The Washington Redskins open 2019 training camp in Richmond Thursday with a number of questions, a missing left tackle, a quarterback competition, and a coach on the hot seat.
Just another Redskins training camp.
Jay Gruden opened camp by touching on a number of topics, including the biggest question on everybody’s mind: Have you spoken to Trent Williams?
“I have not,” said Gruden. “I’m concentrating on guys that are here. We know how we feel about Trent and how important he is to this football team and we expect him here sooner than later.”
Gruden went on to say he doesn’t take it personally that Williams isn’t in camp, despite the number of years they have worked together.
“There are some things he has to work out personally, individually with his agent. Professionally, whatever it might be, I don’t take anything personal in this business for sure. Love Trent, love what he’s done for this franchise and this team and we expect him back soon,” he said.
Practices will be altered while Williams is out, according to Gruden,
“We have to adjust and get guys ready to play,” he said. “It’s a great for other guys.”
As far Gruden is concerned, he enters his sixth year at the helm of the Redskins, having missed the playoffs the last two years. He has a rookie quarterback he is tasked with developing and the pressure to get back to the postseason. He knows what is expected of him.
“I think this is the greatest coaching job in pro sports, and it’s an honor to be the head coach of the Redskins,” Gruden said.
“With that comes great expectations and we haven’t lived up to them the last couple years. Performance is king. Our record is what you are, and last two years we were 7-9. You have to win to keep your job and we have to get it turned it around. Mr. Snyder has given be a great opportunity to coach this franchise for five years, going on six, and I have reason to believe we have a great football team and we are onto something special here.”
It’s not necessarily a foregone conclusion that Gruden would be out of a job without a playoff berth. There may be scenarios where he could stay without making the postseason. A lot will depend on how Dwayne Haskins develops and his working relationship with the head coach.
If there is another 7-9 or 8-8 finish and things are going in the right direction, then Gruden could return. If he endures a 3-13 season, then all bets are off.
The team did make some news yesterday when they released leading tackler from last year, Mason Foster. The veteran had been with the team for four years and one of the leaders on the defense. Why now?
“There’s no real good timing to release a player like that,” Gruden said. “He was a good player for us, great player for us. Led the team in tackles. But we feel really good about the youth we have at linebacker. Adding [Jon] Bostic helped a lot.”
As far injuries go, Gruden said quarterback Colt McCoy and running back Derrius Guice have been cleared to practice and will not be limited at all during camp.
Alex Smith will be on the PUP list following a severely broken leg last season. Gruden’s expectations of his veteran quarterback appear to be mostly off the field as he rehabilitates.
“His job is to come in here and help in any capacity he sees fit to do so,” said Gruden. “I think having his influence and leadership in the QB room will be beneficial. But the most important thing for me and the organization is for Alex to get well.”
With Colt McCoy being cleared to play that means that the competition between McCoy, Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins will be in full force. It will be tough to divide up reps and give them a chance, but Gruden said he will get it done and the number for each will be very close. It does help that McCoy has been in the system for a few years, but Keenum is new and Haskins is a rookie.
This will obviously be one of the big competitions to watch all throughout camp.
Norman jumps over a bull
The zinger of the opening day news conference had to be when Gruden was asked about his pro bowl corner Josh Norman, who jumped over a bull two weeks ago in Pamplona.
“I knew the bull wouldn’t hit him,” he said. “Josh avoids contact.”
After the entire room started laughing, Gruden said, “Just kidding Josh!”
Buckle up, the ride begins Thursday morning at 9:45 a.m.
Follow along as George Wallace covers training camp in this WTOP live blog.