By Jakob Vaughan
The Washington Redskins began camp this past Thursday in Richmond. The players arrived to a large crowd that was there to show their support. The team started the week off by being ranked 4th for most valuable franchise in the NFL, by Forbes. Along with being the 4th most valuable franchise in the NFL, the Redskins made their backup quarterback Colt McCoy a valuable piece to their future with a contract extension. The deal is worth 7 million and the quarterback told the media that there is no other place he’d rather be than with the Redskins. Friday, during training camp, Redskins’ first round pick Daron Payne was injured when his ankle was stepped on but another player. He will be out 2-3 weeks with an ankle injury. The run stopping rookie will be missing out on valuable reps in training camp and in preseason action that starts August 9th.
Other notable Redskins injuries: linebacker Ryan Anderson left the field with the help of trainers due to back spasms, running back Rob Kelly also ended practice early die to heat-related symptoms and cornerback Joshua Holsey “severed” his toe during practice. Veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick was rumored to have missed a day due to back spasms, but he said that was not the case and took a veteran off day.
The Alex Smith to Jamison Crowder connection continues to get stronger every day of practice as the two are starting to gain chemistry. The goal in training camp was to get the wide receiver core on the same page with newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith. All throughout training camp Alex Smith has been airing it out and showing his teammates he is a gunslinger and isn’t scared of making a big play when the team needs it. Jamison Crowder has been that consistent deep target threat for Alex Smith during 7-on7 and 11-on-11 drills. Rookie running back Derrius Guice has reached and surpassed all of his high expectations that were set for the second round pick out of LSU. Guice has impressed the coaching staff out of the back field catching a lot of passes from Alex Smith that are behind blockers and out on the flats, so expect him to receive a lot of touches in 2018. The first 3 days of camp the running backs have split the majority of the reps given, but Guice and Kelly have been seeing the most 1st team reps and Marshall, Perine and Bibbs have been on the 2nd team. Veteran players are looking to make an impact this year for a young Redskins team that is in need of leaders.
There’s no one better to take the leadership role and run with it than cornerback Josh Norman who is entering his 7th year in the NFL and is the highest paid at his position. Norman says he is ready the embrace his role as a teacher on and off the field, while making sure he stays extremely focused on tuning his craft as a lock down cornerback. Tight end Jordan Reed is looking forward to getting onto the field in 2018 and staying there, after battling multiple injuries in the last few years. Coaches and players both have all been raving about Jordan Reed as he has returned to practice much more explosive in his routes and making his presence felt stronger.
As for the running backs in training camp they are all young and looking to make a name for themselves. The team has opened a 3 way running back competition this off-season between Guice, Kelly and Perine. Last year’s starting running back in Chris Thompson is still looking to get back to 100 percent, after suffering a broken fibula late in the season last year. The running back depth chart is full of talent, but at the end of the day there are too many running backs in the backfield for the Redskins. With that being said the Redskins could have to make a business decision and place either running backs in Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley on the trading block. That is a story to look out for as training camp continues, competition heats up and preseason games start. All eyes are locked in on August 9th when the team travels to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots.