A lot has been made this week about Jay Gruden choosing to start second year running back Derrius Guice over future Hall of Famer and 2018 Redskins team MVP Adrian Peterson. When the news broke that Jay’s offense would run through Guice, some fans were ecstatic, while others felt AP deserved the right to start based on his past accomplishments.
The fact is, the best guys should play. If the coaches feel Guice gives this team the best chance to win, then fans should support the decision.
In the past, we have seen some questionable coaching decisions from this team regarding former players who maybe should not have been on the field over other more promising players.
We saw the Kory Lichtensteiger and Will Montgomery years. We witnessed the Madieu Williams debacle(can’t believe there wasn’t a street free agent better than he was). Everyone would hold their breath when Ryan “the Practice Hero” Grant was thrown to in big spots of games. Even the Will Compton era was very hard to watch.
Was it the reluctance of the coaching staff to play other guys who may not have been as familiar with the scheme over the proven vets, or was it because they simply were the best we had at the time?
It seems now that a significant youth movement is underway, and this coaching staff is not afraid to play the guys they view as having significantly more upside and talent over more established veterans.
Below is a look at some of these scenarios, a few of which have already been decided, and others that will play out during the season.
Case Keenum vs. Dwayne Haskins Jr. - I like the decision early on to start Keenum over the rookie, but I don’t expect it to take long for Haskins to claim the starting spot. He outplayed Keenum in preseason games, and clearly has the highest ceiling and lowest floor of any quarterback on the roster.
Derrius Guice vs. Adrian Peterson - This decision seems to have already been made. Gruden said in his press conference that his offense should run through Guice, and that’s the way it should be. This is meant as no disrespect to Peterson and all he’s accomplished throughout his career, but running backs have a short shelf life in the NFL, and Guice has already missed his rookie year because of injury. His time is now!
Terry McLaurin vs. Josh Doctson - This is another obvious choice that has already been made. Cutting Doctson was the best decision this team has made at wide receiver in years. Josh wasn’t in the team’s future plans, and McLaurin was a very pleasant surprise this training camp as a rookie. To put it simply, McLaurin has a future here - Doctson obviously did not. Terry can play all three of the wide receiver spots, and also contributes on special teams(something else Doctson did not do). His future here is bright!
Wes Martin vs. Ereck Flowers - It’s only a matter of time before Martin claims the starting left guard spot. I watched the rookie in every preseason game, and although I publicly said I didn’t feel he was ready to open the season as the starter, he’s not that far off. Now, i’m not ready to write Flowers off completely, as this is the first time he’s played guard in his career, and I did see some good things on film, but there still are a lot of inconsistencies and bad habits in his game, and those may keep him from any long-term success.
Montez Sweat vs. Ryan Anderson - Sweat got off to a slow start this summer due to some nagging injuries and adjusting to the speed of the game, but he flashed, and when he did, you could see the talent. Ryan Anderson is entering his third season in the NFL, and he’s yet to put it all together. Besides that, he’s a very limited athlete with a low ceiling, and may best be suited for a backup role while he’s a Redskin. Sweat needs to be integrated into the starting defense sooner rather than later.
Cole Holcomb vs. Jon Bostic - Bostic is a savvy veteran with a limited athletic profile, while Holcomb is an athletic freak who needs to adjust to the speed of the game, while learning how to take on plays at the point of attack. What Bostic does have over Holcomb is the knowledge and ability to call the defense. If Shaun Dion Hamilton or Holcomb can eventually take on that responsibility, Bostic may be relegated to backup, as Cole is the more complete linebacker in today’s NFL.
Jimmy Moreland vs. Every Starting CB - Moreland was overlooked during the draft process due to his size and where he played his college football(James Madison). We all saw however, what type of player he is this summer. The kid simply makes plays! Despite his 5’10” 185 pound frame, he tackles well, has the speed and quickness to stick on receivers and the ball skills to make plays. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field on either the outside or in the slot.
Jeremy Reaves vs. Troy Apke - This one doesn’t carry the significance as the others, as both players are listed as backups, but Reaves clearly outplayed Apke this summer, and if one has to come into the game due to injury or personnel packages, I hope the staff gives Reaves the nod over the former fourth round pick whos athletic profile comes no where near his playing ability.