Josh Doctson Jersey

The Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. At the time, Doctson was viewed as something of a luxury pick for the 2016 season, as the team already had two established wideouts on the roster in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

The real reason he was brought to Washington was that the team had no plans of re-signing both Jackson and Garcon, who would both be free agents in their 30s, in the following offseason.

Doctson only played 31 snaps over the course of two games in his rookie campaign before being shut down and placed on IR because of a lingering Achilles injury. His injury-plagued first year in the pros was disappointing to be sure, but it wasn’t the end of the world. After all, everyone knew the pick was primarily made with an eye towards the future and not just 2016. Unfortunately, the future has not gone as planned.

D-Jax and Garcon both went on to post 1,000-yard seasons for the Skins before bolting to Tampa Bay and San Francisco in free agency. This marked the first time in NFL history that a pair of receivers topped 1,000 receiving yards in the same year and both signed with a new team the following offseason.

The pressure would then fall squarely on Josh Doctson’s shoulders to lead Washington’s wideout corps and produce at a high level. As anyone who follows this team knows, Doctson has failed miserably at that task.
If you know me, then you know I have to back that last statement up with some hard facts. So, whether you want them or not, here are 10 sets of statistics which illustrate the utter disappointment that has been Josh Doctson’s NFL career:

  1. In his three-year career, Doctson has amassed just 81 receptions and 1,100 yards. Since he entered the league in 2016, 22 players (19 wide receivers) have topped both numbers in a single season a combined 33 times.
  2. His single-season career highs in receptions and yards are 44 and 532, respectively. Again, since 2016, 122 players (84 wide receivers) have bested those marks in a season a combined 219 times. Fourteen of those 122 were rookies (10 wide receivers).
  3. Josh Doctson finished both 2017 and 2018 ranked either first or second among the Redskins’ skill position players in snaps, routes run and targets, yet he’s never led the team in either receptions or receiving yards. The Skins’ WR corps ranked dead last in both receptions (145) and receiving yards (1,694) in 2018.
  4. He has never finished in the top-40 at the receiver position in targets, receptions and first downs.
  5. The former first rounder has never finished in the top 60 among qualifying wideouts in the following statistics: receiving yards, yards after catch (YAC), yards per target, yards per route run, catch percentage, DVOA, DYAR, PFF grade, receiver air conversion ratio (RACR) and average separation.
  6. Only eight of his career receptions have gained 30 or more yards. That’s not particularly impressive, especially when you consider 10 of his grabs as a pro have gone for four yards or less.
  7. The number of times in his career Doctson has dropped a pass (6) or had one of his targets intercepted (7) is almost equal to both the number of touchdowns and deep passes he’s caught (8 each).
  8. He isn’t exactly what you would call a versatile player either. The TCU product has never played a single snap on special teams or defense for the Redskins and 83% of his snaps have been taken as a boundary receiver. Between college and the NFL (including preseason) he has a recorded a total of negative seven combined rushing and return yards.
  9. Only 260 or 23.6% of his receiving yards have come after the catch.
  10. Josh Doctson has never caught more than six passes or gained more than 84 yards in a game. He has also never scored more than once in a single contest. Doctson has failed to gain 40 yards in two-thirds of his NFL games (22 of 33). He’s totaled fewer than 4 receptions, 40 yards and hasn’t scored on 14 occasions (42%).

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. At least up until this point, the Redskins using a first-round pick on Doctson has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster; that’s not really up for debate. By almost any definition, he’s been a bust.

This is not what I want to focus on here today, though. I want to know if there is any shred of hope for Josh Doctson to avoid the dreaded bust label when his football career ultimately ends. Have any players in a similar situation set a precedent he could possibly emulate on his way to a career turnaround or would he have to defy seemingly insurmountable odds by becoming one of the first wideouts to ever accomplish such a feat?

Montae Nicholson Jersey

The Redskins need not one but two safeties. The team cut DJ Swearinger late last season for insubordination, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is set for free agency.

Further down the roster, Montae Nicholson’s situation is anything but certain after a late season arrest outside of a Loudon County bar. Troy Apke hardly played as a rookie, and while Deshazor Everett has long been a special teams stalwart, he’s never gotten much of a chance to be more than that.

Add it all up, and the Redskins must bring in safeties, via free agency or the draft. Jay Gruden mentioned safety as one of the key positions his team needs to address when he spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

During the combine, some sources suggested veteran hybrid safety Tyrann Mathieu as the top free agent on the Redskins board.

Capable of playing cornerback or safety, Matheiu made the NFL’s All Pro list in 2015 playing free safety for the Cardinals. In six NFL seasons, the “Honey Badger” has proved his ability as a playmaker on the back end with 13 interceptions, six fumbles and seven sacks. He’s only 5-foot-9 and 170 lbs, but he logged 89 tackles last year in Houston on a strong defense.

The Honey Badger would help the Redskins, but he might not be the top target anymore.

