done yet. He knew he’d get another chance somewhere else. He earned it.
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“Somewhere else” became Washington. The nation’s capital. His next opportunity revealed itself a bit sooner than expected, on the night of January 30, 2018. The Washington Redskins, whose contract conversation with Kirk Cousins had officially lost its pulse, knew they needed a succession plan. And with a young, ascending roster nearly ready for a playoff run, they didn’t need just any quarterback. They needed a quarterback who was ready.
That quarterback became Alex Smith. The game manager turned gunslinger. The No. 1 overall pick itching to prove that, yes, he could amass a resume worthy of his draft slot. A resume that rivaled quarterbacks of his era. Quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers. Ben Roethlisberger. Eli Manning. He wanted to go to a place where he was wanted. Where he could win, and keep on the chase. He needed a team that was ready.
He held his smile, standing next to Doug Williams, and the reporters snapped away, flashes of light peppering the canvas behind him, a Washington Redskins helmet fitting comfortably into his hands. After a few seconds, Doug Williams patted him on the shoulder and turned the other way.
It was Smith’s time to speak now.
He adjusted his suit jacket and walked back to the podium, giving his thanks twice before turning to address the men and women with the cameras. He smiled again, took a deep breath, and gave a nod. There was that confidence again.
“Fire away,” he said. As if he had five rings on five fingers.
Smith clung to the confidence that had buoyed him his entire NFL career. But as he looked around the room, and as he saw the faces of D.C., he had to feel something else. Something different. Fast forward to a fan gathering at which Smith spoke, where eleven-year old fans wore burgundy and gold Alex Smith jerseys before he even had a chance to. Where older fans looked up to him with some kind of hope that only began to hint at the lingering hopelessness they’d felt before his arrival.
You have to wonder if, somewhere along the line, the thought crossed his mind.
What am I supposed to tell these people?
Indeed, what was he supposed to tell them? These people, famished for the fulfilling taste of glory? Alex Smith has never won a Super Bowl. He’s only been to one. He was a backup when it happened. His one Super Bowl appearance in the twentieth century still bests the Washington Redskins as a team by one, but the ring yet eludes the finger.
Worse quarterbacks have won the game he hasn’t. And more proven quarterbacks have won enough to share. Alex Smith is somewhere in the middle. His journey isn’t over, but time is only generous for so long. Recently turned 34 years of age, Smith has to know that the Washington Redskins are his last chance.
While time is a precious asset for Smith, it’s one thing that his new city, Washington D.C., can afford to waste, albeit for a steep price. This city hasn’t been wholly deprived of Super Bowl glory. Ask any older fan of their fondest football memory, and they’ll gladly point you to the Washington Redskins’ seventeen-point streak in the second half of Super Bowl XVII, led by the Diesel, John Riggins, with the Hogs grading the road ahead of him. Or Doug Williams’ blowout of John Elway’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Or Super Bowl XXVI, when the Washington Redskins’ “Capital Punishment” defense made Jim Kelly’s K-Gun, no-huddle offense look closer to “K-Done”.
The Washington Redskins have the history. But an entire generation sits between that illustrious past and the present day. The Washington Redskins haven’t been to the Super Bowl, or even the NFC Championship game, since that Super Bowl championship at the tail end of the 1991 season. 27 years and counting. And every year, that Super Bowl grows more distant.
It is that experience that only makes D.C. hungrier.
