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Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders


Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders

Victor Cruz is going from being nice, feel-good story to being someone who is getting to be, well, annoying.

He was an undrafted free agent whose first attempt to make the Giants was lost due to injury. Last year he broke through in spectacular fashion, catching 82 passes for 1536 yards and nine touchdowns and the Giants won the Super Bowl.

But then, he decided that this one season was great enough for him to write a book about it. Then he filmed the soup commercials, which are aggravating no matter who does them (looking at you, Donovan). And now the salsa dance he does after scoring a touchdown has become a “thing” to the point where NBC piped the dance music they play at the stadium into our TV speakers after Cruz scored against the Packers Sunday night.

And now he thinks he is some sort of NFL personnel evaluator.

When New York reporters asked him if the Redskins were legitimate contenders for the playoffs, he said this:

They’re still a couple pieces away from actually being a contender, them being in legitimate talks for playoffs and things like that. They’re still a few pieces away whether it be defensively or wherever they are missing some pieces.

He did go on to say that the Redskins are “in the conversation” for the playoffs but apparently that talk is not “legitimate” in his eyes.

The Redskins, as anyone who watches them can see, are not a team without flaws. They do have some major holes. But Cruz really has no business judging whether or not the Redskins are a complete team. They beat his team twice last year and were within a minute and change of beating them again this year. If they are “a few pieces away” then one might conclude that the Giants are missing a few vital parts as well.

In fact, they are. New York won the Super Bowl last year with a sub-mediocre offensive line and with linebackers and defensive backs who wouldn’t be starters for many other NFL teams. They ranked 27th in yards allowed, 25th in points allowed, and were the only Super Bowl champs ever to be outscored during the regular season. Nobody is saying that they are not “legitimate” champions.

The 2012 Redskins are not the 2011 Giants but they are only one game out of the playoffs and one game behind where New York was after 11 games last year. Again, if the Redskins are not legitimate then you have to wonder if the Giants are.

I’m not sure why Cruz would choose to talk down his team’s upcoming opponent. One can only hope that his words come back to haunt him. Perhaps then he will go back to being the happy, humble guy who was such a great story a year ago.

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Redskins Playbook: Josh Doctson steals the show on Day 1 of camp

Redskins Playbook: Josh Doctson steals the show on Day 1 of camp

Day 1 of training camp is in the books, and plenty of Redskins players proved they spent their summers staying in shape. Remember fans not to read too much into early training camp results, however, it's worth taking note of what is and is not looking good out there. 

Notes from the first day:

  • Josh Doctson stole the show in individual drills. He showed his precise blend of size and athleticism and repeatedly beat Bashaud Breeland on a variety of routes. The Doctson that showed up on Thursday is the Doctson the Redskins drafted in the first round last season, the same guy that dominated at TCU two seasons ago. If that guy shows up during the season, he will be a valuable weapon for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins.
  • I've written and talked extensively about wanting to see Jonathan Allen in camp doing 1v1 drills. Well, early, there wasn't much to watch. He was not getting the push many expected of a first-round pick. Then, after some conversations with Jim Tomsula, things turned for Allen. Late in the individual session, Allen was winning his matchups and tossing aside offensive linemen. I caught up with Allen after practice and asked him about his talk with Tomsula. Allen said he really appreciated the coach's approach, adding "it reminds me of Alabama."
  • Speaking of Tomsula, while he will likely be the assistant coach darling for fans with his amped up sideline demeanor, Torrian Gray appears to be the coach with the most to say. Gray gets fired up for his defensive backs in both team and individual drills, mixing in coaching with praise and enthusiasm.
  • Mo Harris catches everything.
  • Actually, the Redskins entire pass catching crew looked good on Thursday. In an unscientific study, I'm not sure a single pass got dropped. 
  • Mason Foster and Will Compton came out with the starting defense during team drills. Zach Brown did not. Something to monitor.
  • Bashaud Breeland looked sick yesterday, and ends up he was. He left practice early. Might have been part of Doctson beating him over and over, though the way Doctson was playing, it might not have. 
  • If the Redskins had a game tomorrow, Joey Mbu would start at nose tackle. I'd wager my car on that. A lot can happen between late July and early September, however. 
  • Martrell Spaight looks healthy. In fact, he almost ran me over on the sideline during team drills. 
  • Don't look now, but Matt Jones is getting work with the Redskins RBs. Don't be too quick to dismiss him, especially if an injury occurs. 
  • Talked with Anthony Lanier about his progression this offseason. He said Tomsula is a huge part of it, and described him as almost a 'father figure.' Good coaching helps, and the 'Skins D-line is getting it. 
  • Kendall Fuller had a good day of work. Two INTs. That deserves a bullet point.
  • If you're keeping track, and maybe you're not, Josh Norman appears to be winning the individual battles with Terrelle Pryor. The matchups are fun to watch, and it seems Norman goes out of his way to be matched with Pryor, wanting the best work he can get. 

