The Washington Redskins are a team in transition as they start the first few days of mandatory mini-camp. The Redskins have replaced two 1,000-yard receivers (DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon) and the entire defensive line from a year ago. That alone is enough to raise some concern for the team as the summer months inch closer.
While the moves on the defensive side of the ball could be considered a major improvement, question marks still surround the Redskins offensive weapons heading into 2017. Those questions will likely remain until the season starts and the Redskins offensive can show what they are capable of. The early thought is that while the long-ball may have taken a hit with the loss of Jackson, the team’s red-zone issues should improve now that they have made a concerted effort to get taller at the receiver position. Just two seasons ago Pierre Garcon was Washington’s tallest receiver at 6-0, now the Redskins can count the number of receivers smaller than that on a couple of fingers, including a roster with seven receivers over 6-foot-2.
No matter what the rest of the roster looks like, Washington’s offense begins and ends with tight end Jordan Reed. Reed’s combination of size and athletic ability is unmatched in the NFL, his moves are comparable to that of an NBA player. The Redskins are once again counting on Reed to be their top target this season, and on the first day of mini-camp, after not attending voluntary workouts, he didn’t disappoint those in attendance.
On one drive Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw seven passes, all but one went to Reed and Jamison Crowder. Reed is literally the ultimate security blanket for Gruden’s offense, he made the team’s linebackers look like college players on Tuesday scoring two touchdowns. According to Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, Reed ‘looked good’ on his first day back at Redskins Park.
“Jordan had a pretty good day; he had about 11 catches [chuckling]. You just feel good seeing Trent over there at left tackle. We’ve had guys step up without them, but it’s great to see them. It’s great to see the whole group back. Matt Jones had a couple of catches today and did some good things. To get everybody out here working, getting them on the same page, sweating, running, getting some situational work in, getting some good football in before the break was good.”
In the past few seasons, Reed’s health has been a major concern as he’s only started 23 out of a possible 46 games, and has missed 18 opportunities to dress on gameday due to injuries issues. In that same amount of time, he’s also pulled in 248 catches for 2,602 yards and 20 touchdowns. That production led Washington into giving him a big raise last season. Reed’s contract, 5 years, $46.75 million, guarantees him $22 million and a spot on the Redskins roster until 2021. Reed’s annual salary is $9,350,000, which is the third most per season average by NFL tight ends.
Second-year receiver Josh Doctson continues his road back to the playing field as he was able to practice without any limitations Tuesday. The Redskins have high hopes for Doctson in 2017 and hope he can deliver on the first-round pick the team spent on him last year. With Washington replacing two starters at the position, Doctson is looking his best opportunity to succeed in the NFL in the face right now. With veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball, a healthy Doctson should flourish in Jay Gruden’s offense.
The Redskins will be back on the field at Redskins Park Wednesday for the final on-field minicamp practice before wrapping up this session of practices on Thursday.
In Other News
Washington announced Tuesday morning that the new Senior Vice President of Player Personnel would be former quarterback Doug Williams. Williams has been working with the Redskins front office since 2014 and is a veteran of 20 NFL seasons, including nine as a player and 11 in scouting/personnel roles. He spent five seasons as Personnel Executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2004-08 before being named the team’s Director of Pro Personnel for the 2009 season. Doug is also one of the 80 Greatest Redskins and a member of the Ring of Fame at FedEx Field in Maryland.
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