The city, the team isn’t going anywhere. But every stagnant year is a step closer to starting over. That’s hardly a way to win in the NFL. Droughts of this magnitude bear heavy weight on a fan base, and perhaps no fan base has suffered over the years more than that of D.C. Too often teased with only subtle hints at contention, D.C. sports fans must be growing tired. The last generation, those who witnessed the Super Bowls of old, will not be here forever. The Washington Redskins hunger for a new Super Bowl era, and they have a fleeting chance to carry on the tradition. With knuckles white from tension, they refuse to let it slip through their grasp.
It is rare in any offseason that we witness the perfect confluence of man, city, and purpose. But that is what we have with the pairing of Alex Smith and the Washington Redskins. Smith has amassed a fine list of achievements, but without a ring to punctuate them, he will be one of many quarterbacks who could, but ultimately didn’t. There is a certain notoriety in the possession of that ring, and a subliminal, but lasting blow to legacy without it. Smith wants this ring. He needs this ring. And he needs Washington to get it.
Likewise, the Washington Redskins are gearing up to compete. As it stands, they possess the perfect mix of veteran talent and young, ascending star power. And after a strong offseason, their roster is in exceptional shape. Even in a strong NFC East, the team can compete this year, and they can shock the nation. They have a window. The unpredictability of the present day mirrors that of the inclemency that was prevalent in the first Joe Gibbs era. It’s an unpredictability that the Washington Redskins can take advantage of. Anyone can win, any year.
Nevertheless, the writing is on the wall. If the Washington Redskins fail to meet expectations this year, then Jay Gruden, the most competent Washington Redskins’ coach in the last two decades, could very well be gone, and the team could very well be forced to start from square one again. With veterans like Trent Williams, Josh Norman, and Ryan Kerrigan aging, starting over comes at the cost of precious time; Time which cannot be redeemed.
Entering the offseason, the Washington Redskins had continuity. And they had the talent. They just needed a quarterback. But not any quarterback; A quarterback to take them to the playoffs they’ve hardly seen. The Washington Redskins needed Alex Smith.
If nothing else, the Washington Redskins have this on their side; Their quarterback, their city, and their purpose are all in unity, in one purpose. Alex Smith needs the Washington Redskins to cement his legacy while he still has time. And the Washington Redskins, starved of past success, need Alex Smith to maximize this window while it’s still here.
Alex Smith needs a Super Bowl. And the Washington Redskins hunger for it.
Perhaps, this crossed Smith’s mind as he stood up at the podium. As he looked around, and as he saw that hunger, perhaps he felt that unity. That this city would be behind him. Because they need him. And they know he needs them as well.
And perhaps, Smith found the answer to his question.
What am I supposed to tell these people?
As if on cue, another question is directed at Smith.
“After thirteen years in the league, what keeps you excited, and fired up about September?”
Smith met the inquiry with a quick shrug, never being one to make a moment bigger than it is. But the question struck him. It took him a moment to find his words. You can tell he’s been thinking about it.
“I’ve never won a championship.”
A brief pause.
“Never won a Super Bowl.”
“That’s what we’re all chasing.”
And in that moment, Smith told Washington D.C. what it needed to hear. In that moment, Smith proved that they were chasing the same thing. One, for its honor. Another, for his legacy. And to be remembered. From Alex Smith, it was a way of saying, to a franchise starved of relevance, and to a city confused by decades of false hopes and disappointments…
Next:
Alex Smith ushers in new era at Redskins park
“I’m hungry, too.”