Since the end of the 2018 season, many believed the Giants would put the franchise tag on safety Landon Collins. He just turned 25 and was named to the last three Pro Bowls. In 2016, he made the All Pro team with a dominant season that included five interceptions, four sacks and 125 tackles.

New York GM Dave Gettleman decided not to franchise Collins, and in turn, is letting the former University of Alabama star hit free agency. Collins will have plenty of suitors, and the Redskins will be in that mix.

There is some belief around the NFL that the Redskins will make a big run at Collins.
Washington will need to make salary cap space to sign Collins, but that can happen. The team could release Stacy McGee and Zach Brown and make about $10 million in room. Restructuring a deal with Vernon Davis will also add to the pile of available money.

Primarily an inside-the-box safety, Collins strength is coming downhill for big hits and not necessarily in pass coverage.

Certainly Collins would help the Redskins. That’s no doubt. But if his price tag gets to $10 million per season, is an inside-the-box safety worth that hefty cost? That’s a legitimate question, even for a player as good as Collins.

In a hypothetical world, Mathieu and Collins might actually work well together on the back end with Collins at strong safety and Mathieu at free safety. The Redskins seem unlikely to be able to afford both players though, and keep in mind the Washington defensive scheme prefers to have interchangeable safeties to not tip off the offense what player has what responsibility.

There will be other options too.

The Ravens released Eric Weddle, and he could provide leadership, durability and high-level tackling on the back end. He’s 34, but maybe the Redskins defense needs a veteran. He would also come at a reduced cost from Collins and Mathieu, and probably sign on a deal that only guarantees money in 2019.

Veterans like Earl Thomas or Lamarcus Joyner might work too, but both will carry higher price tags. Over the last few seasons in free agency, the Redskins have targeted players coming off rookie contracts for free agency. Collins fits that, and Matthieu is one-year off his rookie deal. Weddle obviously isn’t, but probably won’t require a long-term deal.

Thomas and Joyner will be looking for real cash and both players will turn 30 during their next contracts. Because of that, signing either safety would be an unusual move for Bruce Allen.
One other name to watch: Adrian Amos. A fifth-round pick out of Penn State in 2015, Amos had 73 tackles and two interceptions on a very good Bears defense last year.

Overshadowed by 2018 All Pro Eddie Jackson in the Chicago secondary, Amos can also play. He won’t cost as much as some of the other names listed, and is definitely more of a center fielder than a line of scrimmage type player.

Don’t forget too that the Redskins could keep Clinton-Dix. The organization liked him enough to send a fourth-round pick to Green Bay at the trade deadline to acquire the fifth-year player out of Alabama. Clinton-Dix wasn’t outstanding in about half a season in Washington, but if the price is right, he could return.

Of all the players listed, Amos ranked highest in Pro Football Focus’ safety rankings at 7th on the list. Weddle landed at 9th. Swearinger was 13th on the list and Mathieu was inside the Top 20 at 19th. Collins was 22nd on the list, but he dealt with injuries and only played 12 games last year.

Bottom line: There are good safeties on the market. Washington cap expert Eric Schaffer might have to move some cash around, but he’s quite good at that.

The Redskins need to sign at least one free agent to anchor the back of their secondary, and while it looked like Mathieu would be a main target, Collins might be the top of the list.

Jonathan Allen Jersey

When the 2019 season kicks off, the Washington Redskins are expected to have three or four starters from their 2018 draft class, and seven of their eight selections should see playing time in the regular rotation.

This can be viewed from two perspectives. On one hand, it’s clearly a positive that the team drafted well enough to have players ready for significant snaps in Year 2. The negative viewpoint is that the roster is in such a state that they need to rely on so many young players. Several of those players were forced into playing time as rookies, when the team had a league-high 24 players (including four rookies) land on injured reserve.

Take the slot receiver position. After Jamison Crowder left for the New York Jets in free agency, Trey Quinn, the last player selected in the 2018 draft, is in line for a bigger role despite having just three games of experience. Quinn impressed during training camp, but the combination of his injury history and inexperience creates a question mark at the position.
The goal for all NFL teams should be to draft well enough that young players on first contracts can fill significant roles quickly, allowing teams to spend more money on difference-makers at key positions. Players such as Daron Payne and 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen are examples of that, but there’s also risk in being forced to play youngsters before they’re ready.

Here’s a look at each member of the 2018 draft class and his expected role for this season — keeping in mind that much could change with additional free agent signings and this year’s draft.

Round 1, 13th overall: Defensive tackle Daron Payne (Alabama)

The Redskins were one of the worst run defenses in the NFL before Payne arrived. He was a major factor in Washington finishing 15th against the run in 2018, and that was after ranking as one of the best in the league before injuries affected every defensive category. Payne has all of the makings of a long-term star. He already commands double-teams because of his strength, and he has good enough feet to be more than a bull-rusher. He started all 16 games and recorded five sacks and eight quarterback hits to go with 56 tackles. The plan is for Payne and Allen to anchor what the team hopes will be one of the better defensive lines in the league.

