A season ago, Dezmon Briscoe was a young NFL player whose career was on the rise.Right now, hes just trying to land a job.Briscoe caught six touchdown passes for the Buccaneers in 2011, but was waived late last month after reportedly failing a conditioning test. Twenty-four hours later, the 22-year-old found himself on the Redskins, hoping to snag one of the final spots.Once you get cut, you want to prove that the other team was wrong as well as everybody that feels that this guy slacked off in the offseason and is out of shape, which is not true at all, he said this week. I guess I wasnt fitting in their program and they made their decision. Im okay with it. Im just trying to seize my opportunity now.Asked about his goals for the upcoming season, Briscoe was humble.Big break out year? he said, shrugging. I dont want to go that far with it. Right now Im just trying to make the team and get a job.Although Briscoe was not targeted in the Redskins preseason-opening victory in Buffalo, he has impressed Coach Mike Shanahan with his playmaking ability in practice. Secondary coach Raheem Morris, who was the Bucs head coach last season, likely played a role in convincing Shanahan to take a chance on Briscoe.You can see he is a football player, Shanahan said. He has made plays throughout training camp and practice, and he will get a chance.That chance could arrive Saturday in Chicago. And, if it does, Briscoe said hes had enough time to familiarize himself with Shanahans offense and will be ready.My comfort level is very high, Briscoe said of learning the Redskins offense on a truncated schedule. I go out there confident, knowing that I know what to do and put good stuff on film.Coaches are critiquing everything, whether its a key block or a big catch, he added. Youre just trying to do the little things to surprise the coaches.Briscoe is battling Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson and Terrence Austin for the final two spots on the Redskins roster at wide receiver. The others also contribute on special teams; Briscoe does not. Which means the Texas native must prove himself to be a superior pass-catcher in order to claim a spot.Two things are working in Briscoes favor: at 6 foot 2, 210 pounds, hes bigger than his competition, and he caught more touchdowns last season than the others have combined in their careers.I think my height is probably my biggest thing, Briscoe said. Me and Leonard Hankerson are the biggest receivers we have. So that helps me out a lot.After having a limited role against the Bills, Briscoe knows hes got to start showing what he can do in games. But hes not sweating it yet.We got three games left, he said. I still got a little more playing time this preseason. Thats my opportunity and I have to take advantage of it.
There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans.
Doctson looks ready pic.twitter.com/opUrNtdInQ— ceroy (@ceroy16) February 23, 2017
Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.
His rookie year, however, was a different matter.
The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.
A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.
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This story originally published on January 4, but has fresh relevence as the Redskins are running out of time to decide what to do with Kirk Cousins.
Pending contract talks with Kirk Cousins will not only impact the Redskins salary cap, they will also impact the desire of free agent wide receivers looking to join the Burgundy and Gold.
That's the word from multiple sources as Washington brass again enters negotiations with Cousins after he played the 2016 season under the franchise tag.
It's understandable why receivers want to see what unfolds at QB for the Redskins.
With Cousins, the Redskins run a dynamic, pass-first offense capable of moving the ball among the best teams in the league. Should Cousins leave via free agency, it's unknown what happens for Jay Gruden's 2017 offense.
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While it seems likely Cousins would at least return for 2017 under another franchise tag, if that doesn't happen, would the team turn to backup Colt McCoy? Bring in a veteran starter to compete with McCoy? Has rookie Nate Sudfeld developed to a point where he could compete? Questions like these make for uneasy conversations among wideouts looking at options.
The Redskins not only need to make decisions with their own free agent receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, but the team also has shown interest in free agent Kenny Britt, recently of the Rams. Sources indicate Britt would be interested in Washington if Cousins is the quarterback, but the 29-year-old has at least seven other interested teams should the Redskins QB situation not get resolved before free agency opens.
Jackson's return to Washington seems unlikely, as he will probably command more money than Garçon or Britt.
ESPN's John Keim reported that Garçon will not play for less than the $7.6 million he made this season, and sources have said Britt expects to make anywhere from $8 million to $12 million per season in a multi-year deal.
All three pass-catchers had strong seasons in 2016, all eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark. Among the trio, Britt is two years younger than Garçon and Jackson, who will both turn 31 this season, and bigger. Britt goes 6-foot-3 while Garçon is 6-foot and Jackson 5-foot-10. Neither Britt nor Garçon can touch Jackson's speed, and few players in the NFL can match Garçon's toughness.
That said, Britt raised eyebrows around the NFL getting to 1,000 yards on an awful Rams team that suffered with poor quarterback play and a prehistoric offensive system.
Another franchise tag for Cousins would not necessarily solve the Redskins issue with free agent receivers, at least long-term. Like all players, wideouts want multi-year deals, and a 2017 tag on Cousins makes it highly possible that Washington needs a new quarterback in 2018.
Fans need to deal with the possibility that neither Jackson nor Garçon could return to Washington. It might not happen, but it certainly could. Much of that will be determined by money, but the contract status of Cousins will be a factor.
For wideouts, Washington is an attractive destination with Cousins. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.
Without him, the landscape looks quite different.