The Redskins completed the fourth day of training camp today, and heading into a day off on Monday, they’ve ended on a high note.
A fair warning: All positive news in Washington Redskins training camp comes through the training camp filter. Players aren’t necessarily going full speed, the team mixes up players from team to team, full pads aren’t being used, and the violence of contact is greatly diluted.
By extension, negative developments aren’t as bad as they seem, particularly for younger players; training camp is the time to test one’s bounds and learn. Progression over time is the most important aspect of training camp, and for a roster saturated with youth like Washington, that progression, or lack thereof, bears more weight.
That’s why today’s training camp session was such a delightful surprise.
Here are some key takeaways from the Redskins fourth day of training camp, gathered from across the web:
- By all accounts, Dwayne Haskins took his game to new heights today. NBC Sports’ J.P. Finlay was one of many to call today’s session Haskins’ best day, and said that “the switch might have flipped” for the rookie. Haskins was reportedly loose and sharp, all in one, enjoying himself with his team mates, but throwing dimes with the first team as well. Craig Hoffman reported that Haskins threw four touchdowns in one red zone period, and Haskins appears to be growing more comfortable with audibles as well.
- All of the quarterbacks have had their moments, but Haskins’ progression is the most notable. Through four days, he’s already shown tangible growth, and if he starts to separate himself from Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, the quarterback battle won’t be much of a battle anymore. Haskins still has a ways to go, in terms of consistency, and development isn’t necessarily linear. But he has the most potential and natural talent out of the group, and if he eventually proves to be ready, there’ll be no reason to keep him off the field.
- One factor that might be a catalyst for Haskins’ early development? Alex Smith. The veteran has been present in quarterback meetings and on the sideline, and per Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic, Smith has had a “calming influence” on the Redskins quarterbacks. The veteran mentor has a good track record as a teacher, and it seems as if his presence, along with two other veterans, is contributing positively to Haskins’ growth.
- This was yesterday, but it deserves a mention here: Derrius Guice, who’s had a good camp so far as well, stayed after practice for an hour to throw the football to fans. He became a fan favorite before even playing a down last year, and he’s on the same track in 2019. He’s an infectious personality who just might contribute to a surprise resurgence for the Redskins offense.
- The Redskins newest running back, Shawn Wilson, is pretty shifty, and he shows excellent acceleration out of his cuts. He was signed a few days ago, after spending his rookie season as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers. If he provides utility as a receiver and returner, he could be a sleeper to nab a practice squad spot, at the very least.
- The jury’s still out on who the Redskins starters will be on the outside, but Jay Gruden said today that Trey Quinn has essentially locked down the starting slot receiver position, per ESPN’s John Keim. Quinn himself wasn’t happy to hear Gruden say that; he’s cherished the Mr. Irrelevant label earned last offseason, and wants to keep a chip on his shoulder, as Keim shared. Quinn may have only caught nine balls last season, but as Craig Hoffman said, all Quinn does is get open and catch footballs. His route nuance was praised two days ago, and in a middling position group, it appears as though he’s starting to set himself apart.
- While Quinn has been most consistent, and has a starting job locked up, plenty of other players have shined. Terry McLaurin continues to show impressive quickness and focus at the catch point. Robert Davis high-pointed a deep pass from Case Keenum, showing off his transcendent athleticism, and his reassuring good health. Cam Sims has made a few leaping grabs, Steven Sims and T.J. Rahming have shown off their respective quickness, and Kelvin Harmon’s given Josh Norman a run for his money on a few snaps. Even Josh Doctson’s gotten in on the fun, showing a little more quickness in his routes. It’s been said multiple times, but this group, while unproven, has a good amount of potential.
- Donald Parham may have been signed after being cut by the Lions, but with the Redskins thin tight end group, he could break out onto the scene. His 6-foot-8 frame undeniably makes him stand out, and if the Redskins decide to keep four tight ends, he could sneak onto the roster. The practice squad still seems like the most likely destination, but if he keeps making plays, the team will have to pay attention.
- Most people have assumed that Shaun Dion Hamilton and Jon Bostic will be the Redskins starting linebackers, but Cole Holcomb took some first team reps alongside Hamilton today. It’s not a huge deal, as the Redskins like to mix things up often, and give players chances. But Jay Gruden is on the record gushing about Holcomb, alluding to Holcomb’s speed and tenacity. The rookie could be a rotational contributor on defense.
- The Redskins seem to be scheming ways to dial up pressure, but not necessarily with their front seven. Landon Collins and Montae Nicholson have been assigned blitzes frequently by Ray Horton in early camp sessions, per Rhiannon Walker. Collins is already a homing missile in the box, and Nicholson can be dangerous with his length and speed. He’s in a better place this year, mentally, and his new opportunity could lead to exciting gains on defense.
The Redskins take a well-deserved day off tomorrow and then resume training camp activities on Tuesday. The first preseason game for Washington is on August 8, against the Cleveland Browns. Be sure to stick with us here at Riggo’s Rag as the Redskins near that crucial juncture!