Round 2, 59th overall: Running back Derrius Guice (LSU)

After rumors of character issues contributed to his slide into the second round last year, Guice became a fan favorite just through organized team activities and three weeks of training camp. He showed all of the traits that made many evaluators rank him the second-best running back in the class behind Saquon Barkley — speed, power, sharp cuts — before a torn ACL at the end of a 34-yard run in the first preseason game ended his rookie season. Guice was the team’s top back before his injury, but he will share time in the backfield with Adrian Peterson, who re-signed this offseason after being signed off the street in August and taking over as Washington’s top running back. The questions: How long will Guice’s recovery last? And how will the carries be split once he returns?

[Redskins to meet with Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins ahead of draft]

Round 3, 74th overall: Offensive tackle Geron Christian (Louisville)

Christian’s season ended after he played three snaps in a 16-3 win over Tampa Bay in Week 10. He tore a medial collateral ligament that required surgery and sent him to injured reserve. Injuries forced him into the lineup earlier than the Redskins had planned; he made his debut in Week 9 against Atlanta after guards Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff were hurt and Trent Williams was inactive with a thumb injury. Christian is athletic, and the team hopes he can develop into the right tackle of the future, but there’s plenty of work before he gets there. He will be a backup in 2019.

Round 4, 109th overall: Safety Troy Apke (Penn State)

The concern about Apke when drafted was that he’s more of a speedster (he ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash) than a well-rounded talent. He never disproved that as a rookie: He didn’t play a defensive snap before going on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. (Apke did play on special teams.) But Washington might need him to play a key role this year. The Redskins cut starter D.J. Swearinger before the final game of last season and still don’t know how an assault arrest will affect Montae Nicholson’s availability. The team signed Landon Collins to be a starter, but it needs additional contributors at the position.

Round 5, 163rd overall: Defensive tackle Tim Settle (Virginia Tech)

Settle was considered a steal in the fifth round, but he was still developing as a rookie. He got more snaps in the final seven weeks of the season and showed flashes of power and athleticism, but he had work to do on technique and endurance. Settle’s presence is one of the reasons the defensive line is one of the strongest and deepest positions on the roster. He will rotate behind Payne, Allen and Matt Ioannidis in his second season.

Round 6, 197th overall: Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Alabama)

Hamilton is expected to be the staring inside linebacker alongside Mason Foster when the season kicks off. He supplanted Zach Brown in the lineup in the final four games of the season, and Brown was released this offseason to make way for the former Alabama captain. The Redskins envision a future with Hamilton and Reuben Foster as the starting inside linebackers once Foster comes off the commissioner’s exempt list and serves an expected suspension. This is the first healthy offseason Hamilton has had in years, so big things are expected for the cerebral second-year player.

Round 7, 241st overall: Cornerback Greg Stroman (Virginia Tech)

Stroman went from being doubtful to make the 53-man roster to starting important NFC East games against Dallas and New York while the team was still in contention. The Redskins decided to go with a youth movement at cornerback behind Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, but a nerve issue in Dunbar’s leg pushed Stroman into a significant role earlier than planned. He gave up big touchdowns against New Orleans and the Cowboys and found himself on an Odell Beckham Jr. highlight reel, but teammates and coaches loved his ability to let the bad plays go. Stroman won’t have the pressure of starting this season but should be an improved rotational cornerback with another year of punt and kickoff return responsibilities.

Round 7, 256th overall: Trey Quinn (SMU)

Crowder’s departure increased Quinn’s expected workload. He was the backup slot receiver as a rookie and proved to be an elusive route runner with strong hands. He scored a touchdown in a Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys, but a persistent ankle injury cost him most of his rookie year. Quinn will get the opportunity to have a significant role in the offense in 2019, and he would be the starting slot receiver if the season began today.

Derrius Guice Jersey

Derrius Guice heard the whispers about his absence while recovering from knee surgery last season. He hadn’t been around the Washington Redskins facility much, because he needed to be close to Dr. James Andrews’s institute in Florida after an infection necessitated an additional surgery. Outsiders wondered why he wasn’t rehabbing with the team, unaware of the infection.

Guice now provides not-so-subtle updates in the form of Instagram videos, with the latest showing the running back on a practice field in Ashburn, cutting around five obstacles, ducking under a hurdle, motoring around a wide circle of cones and finishing with a 15-yard sprint.


That progress, plus the re-signing of last year’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson, leaves Jay Gruden with some decisions to make. The Redskins will be in a timeshare situation in the backfield between Guice, Peterson and Chris Thompson, but there’s only one ball to go around.

“That’s an interesting dilemma right there,” Gruden said. “Number one, Guice has got to get healthy. . . . He’s young, I’m sure it’ll be effortless for him to get back in shape, but still, we’re talking about a major knee injury for a running back. So, it’s something we have to really look at and make sure he’s 100 percent. And make sure he still runs with the same type of energy and charisma and effort he played with before the injury, because sometimes those injuries have an effect on you mentally. I don’t think it will with Derrius . . . but still, you never know.”
The plan was to have Guice as the clear-cut No. 1 back as a rookie last season, after he shined during summer and preseason workouts. He was everything the organization hoped for from the second-round pick out of LSU, and he quickly became a fan favorite at training camp, regularly signing autographs well after teammates had left the field. The feel-good story of camp came to an abrupt end when Guice suffered a torn ACL in the first preseason game.