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Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the Washington Redskins, who finished the season 7-9. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.

Westgate odds of winning Super Bowl LIII: 80-1
Alex Smith threw for 4,042 yards this past season in Kansas City. Jevone Moore/Marinmedia.Org/CSM via ZUMA Wire
Middle of the pack: The Redskins have been in this category for a couple years now. They at least settled their quarterback situation, trading for Alex Smith and giving him a four-year extension (the move becomes official on March 14). Whether or not he’s an upgrade over Kirk Cousins can be debated, but they’re not far apart in terms of play level. But, regardless of who they have at quarterback, the Redskins need to give them more help.

One question will be how they handle their first full offseason with a realigned front office. They survived last offseason after firing general manager Scot McCloughan, but a lot of work already had been done. They’re more settled, but the Redskins will have some key people in roles they did not occupy a year ago. It helps that coach Jay Gruden is considered a good talent evaluator.

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But the Redskins will need more pieces on offense. They were hit hard by injuries, with key players such as tight end Jordan Reed, running back Chris Thompson and left tackle Trent Williams missing a combined 22 games. When healthy, their line is good, though they have a hole at left guard.

Smith, coming off his best season, played like an MVP candidate for Kansas City at times in 2017. However, he also had receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Kareem Hunt — two game-breakers with speed. The Redskins would like to add a speedy receiver and a dynamic full-time running back. If that happens, they could have an explosive offense, aided by the development of receiver Josh Doctson. They have the potential for a top-10 offense — Kansas City was top 10 in points scored in three of Smith’s five seasons.

But to really escape the middle, Washington needs to — finally — fix its defense. Early last season it appeared the Redskins might have done so, but injuries hit and they were thin at most positions. Washington has ranked 17th or worse in points allowed for nine straight seasons. And the Redskins have ranked 16th or worse in yards per game for six consecutive years. As the Eagles showed, if you don’t have Tom Brady at quarterback, you’d better have a complete team.

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ASHBURN, Virginia — Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden will follow the same routine as past offseasons. He and owner Dan Snyder will get together a few days after the season ends to discuss the future.

The question this time will be: How much will Gruden’s future be part of the discussion? The Redskins could still finish .500 despite a major rash of injuries and he has three years left on his contract. But Snyder’s history is well-known; and the NFL often contains surprises.

Gruden said he hasn’t yet been told anything.

“My brother got fired after going 9-7,” Gruden said of Jon. “Nothing surprises me.’

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Gruden will complete his fourth season as the Redskins’ head coach against the New York Giants on Sunday. He would become the first coach under Snyder to return for a fifth season. Of the coaches hired during his tenure, three — Marty Schottenheimer, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan — were fired. Two others — Steve Spurrier and Joe Gibbs — resigned.

Gruden, who grew up with a dad who was a longtime assistant and also a scout, understands this life.

“You know what the business is all about,” Gruden said. “It’s about winning, winning Super Bowls, and anything short of that you have to expect that they may want to change. That’s the standard set here many years by Joe Gibbs… You have to live up to that, otherwise, they’ll look for something else.”

Here’s why it makes sense that he would be safe:

Injuries: The Redskins have 20 players on injured reserve — 13 entered the season as been starters or key backups. They will have played a combined 22 games without three of their top offensive players — tight end Jordan Reed, running back Chris Thompson and tackle Trent Williams. They lost standout rookie Jonathan Allen for the last 11 games. Three-fifths of their original starting line ended the season on injured reserve, and injuries up front forced them to use at least 26 line combinations. They’ve had nine different running backs on the roster.

It adds up. Injuries don’t excuse everything; They still lost a 15-point lead vs. New Orleans; they had key starters play poorly vs. the Los Angeles Chargers (quarterback Kirk Cousins and members of the secondary) and against the Dallas Cowboys (receiver Jamison Crowder). But it’s also impossible to say injuries had no impact; this was about more than just, “Next man up.” Had this scenario presented itself to most prognosticators before the season, it’s hard to imagine anyone predicting a possible .500 record. Or much above five wins.

If the Redskins get to 8-8 with these injuries and against this schedule, no banners will be hung, but it does say something. The Giants witnessed a collapse with a coach (Ben McAdoo) who shouldn’t have been in that position and, eventually, wasn’t. That speaks to the players the Redskins have in the locker room and the coaching staff, which had to keep changing game plans to suit the talent.

Money: This relates to the item above, too, but if the Redskins had not extended Gruden last offseason, then perhaps they could simply walk away and say he wasn’t the right guy. They could feel he wouldn’t take them where they want to ultimately go.

But they did extend him another two years so it would be difficult to say less than a year later he’s not their guy, given how this season unfolded. What would have changed? Coaches are measured like quarterbacks: It’s ultimately what they do in the postseason that matters. And the Redskins are 0-1 in the playoffs under Gruden. That must change.

