Now that the NFL Draft is over, college free agents have been signed and tryout players have been invited, all that’s left for the Redskins’ 2019 rookie group is to convene in Ashburn, Va., and begin to play football again.
“We just want to see them go out there and do what they do, let them shine,” head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday at the Redskins’ Fifth Annual Charity Golf Classic.
Not just the draft picks, he clarified.
The Redskins will have 68 players working out together starting Friday, a mixture of 10 draft picks, eight signed college free agents and 50 tryout players. It’s a lot of action to watch for the coaching staff, but it’s a helpful to see if anyone pops out of the blur of a weekend.
“We have to give them an opportunity and see what they can do and how they can help this football team become better,” Gruden said.
Understandably, a weekend is not ample time to fully evaluate a player’s value and potential. It does provide a glimpse, though, at some of the raw talent the coaching staff will look to refine and strengthen over the ensuing months and into training camp.
For Gruden, the weekend is an opportunity to see who is ready for the next stage of their career by observing practice habits, information retention and attitude.
“You have to be patient with them, but you want to challenge them too,” Gruden said. “See how they can handle it. This is not for everybody, pro football, and some realize quickly that they might be in the wrong profession. But a lot of them will shine and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking to challenge them mentally and get out there and let us see what they can do physically.”
How does a player shine? A lot of that relies on transferring the classroom studies to the field.
“Some of them rush the passer, some of them protect the passer, some of them run routes, some of them are covering them,” Gruden said. “So the big thing is mentally how they handle it, and if they can transfer what they learned in the classroom on the field in a short amount of time and still offer us a skillset that we can physically work with in training camp.”
Take a look at photos from the fourth day of Phase 2 offseason workouts for the 2019 Washington Redskins.
This year will have a different air to it, as all eyes will be on first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The challenge will be managing expectations for him and making sure to stay patient with his development.
“It’s exciting,” Gruden said. “Everybody wants to try to push him along rather quickly. But still, he’s a rookie and we want to give him a set of plays he’s comfortable with and get him out there to throw the ball and set his feet and see what he has. It’s very exciting. Receivers, with Terry [McLaurin] and Kelvin [Harmon] it will be fun to watch them. Obviously, the linebackers we got, the pass rushers we added, it’s going to be a fun group to watch.”
After all the chatter about his skillset, Haskins will finally have a chance to show his new coaches where he stands this weekend, what adjustments need to be made and offer a peek at what could be a long-lasting relationship in Washington.
“The mental part of it is the big thing,” Gruden said. “Physically he’s got all the tools without a doubt. But still, there’s some things we need to clean up footwork-wise and all that stuff. But for only playing one year, he’s pretty far along as far as fundamentals are concerned based on at Ohio State that one year. We’ll just wait and see. Some guys you can push along harder than others, some guys you might want to be a little more patient with. We have no idea of knowing until we get them in the building.”