Injuries piled up in the running back room, and Peterson was signed off the street Aug. 20. No one truly knew how much the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer had left in the tank before Peterson ran for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns, becoming the Redskins’ top offensive weapon. The team re-signed him to a two-year deal and now have to figure out how best to use him and Guice together.

“Having AP back is nice,” Gruden said. “He rushed for over 1,000 yards. He’s a little bit older, but he doesn’t look it. He’s in great shape. Saw him the other day. It’s a great dilemma to have those two guys.”

Guice is the future of the position and brings a blend of speed, strength and agility after rushing for more than 2,600 yards and 26 touchdowns in his final two years at LSU.

Peterson, however, is one of the best running backs ever to put on an NFL uniform, and he proved durable in 2018 and capable of still handling a full workload. He became the focal point of a run-first Redskins team that looked to win games by limiting turnovers and relying on a staunch defense. That seems to be the likely blueprint for 2019 as well, with quarterback Alex Smith likely to miss the entire season and Colt McCoy and Case Keenum competing to replace him.

[Landon Collins will wear jersey No. 20 for Redskins, not Sean Taylor’s No. 21]

Peterson, though, is a physical runner who wears down a defense and is often most dangerous in the fourth quarter after having already accumulated 15-plus carries. Gruden will have to figure out a way to best utilize the strengths of Peterson and Guice, while Thompson works in on third downs and passing situations. The coach also said he wants to get former fourth-round pick Samaje Perine more chances after he earned just eight carries last season.

“The guy who I really want to see is, who everybody thinks he’s in my doghouse, is Samaje,” Gruden said. “Samaje has not gotten the opportunities, I’m upset about that. That’s my fault. But I have not given up on Samaje. He’s young, he’s strong, he’s physical and I need to see him take that next step.

Gruden doesn’t expect Guice to be full-go until training camp, so there will be summer opportunities for Perine. The plan is for Guice to go through individual drills during organized team activities and see how he feels for mandatory workouts.

Peterson and Guice developed a relationship last season, and the youngster plans to train with the veteran in Texas this summer. Both are competitors, but there’s been no animosity as they enter 2019 with an eye on the same snaps.

Now it’s on Gruden to figure out how best to divvy those up.

Da’Ron Payne Jersey

When the Washington Redskins selected Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne with the 13th choice in the NFL Draft on April 26, they had Oct. 21 in mind.

Washington squares off against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in one of the NFL’s premier rivalries. But the Redskins haven’t beaten the Cowboys in the past two seasons.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott is a big reason for Dallas’ success. Second in NFL this season with 586 rushing yards, Elliott has run for 330 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries in three games against Washington — all victories for the Cowboys.

Washington Redskins nose tackle Da'Ron Payne (95) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey during an NFL game on Oct. 14, 2018, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

“Defensively, we’ve got to stop the run.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said during his Monday press conference. “I think that’s the Achilles heel. That’s part of the reason we drafted Da’Ron Payne was for games like this — for Zeke Elliott and the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, Saquon. I think stopping the run, we have had marginal success, but not good enough against the Cowboys.”

Washington had the worst rushing defense in the NFL last season, and with the Giants bringing Penn State running back Saquon Barkley into the NFC East with the second pick in the draft, the Redskins knew stopping the run would become only more important in 2018.

“When you have a weakness, you’ve got to address it,” Gruden said. “Da’Ron Payne was, we thought, the best run-stopper — him and Vita Vea — in the draft, and we were lucky to get him. Obviously, we paid it huge consideration for adding a player of that caliber.”
Payne won’t be the only former Alabama defensive lineman getting his first taste of the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry on Sunday. End Jonathan Allen missed both Dallas-Washington games last season, when a foot injury ended his rookie campaign after five games.

The Redskins used the 17th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft to obtain Allen, and he and Payne rank first and second, respectively, among Washington’s defensive linemen in snaps played this season.

Allen has 16 tackles and two sacks and Payne has 17 tackles and two sacks in 2018.

With a sack against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 23 and another against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 8, Payne became the first Redskins’ rookie interior lineman to register sacks in consecutive games since sacks became an official stat in 1981 and the first Washington player to do so since outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in 2011.
“If it was just an ordinary guy, we wouldn’t have taken him in the first round,” Gruden said. “But we felt like he could be a dynamic not only run player, but also help us in the pass rush.”

Ryan Kerrigan Jersey

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has had a fantastic career. What else does he need to do to find himself in the Hall of Fame?

