Welcome back to the B&G Report! Today we introduce a new segment entitled Quick Hits. Sometimes as Skins fans we just want to have a quick dose of Skins news/analysis. Today’s focus will be on a few storylines to ponder as Training Camp approaches. So let’s get to it!
#1 Alex Smith and Paul Richardson Jr Learn Together
The acquisition of Alex Smith was the only way this team wasn’t going into a rebuild. The Redskins would have had to trade up in the Draft, just to have an opportunity at selecting acompetent signal caller. Usually the first year is a learning year for a young QB, current Redskins backup quarterback Colt McCoy would have in all likelihood been the 2018 starter. Thankfully that didn’t happen and the Skins realized a quarterback of Smith’s caliber, could be had at a reasonable price (not happy about Fuller included in the trade) . I’m onboard with the Redskins acquisition of Smith, now the question is who helps his transition? Fourth year receiver Jamison Crowder is the veteran of the group, but he has always been the 2nd-3rd receiving option. I don’t look for that to change this year and believe Crowder leaves via Free Agency in 2019. So who else in Receiver room can be Smith’s go to guy, early on and for the foreseeable future? The Redskins prized Free Agency signing was former Seattle WR Paul Richardson Jr. I’ve actually been surprised by the lack of excitement for the former Colorado Buffalo playmaker. A few minutes of watching his College and pro tape, reveal a playmaker on the cusp of a true breakout year! Having Russell Wilson as his QB was a positive, but a detriment as well. Russell often found Richardson down field during his patented scrambles. This also led to Richardson running wide open at times downfield, but Wilson was often busy running away from would be tacklers.
In Washington Smith and Richardson will have the opportunity to grow together. Many clamored that Smith would not be productive without his former Chiefs playmakers. His former receiver Tyreek Hill is put on a pedestal based on his speed. Well Richardson has that type of speed, although not quite the timed 4.24 second forty that Hill registered at his Pro Day. Richardson registered a 4.40 second forty yard dash at his Combine workout, but some Pro Day attendees reportedly had him timed in the low 4.3’s! In my opinion, Richardson is a better route runner at this point than Hill, but Seattle didn’t ask Richardson the so that much. His route tree/football IQ did show up on his Colorado tape though. He’s even been compared to former Redskin and current Tamp Bay WR Desean Jackson.
“Richardson looks like Desean Jackson the way he’s built and the way he can run, he can stretch the field as an outside receiver as well.” -Bucky Brooks NFL Network
So look for Coach Jay Gruden to utilize the former Seahawk receiver’s speed and get him involved in the offense early in OTA’s and Training Camp. Also look for Gruden to design speciality packages, that Smith & Richardson would thrive in together. It should be an interesting storyline to follow!
(Previous Smith and Richardson Jr B&G Report Articles Below)
#2 The Alabama Connection
Many Redskins fans had mixed emotions, when former Alabama defensive lineman Daron Payne was selected with the Redskins 1st Round pick. Many believed the available players on the board had more upside, compared to Payne and the selection smelled of a Need Pick. Personally I thought the move was well thought out, considering they already had a few of his former Crimson Tide teammates on the roster. Former Alabama teammate John Allen, was on his way to having a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign before his season ending foot injury. Players like Preston Smith were non factors when Allen went down, after playing at an impressive level for the first few games. So not only does Payne join Allen, but also former Tide teammate OLB Ryan Anderson. Many have already labeled Anderson as a disappointment, as well as being drafted to high. I agree they probably could have had Anderson in the 3rd round of the 2017 Draft, but hindsight is 20/20. The early depth projection has Allen & Payne lining up with Matt Ioanndis. Word is Payne and Ioanndis could both lineup up at NT or DE. Having Anothony Lanier II and rookie DT Tim Settle in the rotation, has turned an area of weakness to a strength. Although only in his second season on an NFL roster, the pressure is on for Anderson to produce. The chemistry aspect is extremely underrated with the Crimson Tide Trio. Although this is a different version of the 3-4 Defense that Coach Nick Saban ran at Alabama, many of the principles are the same. Payne will be asked to occupy blocks, but also to shoot the A&B gaps when necessary. Their time together at Alabama will pay huge dividends, when this new look Redskins Defense takes the field!
#3 The Battered Bookends
Saying the Redskins O-line was depleted last year due to injuries, would be the understatement of the century! Trent Williams and Morgan Moses both dealt with what should have been season ending injuries, but both pushed through until the final few games (Moses okayed all 16 games). Williams knew he was destined for knee cap surgery and was advised continued play would be a Pain Threshold issue, opposed to incurring further damage to the knee. As he always has, Williams pushed through in dominate form. He’s currently recovering from surgery to his right knee cap/torn medial patella-femoral ligament. Many think starting Camp on the PUP list is a real possibility.
Moses has battled through foot/ankle injuries over the last couple of seasons and had offseason right ankle surgery. He considered having double ankle surgery, but instead went the rehab route for the left ankle. Personally I’m very concerned about the health of the Redskins tackles. This is the year that they finally select a franchise back in Guice, but now what was once a strength is now in possible shambles! Moses looks to make a full recovery and will slowly be inserted back into the lineup in Camp. Williams on the other hand is a wildcard. His superb athleticism and work ethic, provide me with confidence that he’ll be ready to roll when the season starts. Having a new Franchise QB and starting RB, make it even more imperative that Williams gains cohesion with his new teammates in Training Camp. At this point it’s a wait and see game, unfortunately the LG position is also an area of concern. As Skins fans we just have to hold our breath and hope they get this situation resolved before September.
Thanks for checking out tje B&G Report! Stay Tuned For much more OTA, Player and Training Camp Updates/News!