3 players with the most to gain in training camp for the Redskins
The NFC East seems to be a wide-open division in 2019 with the Washington Redskins trying to add their names to the mix. Of course, many people have chosen either the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles as the prohibitive favorites.
Although, the consensus is that the New York Giants will finish dead-last in the division. At the least, Washington isn’t expected to be in fourth place in the division. Right Redskins fans?
What are the expectations for the Redskins in 2019 though? Last year, Washington somehow almost snuck into the playoffs late in the season with a 7-9 record. That’s even after Alex Smith went down with a severe leg injury.
Despite that, Jay Gruden is likely coaching for his job this season with possibly four-straight seasons with no playoff games to be found. Nevertheless, Gruden and the Redskins have their sights on the playoffs in 2019.
Before they begin playing meaningful games, Washington will need to work out a few of their kinks in training camp. Here are three players with the most to gain for the Redskins in training camp this year.
3. Montae Nicholson
One of the most notable signings this offseason for the Redskins was Landon Collins. Washington was able to land an elite player from a division rival in the New York Giants to strengthen their secondary.
The two most prominent players in the Redskins secondary is Josh Norman and Collins. Although, Washington will need the guys around those two to step up if they want to have a better pass defense than they did in 2018.
Last year, the Redskins had the 15th ranked pass defense in the NFL, but with the talent they have, they can finish in the top-10 this season. Someone like Montae Nicholson is going to have to be prepared to play an essential role in the defense in 2019.
Currently, Nicholson is slated to start at free safety alongside Collins. The third-year safety can lock up the position with an impressive showing during training camp in a couple of weeks.
2. Derrius Guice
Before the 2018 season, Washington was ecstatic to witness their second-round pick in 2018 in Derrius Guice take the field. Not long after training camps began in 2018, Guice suffered a torn ACL in the Redskins preseason opener.
As a result, the Redskins turned to Adrian Peterson to salvage their running game. Peterson performed pretty well in his 13th season in the NFL, rushing for 1,042 yards and seven scores.
Now, fans are anxiously awaiting Guice to return the field this offseason, but the second-year running back has recently suffered a slight setback. The Redskins running back suffered a hamstring injury recently—although, Guice said it isn’t anything to worry about.
Nonetheless, the Redskins will be cautious with their young running back but would love for him to return sometime during training camp. After all, Washington could use Guice in a crowded backfield with Peterson, Chris Thompson, and Bryce Love.
1. Dwayne Haskins
What do the Redskins plan on doing at quarterback? Are they going to start Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins? No one knows yet, but one thing is for certain—Jay Gruden doesn’t know who it will be yet.
When asked about the quarterback situation, Gruden has given the cliche response of “we want to win now” and has said whoever can help the Redskins do that, will have the starting job. That means there’s a chance that even Colt McCoy is starting under center in Week 1.
Of course, last season, the Redskins acquired Alex Smith in hopes his veteran leadership could propel them to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Smith suffered a gruesome injury to his leg that will keep him sidelined for 2019—and possibly beyond.
As a result, the Redskins selected Haskins out of Ohio State in the first round and traded for Keenum. Both will have a chance to start in Week 1, but the rookie in Haskins seems like he’s in the passenger seat for the starting job for now.
If Haskins can display a sense of leadership and knowledge of the offense in training camp, that could force Gruden’s hand to start him when the 2019 season begins.