For some reason, Washington Redskins pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan has always been overlooked and under-appreciated in his career. Maybe it’s his quiet demeanor in the national media. He seems like a fun guy and solid leader, but you won’t see him in many national ad campaigns or making the news for anything crazy. It could also be the simple fact that he’s on the Redskins. They haven’t exactly been elite in the 2000s, so some might not pay attention to their players as much.

Of course, it could be his draft class as well. Looking back, the 2011 NFL Draft was absolutely stacked with star power. Cam Newton was the first overall pick, and the first round alone featured a ridiculous amount of fantastic players.

Before the Redskins took Kerrigan at No. 16, a lot of future stars were taken. After Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson rounded out the top five. Julio Jones was taken with the sixth pick and Tyron Smith was No. 9. Then there was J.J. Watt at No. 11, with Nick Fairley at No. 13. Finally, Robert Quinn went with the 14th pick and Mike Pouncey at the 15th were the last two selections before the Redskins were on the clock.
Technically, Washington had the 10th overall pick, but traded back with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took Blaine Gabbert in that spot (a rare miss in this first round).

Whatever the reason truly is, the fact of the matter is Kerrigan tends not to get the recognition he deserves. Currently, the Purdue product has 84.5 sacks in his career. That puts him just 6.5 away from Dexter Manley for the Washington Redskins franchise record. It also puts him three away from entering the top 50 in NFL history.

That may not seem like much, but Kerrigan’s only 30 years old. Not only that, but he’s been more consistently dominant in recent years as compared to his first few seasons. There’s every reason to believe he could at least flirt with entering the top 20 before the end of his career. For reference, Simeon Rice is currently in 20th place with 122 sacks, meaning Kerrigan’s just 37.5 sacks away from tying him.
While that may seem like a lot, that shouldn’t take too long for the Redskins star. His worst sack total came in his rookie season with 7.5. He followed that up with two straight 8.5-sack campaigns, then jumped to a career-best 13.5. After that, he posted 9.5 sacks in 2015. Kerrigan has posted double-digit sacks in each of the three seasons since then, coming in with 11 in 2016, and 13 each in 2017 and 2018.

On top of all that, he’s got 25 forced fumbles in his career. That already puts him in 37th place on the all-time list. This is another list he could climb fast in, as the leader is Robert Mathis with 54.

To be fair, forced fumbles aren’t a stat that have been tracked for all that long. However, it’s still an impressive feat and one that exemplifies Kerrigan’s greatness. The linebacker averages just over three forced fumbles a season. Therefore, if he keeps up that pace he could be in the top 10 in less that five years.

Fun fact, he also has three career interceptions. All three have gone for touchdowns.

In keeping with his character, Kerrigan is underrated when it comes to his run defense as well. This makes him a player that the Redskins don’t need to take off the field for certain sets – meaning he’ll get plenty of playing time in the future. Of course, that’s never been a problem before as he’s never missed a game.

So what exactly does Ryan Kerrigan need to do to get into the Hall of Fame one day? Continue to stay healthy. As long as he can do that, he’ll produce. In eight seasons, he’s recorded 84.5 sacks and 25 forced fumbles. That means he’s averaging over 10.5 sacks per season.

If he can keep with his averages, Kerrigan will be in the top 10 in NFL history in forced fumbles within the next five years. Meanwhile, he’ll be in the top 20 in NFL history in career sacks in less than four seasons. He’d reach the top 10 (137.5 by Richard Dent and John Randle) in just over five seasons.

It’s hard to imagine someone in the top 10 in forced fumbles and somewhere near the top 10 in sacks not finding his way to Canton.

He’s only gotten better in recent years too, producing more than his career-average in sacks in each of the last three years (and four of the last five). So while that 137.5 sacks may seem far away (53 sacks), it’s not out of reach for Kerrigan. Yes, players tend to decline at some point in their careers and it’s unfair to act like Kerrigan won’t. However, as shown by players like DeMarcus Ware, Jason Taylor, Michael Strahan, Julius Peppers and Bruce Smith, you can still be an extremely effective pass rusher at an older age.
There’s plenty of reason to believe Kerrigan could still be putting up decent numbers in seven or eight years.

Ryan Kerrigan is the superstar no one talks about. Fans of other teams rarely mention him, and some fans of the Washington Redskins don’t appreciate him enough. By the end of his career though, he’ll be closer to the top of a lot of all-time lists than you’d probably imagine. If Kerrigan wants to make it into the Hall of Fame, all he has to do is keep playing.

Jordan Reed Jersey

The Washington Redskins made their big splash this offseason when they signed free agent safety Landon Collins to a six-year deal. While this filled a position of need, there are still some glaring holes on the roster.

One of those holes is at wide receiver, and getting a veteran like Jordy Nelson should be a top priority now.

alex smith

Last season, the Washington Redskins passing attack was almost non-existent. They finished with just over 3,000 passing yards (this does include sacks).

