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Ranking the Redskins rookies in competition for punt & kickoff return jobs thru two preseason games IntroductionOn the 1st of June , we took a look at the Redskins options for returners as we headed into camp.That article identified Greg Stroman, Trey Quinn and Darvin Kidsy as rookies who had experience as punt returners in college.It added Danny Johnson and Martez Carter as rookies who had experience returning kickoffs.In this article, we will look at the young players who have actually returned punts and kickoffs in the fist two preseason games; we will rank the returns from best to worst, and see what that tells us about the players involved and implications for the Redskins’ return game in 2018.Punt returnsPatriots - Preseason Week 1Three players — Greg Stroman, Maurice Harris and Danny Johnson — split punt return duties, as Stroman went back to receive three of the Patriots’ five punts, and Harris and Johnson returned one each.Jets - Preseason Week 2In the second preseason game against the Jets, Trey Quinn impressed with two positive punt returns for the Redskins, while Danny Johnson was the only player who returned punts in Week 1 to repeat as a punt returner in Week 2.In all, Stroman led with 3 returns, Quinn and Johnson returned two punts each, and Mo Harris had one.Kickoff returnsThere were only four Redskin kickoff returns in the first two preseason games — two by Byron Marshall and two by Darvin Kidsy — and only one of them was really successful.Marshall had the one good kickoff return, while Kidsy gave the coaches two more reasons not to put him on the final 53-man roster at the end of the month.Ranking and reviewingThis article aims to review those punt and kickoff returns and try to sort out who is winning the competition (and who might be falling behind) through the first two preseason games.Coaches and personnel guys will be cutting the roster from 90 to 53 players in about wo weeks.Typically, going into the third preseason game, coaches like to have a lot of the roster decisions already made.Has anyone locked down the jobs of punt returner (or backup, if coaches decide to stick with Jamison Crowder as the return man) or kick returner?Reuniting with Gibbs4potusThree months ago, I published a profile on every Redskin undrafted free agent.In that series of articles, the heavy lifting was done by Gibbs4potus (@westcoast_skins), who spent a lot of time to do detailed film study of every UDFA that the Redskins had under contract in May.For this article — and for two more that will follow prior to Friday’s game against the Broncos — I again enlisted Gibbs4potus to do the hard work of looking at the two preseason games — play-by-play — in order to analyze the individual performances of the Redskin players who are competing for roster spots.Note: While the conception of the article was to focus on the rookies in camp, a couple of players with limited veteran experience, Byron Marshall and Maurice Harris, have been included, since they were involved in the return game against the Patriots and Jets.Today’s article focuses on the return game, but two more articles will follow in the coming days: one focused on running backs, and the other on receivers.Let’s see what Gibbs4potus had to say following his detailed film review of the Redskins return game.The analysis of Redskin rookie returners by Gibbs4potusThis analysis starts by ranking the 12 returns by Redskins rookies (plus Marshall & Harris) in the first two preseason games.#1 - The BEST return of the preseason to-dateTrey Quinn punt return, Jets game,3rd Quarter, 7:37 on the clock Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images#2 - Stroman’s first punt return as a Redskin versus the Patriots, 1st Quarter, 9:25 on the clock#3 - Maurice Harris makes his only punt return count versus the Patriots, 2nd Quarter Authentic Matt Ioannidis Jersey , 6:14 on the clock#4 - Byron Marshall has the BEST KICKOFF return of the Redskins preseason versus the Jets, 2nd Quarter, 13:02 on the clock#5 - Quinn gets 7 yards on a punt return versus the Jets, 3rd Quarter, 2:15 on the clockPhoto by Patrick McDermott/Getty ImagesAfter the top 5, the remaining seven returns by the Redskins return men each left something to be desired.#6 - Byron Marshall makes a poor choice on a kickoff return versus the Patriots, 3rd Quarter, 4:44 on the clock Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsBiB: I posted a comment after the game, saying that I think the Redskins coaches may have asked Marshall to return this ball if he possibly could.The game was approaching the 4th quarter, and every Patriots kickoff prior to this one had been a touchback.I believe Kotwica and Gruden may have wanted to get a look at the ‘Skins ST blocking.If so, then this weak return wasn’t “on” Marshall.#7 - UDFA Danny Johnson struggles to field the ball in his first chance to return a punt for the Redskins versus the Patriots, 2nd Quarter, 3:18 on the clockBob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports#8 - Roster long-shot Darvin Kidsy zigs when he should have zagged in a failed effort to impress on a kickoff return versus the Jets, 4th quarter, 1:52 on the clock I’m sure that UDFA Kidsy can hear the clock ticking on his NFL career. While he might possibly find a spot on the practice squad, Kidsy and Shay Fields look to be battling for last place in a deep receiving group.I can’t really blame him for taking his shot at breaking a big return when he had a chance.At this point, his NFL career may be measured in days... it was worth taking the opportunity to see if he could turn it around with a bit of special teams magic.But it didn’t happen.