Jay Gruden has, for much of his life, lived in his older brother Jon's shadow — first as a football player, now as a football coach. In the end, Jay's hope is that he will be remembered for one trait his brother recognized on a humbling summer afternoon long ago. Jay wants to be a winner.
Washington Redskins 2014
The latest news and analysis of the 2014 Washington Redskins season.
By Zac Boyer - The Washington Times
It seemed to be a matter of when, not if, the college-style offense took over the professional game, with four youngsters seemingly representing the new breed. Now, not even two years later, those four have encountered a series of obstacles that have dimmed their once-bright futures. Published November 20, 2014
Jackson, a three-time Pro-Bowler and one of the fastest receivers in the league, is a curiosity. He has a chance to redefine his public persona while with the Redskins. Silence and touchdowns can help get him there. It's unclear if he cares to.
"He's got to have a trust factor that the drop is going to match the receiver's depth and all that stuff," Gruden said. "He's got to let some things fly. He's just a little bit hesitant right now, which is normal with some new concepts."
Kotwica's job has changed since 2004, but he brings the same approach and attitude to coaching that he brought to his role as an officer in places such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Korea and Iraq: Technical expertise. Meticulous attention to detail. Open communication. And above all else, a type of firm, confident demeanor befitting a military veteran.
However one describes it, two things are clear: Jay Gruden, as he has often tried to do, has tailored it to his players' strengths. And, come its full reveal for Washington's regular-season opener on Sunday at Houston, it won't look much different from what the previous coaching staff strung together in recent years.
The first step in changing structure and vibe is swapping out leaders. So, the Redskins started there. Mike Shanahan's stern, veteran approach was replaced by Jay Gruden's more open and self-deprecating style. The Redskins hope that modifies on-field results.
It's not that I crave additional coverage of Cleveland's much-ballyhooed backup QB. There's already been more than enough for no good reason. Johnny Football has morphed into Johnny Ad Nauseam. But that's not as sickening as the ticky-tacky penalties officials called on seemingly every pass attempt in August.
Maybe the Gruden-Griffin pairing just needs time, which is fine for a first-year head coach and a young quarterback over the course of a season and beyond. But as a fantasy option, you're just digging yourself a hole if you're counting on Griffin right away.
Sunday marks a new beginning — an opportunity, beginning with a road game in Houston, for Griffin to truly move on from the experiences that have bogged down his past.
Despite facing the longest of odds throughout training camp — six running backs were with the team, and only three were likely to make it — Redd had made it, the third running back behind starter Alfred Morris and backup Roy Helu.
Thursday marked the Redskins' final preseason game, leaving roughly two dozen players with one final shot to state their case for making the team to the coaching staff. Redd, an undrafted running back, kept one thought fresh in his mind during a 24-10 victory over the Buccaneers: No negative plays.
After a preseason in which Davis has had a chance to make his case, his final judgment is pending. One respite: The recent suspension of starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather for the first two games of the season should give Davis a greater chance of sticking.
Special teams is often regarded as a proving ground for undrafted rookies, but it also gives veterans like Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward an opportunity to continue their careers.
In his debut with Washington, Jason Hatcher records a sack and is the catalyst for the team's strong defensive showing in Baltimore.
The Redskins will assess a team where the defensive starters finished the preseason displaying a formidable rush and potential. Yet, the offense was roundly ineffective during their longest preseason outing with the opener just more than two weeks away.
Exactly where do they stand? Here's an educated guess at what the roster might look like as the Redskins enter their Week 1 game at Houston.
Hoffman spent five seasons at Brigham Young University, graduating last year as the most prolific receiver in the program's 91-year history. But at a school where 98.5 percent of the student body belongs to the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hoffman was a religious foreigner.
Progress from what, exactly? The quarterback who threw 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions in his record-breaking rookie season? The one who played on one leg last year, with just one receiver and an offensive line that leaked like a sieve, still managed to throw 16 touchdown passes and 3,200 yards in 13 games?
Despite an up-and-down training camp that has revealed plenty of struggles among all three of the Redskins' quarterbacks, offensive coordinator Sean McVay emphatically insisted Monday that Griffin is and will be the team's starter.
The Redskins are using Murphy the same way Stanford did. He's a pass-rushing defensive end/linebacker hybrid. In one instance during Sunday's walk-through, he was among a front four that included Brian Orakpo on the outside right, with Jason Hatcher and Ryan Kerrigan on the interior.
The injuries are piling up for the Washington Redskins. Veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall left practice early Sunday and linebacker Brian Orakpo did not participate.
The competition for kicker is still in its infancy, but the rookie won the first battle, converting both of his field goals and even recording a tackle on a kickoff return.
Rookie running backs have a chance in preseason to show they are capable of filling the role of third-string back for the Redskins. Seastrunk runs outside, Redd inside, each fighting to make their first NFL team.
Griffin played only 10 snaps Thursday against the Patriots, leaving the game with 12:48 remaining in the first quarter having completed two of his four pass attempts for nine yards.
Washington's star offseason acquisition limped off the practice field with an ankle injury and could join Pierre Garcon, Ryan Clark and Phillip Thomas as those who will sit out Thursday's game against the Patriots.
Five questions heading into the Redskins' Thursday night preseason opener against the Patriots at FedEx Field.
The challenge, of course, will be for the Redskins safety to stay on the field. Though he's professed numerous times a desire to change his tackling habits — he's racked up more than $127,000 in fines from the league over the years — doing so will be another issue.
While practicing with the Patriots, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has had the opportunity to learn from two-time MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
It may be just a preseason game, but Thursday night at FedEx Field is the first time we will officially see the unchained Washington Redskins when they face the New England Patriots.
The heir to London Fletcher's throne, the 16-year veteran finally abdicated in January, giving Robinson a clear path toward a starting role. That is, assuming Robinson can stay healthy.