Sure, you could chalk it up to the injuries they had at quarterback – but that’s simply not a great excuse. In the 10 games Alex Smith played, he had 2,180 yards in the air. The Redskins weren’t exactly on-pace for record-breaking numbers.
Besides, at the moment – Washington’s still not carrying much weight at the quarterback position. Maybe some extra help at receiver could make a difference though.

Last season – the Redskins had just one player with over 50 receptions (only two others topped 30). They also had just two players with over 500 receiving yards (they were also the only two with over 400 yards.

For the record, Jordan Reed was the one player with over 50 receptions (54). Josh Doctson had 44 and Chris Thompson (a running back) had 41. The next two men on that list were Jamison Crowder (29 receptions) and Maurice Harris (28), both aren’t on the team anymore.
Yards wise, Reed had 558 and Doctson had 532. The next highest was Crowder (again not on the team anymore) with 388.

This is clearly a problem and something the Washington Redskins need to address as soon as possible. They’re not in a great position when it comes to cap space, but they have enough to make something work.

That’s where Jordy Nelson comes in. He’ll be 34 before the start of next season and isn’t the same player he was a few years ago. That means the Redskins won’t have to break the bank to get him.

Now, I know that sounds unappealing. An aging receiver who isn’t his former Pro Bowl self.
Look at the stats though. Nelson appeared in 15 games for the Oakland Raiders last season. He did so with weird sporadic playing time as well. There was also an unusual culture surrounding the team, and while the QB situation was better than Washington’s, let’s not pretend like there wasn’t controversy at the position.

Despite all that, Nelson trumped any receiver of Washington’s when it comes to stats in 2018. His 63 receptions were nine better than Redskins’ leader Jordan Reed. Meanwhile, his 739 yards were 181 yards more than the leader (Reed again).

Custom Jordan Reed JerseyThe saddest part though? Nelson’s three touchdown receptions were one more than anyone on the Redskins. If you need anything non-stat related, at 6-3, Nelson would be the tallest wide receiver on the Redskins not named Cam Sims (who has no NFL stats).
Jordy Nelson isn’t the superstar wide receiver he was from 2011 through 2016. He’s still an exceptionally talented player though. He gives the Redskins something they don’t have in multiple categories.Custom Jordan Reed JerseyThe saddest part though? Nelson’s three touchdown receptions were one more than anyone on the Redskins. If you need anything non-stat related, at 6-3, Nelson would be the tallest wide receiver on the Redskins not named Cam Sims (who has no NFL stats).
Jordy Nelson isn’t the superstar wide receiver he was from 2011 through 2016. He’s still an exceptionally talented player though. He gives the Redskins something they don’t have in multiple categories.

Nelson would be a veteran leader at the position. One who has seen it all and done it all. He also gives them size and range as someone who can be an at least semi-legitimate deep threat. His hand present an upgrade as well.

Nelson’s 71.6% catch rate last season (percentage of targets thrown his way he caught) was higher than any non-running back on Washington with more than 10 targets.

To be fair, Trey Quinn had a bonkers 90% catch rate, but only had 10 targets.
Jordy Nelson would immediately become the Washington Redskins top receiver. He would fit nicely with Doctson on the outside, and could probably teach him a thing-or-two as well.

They’d also be nice compliments to Quinn and Paul Richardson who would give the Skins more quickness.

In the end, Nelson would help everyone involved. He’d make life easier for the quarterback (whoever that ends up being) as they’d have a true veteran and reliable target at receiver.

He’d also take a ton of pressure off Doctson to perform and free up Reed from less double-team coverage.

Although many may believe his best years are behind him, Jordy Nelson is still in the NFL for a reason. The 33-year-old can still produce – and he’d be an extremely welcome addition to the Washington Redskins.

If they were smart, they’d scoop him up before someone else inevitably does.

Josh Norman Jersey

On Wednesday, the Redskins made a few obvious roster moves – releasing Zach Brown and Stacy McGee – that cleared up a nice chunk of cap space.

Moving forward in free agency, the team still can make a couple of other similar transactions – names like Vernon Davis and Mason Foster come to mind – that would free up additional cash.

halsellonnorman.jpg

However, some fans are wondering if a surprise cut is coming, one that would involve a major player on the roster and really impact Washington’s budget for bringing in new talent. And the player mentioned most often for this type of decision is Josh Norman.

But is getting rid of Norman to save $8.5 million the most logical option for the Redskins? Perhaps not.

Here are three reasons why dropping the corner isn’t the best idea.
1) His contract can work this year

Between Norman and Landon Collins, the ‘Skins have an unusually high amount of cash allocated to the secondary. Still, that situation can function for 2019.

On the Redskins Talk podcast Wednesday, NFL financial expert J.I. Halsell explained that Collins’ $4 million cap hit means the Burgundy and Gold can handle both he and No. 24 together.

According to Halsell, the franchise doesn’t really have to make a call on Norman until 2020, when he’ll still be expensive, and Collins’ price jumps more than $10 million. In 2019, though, the arrangement is tenable, thanks largely to how cheap the defense’s front seven is.
2) He’s a playmaker and they don’t have many

Norman hasn’t fully thrived in D.C. in his three years since popping as a Panther, but he’s been pretty effective in two of his three seasons and is coming off what looks like his best campaign in Washington.