Stay with CSN all day for plenty more information. Our social outlets are cranking out lots of cool stuff too, like this for example:

Also, daily podcasts from camp will be up each morning. Make sure to subscribe so they hit your phone for the AM commute. 


Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Play of the day: Doctson goes deep

Play of the day: Doctson goes deep

Each day during training camp, Redskins Insider Rich Tandler will pick out a play from practice to break down in some detail. The focus will be on plays that can give us some hints as to what we can look forward to this season.

RICHMOND—The Redskins were running a drill featuring one-on-one coverage with defensive backs and receivers. Josh Doctson was lined up wide left and Bashaud Breeland was covering him. As Doctson ran a go pattern he built some separation between himself and the defender. But the pass, which traveled about 40 yards downfield, was a little short and Breeland was able to knock it down.

Here is the end of that play, captured by USA Today Sports Images:

A few plays later, Doctson was up again. This time the cornerback was Quinton Dunbar. Doctson again got separation quickly and took off on the go pattern. This time the pass was on the money and Doctson hauled it in at almost the exact spot where he couldn’t get the handle on his previous play.

One camera was in the perfect spot to capture the play.

(Seeing this, I’m wondering if Doctson had control throughout the process of the catch as it came loose in the end zone. But who knows what a catch really is, right? In any case, we’re calling it a catch.)

When most fans think about what Doctson’s contribution might be this year, they think of him being a big target on third and six and catching passes in the red zone. However, the long ball will be part of his game as well.

RELATED: Redskins camp hot topics

Nobody will be looking for him to replace DeSean Jackson as the team’s deep threat. He ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, a respectable time but far from “blow the top off the defense” speed. However, he is quick enough to beat a cornerback off the line and his large catch radius can be an asset deep downfield as well as it can in tight traffic near the line of scrimmage.

Even if he doesn’t go deep often, if teams need to respect the long ball Doctson will find more room to operate underneath.

MORE REDSKINS: Live practice report, Day 1

Doctson appears to be fully healthy after being a non-factor as a rookie due to an Achilles injury. And last March he started seeing a specialist who he hopes will help keep him on the field.

“He just realigns my body, my hips, align my hips, make sure by back is all right,” said Doctson. “I was off balance a little bit, my right side was longer than my left and it starts to overcompensate, works hard and little things start to wind down and it was my Achilles that was affected by all of it.”

It’s been so far, so good with the new program.

“Nobody wants to be injured, ever,” said Doctson. “You want to be available for your teammates, for yourself, for the organization. This year is totally different, I don’t feel anything wrong with my body, so I’ll be ready to go.”

We still have a long grind to go before the start of the season so it’s perhaps premature to celebrate having a healthy Doctson on the field for games that count. But if he proves to be more versatile than many are thinking right now he could be a great asset to the offense and lots of fun to watch.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.