Also, the guy who pushed hard for him, Bruce Allen, remains the team president.

From a bottom-line standpoint, there’s this: Gruden’s final three years include all guaranteed money so he would be owed $15 million. And if you get rid of the coach, you change most of the staff. That likely would push the total over $20 million. That’s a lot of cash to put out. It’s hard to do that without a damn good reason — or without a complete collapse — so soon after an extension.

Snyder’s history: For the most part, Snyder has fired coaches when a situation became clear they were in over their heads (Zorn) or there was a complete collapse (Shanahan’s 3-13 final season/issues with quarterback Robert Griffin III). Snyder did fire Schottenheimer after an 8-8 mark, with eight wins in the final 11 games, and that was a massive mistake. But he did so because Spurrier had become available — and that was a guy he had wanted. There was also a clash of power.

Spurrier resigned before he could get fired, but it was clear that he, too, was in over his head in the NFL. And, as with Zorn, his team had also collapsed.
Gruden is not in over his head; there wasn’t a complete collapse and, as of now, there’s no one else to pursue, nor is there any power struggle.

Gruden’s offensive scheme is a good one (it takes more than that to be a good head coach, mind you). His demeanor might isn’t that of a hard-nosed guy like Mike Zimmer, but it fits at Redskins Park. Despite the injuries, the defense finally has a young base upon which to build. It’s worth seeing whether or not it can do so in 2018. It’s hard to view this season and say the Redskins are headed in the wrong direction; now they must prove they can take that next step.

Gruden enters the finale with 24 wins the past three seasons combined, tying the best showing by a Redskins’ coach since Gibbs from 2005-07 (that included two playoff appearances and one postseason win). But know this: More will be expected next season and more must be delivered.

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ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins keep adding players to a list no one wants to join. And the fact that the number of players on injured reserve continues to grow will end up as one reason their season won’t end the way they want.

The Redskins, who didn’t have a lot of margin for error this season before the heavy injuries, added four more names Tuesday. Here’s the list of injured players with their number of full games missed in parentheses and the impact of their absence:

Running back Chris Thompson (zero games): Thompson, who broke his right fibula against the Saints, is their most dynamic running back and entered last week leading the Redskins in both rushing and receiving yards. He’s no longer ahead in the former, but that doesn’t diminish his value. Thompson excels in pass protection, too. He is a good route runner and can align wide and be effective on multiple patterns. He is also a highly respected player in the locker room. He might be the hardest player to replace on offense considering no one else can do what he does.

Running back Rob Kelley (one): He was inconsistent this season, in part because of multiple injuries to his ribs and ankles. Kelley was Washington’s starting back and had progressed in the passing game. In an ideal situation, he’s a strong backup. But he also ran with toughness, endearing him to coaches. Even if Samaje Perine finishes strong, the Redskins would still miss Kelley because they now have two inexperienced backups.

Receiver Terrelle Pryor (zero): He never made the impact anyone had hoped to see as their No. 1 X receiver. Some of that stems from his own abilities, whether inconsistent with routes or his hands or tracking ability. Some of that stems from a bottom-line fact: The Redskins have other targets, something Pryor didn’t deal with in Cleveland. Pryor’s ankle injury hurt his explosiveness; he needed to maintain that to help set up other routes. He lost his starting job to Josh Doctson.

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (five): In addition to Thompson, Allen’s injury is the toughest to overcome. He was producing as an interior pass-rusher, helping to collapse the pocket. He also allowed others to play fewer snaps and, therefore, be more effective. The Redskins allowed 4.0 yards per carry in Allen’s five games; they have allowed 4.58 without him. There’s still a chance he’ll return late in the season.

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Linebacker Mason Foster (four): He started the season fine, but injured his shoulder in Week 2 and that limited his effectiveness. When healthy, Foster was solid and could help all around. He knew the defense. But it enabled Washington to maintain depth in areas such as special teams where the backups played.