In 2018, the DB picked off three passes, forced three fumbles, and scooped up a loose ball, too. Those are valuable, game-altering plays for a unit that doesn’t contain many guys beyond him, and hopefully now Collins, producing those kinds of highlights.

While he’s being paid to be a top-level corner and hasn’t matched that compensation as of yet, he’s been a positive influence on the defense. Plus, who knows? Maybe new secondary coach Ray Horton can unlock more from the veteran.
3) Who would fill his spot?

The Redskins are already inexperienced on the outside with Norman. Without him? They’d be insanely young.

Quinton Dunbar is the second-most proven player on the depth chart, and he’s a once-converted wideout coming off a mysterious shin injury. After him is third-year pro Fabian Moreau and then three CBs who will all be entering their second go-round in the NFL.

Would it be nice to have $8.5 million more to use to address left guard or receiver? Absolutely. But is that money worth draining an already thin spot? Not really.

The best path for the Redskins is to keep Norman for 2019, see how he fits alongside his new All-Pro safety and then reevaluate next March. Cutting Norman now would likely do much more harm to the organization than good.

Now, trading him is another story, because at least they could justify getting rid of his skills to bring in another useful commodity. Yet an outright release would be a questionable end to his tenure here.

Alex Smith Jersey

Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury that knocked him out for the remainder of the 2018 season and possibly all of 2019.

Now comes speculation he may never play again. Regardless of whether he does, the Kansas City Chiefs organization and its fans should all be appreciative of his time in Kansas City.

On Thursday, CBS’ Jason La Canfora wrote a column about Alex Smith‘s current team, the Washington Redskins, perhaps trading up in the draft to land Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Smith’s name only pops up once in the entire column when La Canfora writes that Smith is “unlikely to ever play again, but (is) due $54M in guarantees.”

Now, it should be noted that neither Washington nor Smith have come out and said that Smith is unlikely to ever play again. For that matter, no public comments have been made regarding 2019, though it is believed Smith will miss all of it.
Yet, the Redskins actions speak volumes.

Just over two weeks ago, the team announced it was trading for Broncos quarterback Case Keenum with the deal becoming official on March 13th. Plus, the team is being linked to several different quarterbacks in next month’s draft, from Haskins to Missouri’s Drew Lock.

If this is truly the end of Alex Smith’s career, that’s a shame. Alongside head coach Andy Reid, Smith was incredibly instrumental in getting the Chiefs back to relativity post-Pioli. Acquired by the Chiefs on March 12th, 2013, for two second-round draft picks, Smith immediately took over the starting quarterback gig from Matt Cassel.
In the four years preceding Smith’s Kansas City arrival, the Chiefs went 23-41, finishing last in the AFC West three times while making the postseason once. In the five years with Smith under center, the Chiefs went 50-26 (he missed a couple of games), winning the AFC West twice, reaching the postseason four times, and never suffering a losing season. In 2015, he led the Chiefs to their first playoff victory in 22 years.

Simply, he put the Chiefs back on the map. Sure, he didn’t do this alone. With Reid and, at first, John Dorsey, the Chiefs built a solid foundation that thrives today. But the franchise was missing an important, vital piece: a capable, winning quarterback, something the team hadn’t employed since the last days of Trent Green.

By acquiring Smith, a quarterback who had endured a roller-coaster seven-year tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, the team that drafted him number one overall way back in 2005, the Chiefs changed all of that. And while he didn’t lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl (or even the AFC Championship game), he helped guide the team back into relativity.

In 2017, his last with the Chiefs, in addition to throwing over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdown passes versus only five interceptions, he mentored his eventual successor, the kid whose ascent enabled the Chiefs to deal Smith to the Redskins last offseason.

So, here’s to Alex Smith, the franchise’s third all-time leading passer. Chiefs fans are forever in your debt for leading them back into the daylight after the dark days of Scott Pioli’s reign.

Under Smith, an entirely new generation of Chiefs fans got to enjoy playoff football, even if it always ended in heartache. (But isn’t that the most important of fandom, suffering that?) From 2013-2017, the Chiefs reached the playoffs four out of five years. The franchise hadn’t done that since 1990-1995 when the team made six straight appearances.
It didn’t only happen because of Smith, but he was the most important piece to that puzzle. Regardless of whether his NFL days are done, it’s important to remember that he turned around this once proud, then a mess of a franchise.

If not for Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs would not be where they are today.

Trent Williams Jersey

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — Solon has not lost a boys basketball game since it last faced Mentor.

Trent Williams watched, as he did for more than a month while the Comets went 5-4 during the senior guard’s absence. He returned to the lineup Feb. 8 against Medina — the same team in which he injured his wrist against on Jan. 4 — and invigorated Solon.

“Our energy wasn’t where it usually is,” Williams said Saturday night after a 78-57 sectional final win at Willoughby South, “so I just tried to pick it back up when I got back.

