The Redskins will be celebrating their 80th anniversary season with throwback uniforms, a bus tour, and fan voting to expand the 70 greatest Redskins list that was established in 2002 to 80 names, among other events.The celebration plans, including the uniforms, were unveiled at an event in the teams new indoor practice bubble on Thursday night.We had some of the first pictures of the uniforms here last night. General Manager Bruce Allen said that the team would wear the uniforms for two home games. Although he said the specific games would be announced later, it is a good bet that one of them will be on Nov. 4 against the Panthers. That contest has been designated as the homecoming game and will feature a parade a team alumni and the introduction of the 10 additions to the greatest list.Fan voting for the additions to the anniversary team began last night at midnight at www.Redskins80th.com and will run for 80 days. Fans will be able to vote for players from the last 10 years plus administrators such as former general manager Bobby Beathard and assistant coaches such as legendary offensive line coach Joe Bugel.The bus tour will have stops in Maryland, Washington, and throughout Virginia. The schedule is available on the Redskins80th.com website.
An Achilles injury robbed Josh Doctson of the bulk of his rookie season with the Redskins. After a strenuous offseason spent rehabbing and a clean bill of health, Doctson is ready to fight back.
"It feels good to be back out here with them and to be playing football again," Doctson said Wednesday at Redskins OTAs (full video above). "It's what I’ve been doing for a long time, it's why I’m here. I'm good at what I do."
Sure it's May and there was no contact, but Doctson showed how good he can look on Wednesday. He caught a number of balls throughout the two hour session and looked smooth in his routes. The second-year pro from TCU makes cuts while maintaining speed and balance, and the skills allowed him to get open a number of times to haul in passes using soft hands.
"Right now, so far, so good," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."
Late in the OTA session, Colt McCoy found Doctson for a deep touchdown. While the sidelines erupted, Doctson just calmly jogged back to the line of scrimmage and talked with coaches.
Doctson explained that to "show my teammates, coaches and myself again that I can play with these guys, play at this level, it feels real good."
The Redskins will need the 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. Doctson this fall. With the exit of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards left the Washington offense. Free agent addition Terrelle Pryor will be expected to pick up a large chunk of that yardage, but Doctson will need to offset that loss as well.
"He’s been impressive. I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now. I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field," Gruden said.
Doctson described the pain in his Achilles as "pretty much non-existent now."
Never a good place to look for nuanced analysis, last season some social media speculation suggested Doctson was homesick dealing with his injury. That theory seems foolish, as the receiver spent the entire offseason in Ashburn, working out and rehabbing.
"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy," he said. "I got after it every day. It’s a tribute to my hard work why I'm feeling so feeling healthy."
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On Monday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that even though there have been a lot of changes to his team’s defense, there would be no grace period for them to gel and start playing effectively.
“We have a new defensive coordinator, new defensive line coach, new secondary coach,” said Gruden. “We have some new players on defense, some free agent acquisitions, some draft picks. They’re going to have to learn on the fly and learn to play together, which is going to be the biggest challenge for us.
“I don’t think patience is in the dictionary here in D.C. We have to be good now.”
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The defense had plenty of issues last year. They were 19th in points allowed but 28th in yards and 20th in opponents’ passer rating. The unit saved its worst for the most critical situations, finishing 26th in red zone defense and dead last in third-down conversion rate.
The organization responded by promoting Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator, hiring the well-regarded Jim Tomsula to coach the defensive line, and by bringing in some more talent. Their top two draft picks, DE Jonathan Allen and OLB Ryan Anderson, should contribute to the defense right away. D.J. Swearinger was signed as a free agent to man the free safety spot while Su’a Cravens moves from linebacker to play strong safety. Free agents Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee should bolster the defensive line along with Allen.
Cornerback Josh Norman likes the changes and is confident that the team will do better.
“We will be [good]. Fixed points, will be,” he said. “We’ve got guys that’s capable of being that, of doing that. They will do that and we will be better. We’re definitely not going to have the product that we had last year, that’s for sure.
“We’ve got . . . edge rushers out here that’s pretty darn good. We got some guys in the draft that’s going to help us out. In the secondary as well, we brought guys in that’s going to fill that void for us.”
MORE REDSKINS: OTA practice observations
In addition to drafting Anderson, the Redskins hope to have OLB Junior Galette healthy and contributing to the pass rush this year. He has missed the last two seasons after two Achilles injuries. The last two seasons that Galette played he had double-digit sacks each year and he was out participating in team drills yesterday, a good sign that he is on the road to good health.
“We’re going to be a whole lot better than we was last year,” said Norman. “The stuff they have us going, the scheme we’re going to be playing in is going to fit to what suits us, what we’re most capable of doing. I think it’s going to be a lot different result, the product on the field.”
A better defensive product on the field will almost certainly lead to a better overall Washington Redskins team. They will need to be better to keep up with what looks to be an improved and very competitive NFC East.