Linebacker Will Compton (one): Compton has also been hurt most of the season with various leg injuries. But with Foster and Zach Brown ahead of him, he helped on special teams. And he was a smart, experienced backup if nothing else when everyone was available. The linebacker play has been spotty, at best, the past two games (see: last six minutes and overtime against New Orleans). Would Foster and Compton have solved those problems? Impossible to tell, but their losses hurt the overall depth at the position.

Center Spencer Long (three): He did play against Minnesota, but sparingly as his quad tendon proved too much to overcome. Long was playing fine and did a good job pulling when needed (it was obvious against Minnesota he couldn’t do this as well). Backup center Chase Roullier has a good future, but he’s inexperienced and now he’s also hurt and will miss at least one game with a broken hand.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins (five): He was having an OK season when he was hurt having made 9 of 11 field goals. His replacement, Nick Rose, has been solid with eight makes in nine attempts. In five games, Hopkins recorded touchbacks on 20 of his 27 kickoffs. Rose has recorded a touchback on 16 of 28 kickoffs.

Linebacker Trent Murphy (10): He was placed on IR in the preseason. Murphy recorded a career-high nine sacks last season. He would not have started, but he would have helped as a reserve pass-rusher, able to play outside linebacker or rush along the line in various nickel packages — and over the nose in their speed rush. The Redskins’ backup outside linebackers — Junior Galette and Ryan Anderson — have combined for one sack (two half-sacks by Galette). Galette has been applying more pressure of late, but the Redskins miss what Murphy would have added.
Nose tackle Phil Taylor (10): It’s hard to rely on someone who missed two years of football due of injuries like Taylor. But he had played well this summer and would have helped at a position the Redskins are still trying to solve. Had Taylor made it to the season and stayed healthy — a big if — he would have freed Ziggy Hood to play end and help in nickel rushes, which are both areas where he’s better suited.

Safety Su’a Cravens (10): He’s not on injured reserve, but he is another player who was lost. He had a knee injury this summer, but then told the team he was retiring and has since been placed on the reserve/left squad list. It’s hard to measure his impact because he never played safety in an NFL game. But the Redskins did have him starting. His loss, combined with impressive rookie Montae Nicholson’s recurring injury issues, has hurt the secondary.

Running back Keith Marshall (10): He did not look good in 2016 training camp as a rookie, before he was lost for the season with an elbow injury. But the Redskins entered camp with some excitement over what they felt he could do. Then he got hurt again. He might not have made a substantial impact, but given how the running back situation has played out they could have used another body.

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ASHBURN, Virginia – The Washington Redskins lost another starter, though it might be for just one game.

Linebacker Zach Brown, the Redskins’ leading tackler, was ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. the Arizona Cardinals. He has been dealing with an Achilles issue for most of the second half of the season. He also has toe and hip issues.
The Redskins will be without leading tackler Zach Brown for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
The Redskins already lost two other inside linebackers this season – Will Compton and Mason Foster, both of whom are on injured reserve. Martrell Spaight will start in place of Brown, alongside Zach Vigil. Without Brown, the Redskins lose a speedy linebacker. Rookie Josh Harvey-Clemons also will play linebacker; he has been playing in some sub packages.

Washington also will be without safety Montae Nicholson, who will miss a fourth straight game because of a concussion. The Redskins have missed his combination of size and speed in the secondary, forcing D.J. Swearinger to play more free safety. He was caught out of position last week on a 75-yard touchdown pass and has been most effective this season playing closer to the line.

Seven players were listed as questionable: left tackle Trent Williams, right tackle Morgan Moses, linebacker Ryan Anderson, receiver Ryan Grant, receiver Maurice Harris, defensive lineman Terrell McClain and center Chase Roullier.

Williams did not participate in any practices this week. In recent weeks, Williams would be limited on Friday before playing Sunday. If he can’t start then Ty Nsekhe would take his place, working against Arizona outside linebacker Chandler Jones in pass-rush situations.