The Comets (16-8) have won seven straight games and get another shot at Mentor, the top-seeded squad in the Division I Euclid District. They meet Wednesday in the tournament semifinals.

An upset win for the fourth-seeded Comets, and they can continue their bid for a return to Columbus.

During the streak, they own wins against St. Edward, Shaker Heights, Medina and now Willoughby South — all ranked teams in the final cleveland.com Top 25 — with Saturday’s win against the Rebels.

“It’s been an easier adjustment than I thought,” coach Tony DeCesare said. “One of the things we talked to the guys about was when he returns, he’s going to take a lot of minutes, he’s going to take up a lot of shots, guys’ roles are going to change and everyone’s going to have to be OK with that.”

They were.

Williams is one of four starters back from last season’s run to the state finals. The new starter among that bunch had to adjust the most, both when Williams got hurt and when he returned.

Both DeCesare and sophomore guard Marcus Steele think he is better for it. Steele shouldered more of a burden when Williams watched with his arm in a sling, starting with a loss to Lake Catholic at the Scholastic Play By Play Classic in early January.

That nine-game stretch only helped Steele improve for now.

“When Trent came back, that’s a lot of pressure off me,” Steele said. “I just started to open up and create for my open teammates.”

He also is providing more pressure on the defensive end, something DeCesare said his Comets missed from Williams just as much as his 3-point shooting.

See the video above for more on Williams’ return, plus more below as the sectional rounds transition to the district semifinals and finals.

Catch up with updated brackets, takeaways and a daily schedule of the week’s games through the semifinals.

ABOUT THAT MENTOR MATCHUP

Mentor and Solon have played for the last three district championships in Euclid.

Solon has a 2-1 edge in those postseason matchups, but the Cardinals (21-2) won both meetings this season. They also got a head start on familiarizing themselves with Euclid’s gym, beating Mayfield in their sectional final Saturday at Euclid because a Division I wrestling district championship was held in their own gym.

DeCesare said he does not plan to ask for an opportunity to practice in Euclid’s gym ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal. Such a special practice is customary for teams in the postseason when their opponent previously played on a neutral site floor.

His seniors had that opportunity as freshmen, when they played St. Ignatius in a regional semifinal at Cleveland State after the Wildcats beat St. Edward in a district final at the Wolstein Center.

DeCesare said he did not think the 20-mile drive north was worth the time for his players, who can practice in their own gym, rest and focus.

Mentor junior guard Luke Floriea scored 26 points and sophomore Luke Chicone had 21 to lead the Cardinals on Feb. 1 in an 83-68 win at Solon. Junior forward Chad Rogers had 27 points in the first matchup, an 81-61 Mentor win, on Dec. 21, 2018.

TURNING OUT THE LIGHTS AT SOUTH

Win or lose, Willoughby South coach Doug Barber knew Saturday marked his program’s last game in its gym. It’s the same gym he played in through 2004, winning Plain Dealer Player of the Year for Lake and Geauga counties.

“You really don’t think about it,” Barber said. “It may hit me because I went here, I played here, it may hit me in a couple weeks. I grew up in this gym. It’s special, but hopefully we have a new gym that we can make more memories moving forward.”

UPSET OF THE NIGHT

For the second straight night, a high seed fell.

Walsh Jesuit handed third-seeded Archbishop Hoban a 57-52 upset in the Division I Barberton District as Tommy Cummings led the Warriors with 22 points. Donovan Morris added 11 for the sixth seed.

Walsh Jesuit will face No. 2 Copley on Thursday. The Indians dispatched Wadsworth, 62-55, behind Sam Emich’s 19 points, VannAuburey Thomas’ 17 and D.J. Jones’ 15.

Walsh Jesuit’s win at Hoban follows Aurora’s upset of second-seeded Gilmour on Friday in the Division II Stow District.

Meanwhile Tallmadge beat No. 2 Louisville in the Division II Canton District. The Blue Devils advance to reach the Fieldhouse in Canton.

STATEMENTS OF THE NIGHT

Cleveland Heights closed the regular season with a tough loss at Garfield Heights. Earlier last month, the Tigers fell to East Tech on a buzzer-beater by D.J. Harrell.

They didn’t let it get nearly that close.

Nigel Martin scored 22 points, Jae’Lyn Withers had 18 and Cleveland Heights blew past the Scarabs, 84-46.

Heights outscored the Senate League champs 49-19 in the second half. The third seed in the Euclid District, Heights will face No. 2 Brush on Thursday.

Ronnier Barrett-Reed scored 27 points and Avon ran away in the Elyria Catholic District’s four-vs.-five matchup. Coach Kevin Sapara’s Eagles dispatched Elyria, 75-47.

Avon (16-7) took control with a 23-4 run in the second quarter.

The reward is a district semifinal with top-seeded Lorain, which beat Berea-Midpark behind Devon Grant’s 23 points. The Titans just beat Avon two weeks ago in the last week of the regular season.