#9 - Stroman stumbles in his second shot at returning a punt versus the Patriots, 1st Quarter, 4:58 on the clockBiB: I asked Gibbs4potus to rank the returns, and I think he generally did a good job — except for this one.I think this return should be ranked #6, and I see it as a very positive play.Stroman was contacted early, but instead of going straight down, he managed to keep his feet and use his momentum to stumble forward for a nice gain.At the time of the play, Cooley said on the radio broadcast I was listening to that Stroman had done well to maintain his balance and get a positive return.I agree. #10 - Stroman has the worst return of the three he had in the first quarter versus the Patriots, with 5:10 on the clock#11 - Johnson loses ground as a punt returner when he tried to outrun coverage east-to-west versus the Jets, 1st Quarter, 7:59 on the clockThis return ended with a Jets defender being flagged for horse-collar tackle, so it’s possible that Johnson might’ve gotten away from him if not for the illegal grab.The net result for the Redskins after the penalty was pretty good, but, like many rookies, Johnson may be underestimating the speed of his opponents in the NFL.BiB: I remember this play when I was watching it live Matt Ioannidis Jersey Elite , and saying out loud to myself: “you can’t run sideways on returns in the NFL, dude!” and thinking that he should’ve stayed along the sideline. I finished by saying out loud: “He’ll learn.” #12 - The worst return by a Redskin in the first two preseason games was Darvin Kidsy’s first kickoff return versus the Jets, 4th Quarter, 11:02 on the clockBy simply taking a knee, Kidsy would have added 16 yards to the Redskins’ field position, but, when it’s preseason, you’re near the bottom of a 90-man roster, and the coach puts you on the field with a chance to go 100-yards for a touchdown to keep your career alive for another week, it’s hard to make the decision to kneel.Summarizing these twelve plays - what did we learn?Kickoff returners#1 - Byron MarshallThis may open up opportunities for other young players vying for a place on the team.Mo Harris, who has been impressing as a receiver on offense, returned some kicks in the regular season last year.He may get some looks versus Denver and Baltimore.Darvin Kidsy (unranked)BiB: I’m thinking that Kidsy, who has near zero-chance of making the ‘Skins roster, may get some return opportunities in Game 4 against the Ravens when Jay Gruden will have as many of his expected 53-man-roster players as possible covered in bubble wrap, but I’d expect a player or two from the anticipated regular season roster to get some opportunities to return (or simply down in the end zone) kickoffs against Denver at Mile High Stadium.Punt returners#1 - Trey QuinnMr. Relevant gives Jay Gruden another reason to put him on the regular season roster.BiB: I want to mention that, in addition to having the best returns, on one punt by the Jets (3rd Q, 12:45) the ball hit at the Redskins 9 yard line.Quinn acted as though he was gonna field it, but pulled off late, and let the ball hit, and roll sharply right through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Redskins the ball at the 20; in effect, the equivalent of an 11-yard return.It was a smart play that coaches will note, but one that won’t show up on the stat sheet.#2 - Maurice HarrisHarris’ previous experience in the NFL may, in the short term, give him an edge over the more experienced college returner, Stroman, who is still coming to grips with the speed of the NFL. Harris also seems to provide flexibility as a backup at both kickoff and punt returner positions.#3 - Greg StromanStroman had a lot of success as a college returner, with 127 returns for 1,108 yards (8.7 avg) on punts, and 23 kickoff returns with an average of 20.8 yards per return in his four-year career.He will need to adjust his game to the NFL.Until he does , it seems like Trey Quinn (who is, of course, faster than a speeding bullet) probably provides the safer option, and Mo Harris’ year of NFL experience pushes him above Stroman — for the moment.Danny Johnson (unranked)Should the Redskins be worried about the Indianapolis Colts? Team: Indianapolis Colts2017 Record: 4-12 (t-3rd, AFC South)2018 Record: 0-1 (t-3rd, AFC South)Outlook: The Colts had a pretty fun offseason, didn’t they?After a 4-12 campaign that saw Indy finish ranked 30th in scoring offense and 30th in scoring defense, the Colts unsurprisingly fired Chuck Pagano.It looked like Indy had found its head man for the next decade in the Patriots’ Josh McDaniels, announcing him as the new Colts coach in February.A tumultuous 24 hours later, McDaniels was back with the Patriots, and the spurned Colts were left in disarray.Indianapolis wound up with a decent hire in Frank Reich, but, in a very messy scenario, he inherited several assistants that McDaniels had already brought on before bailing on the Colts, such as defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.On the plus side, it looks like Andrew Luck may finally be healthy.If that’s the case, that probably adds three-to-five victories to whatever the Colts’ win total would be otherwise.Indy still has Pro Bowl wideout T.Y. Hilton, and they added Eric Ebron and old friend Ryan Grant (nee Gruden) to the mix as well.The Colts got off to an 0-1 start via a 34-23 home loss to the Bengals.Most disheartening for Indy fans is that the Colts led 23-17 going into the fourth quarter, then got outscored 17-0.Indianapolis outgained the Bengals, had more first downs, a better time of possession, and had fewer turnovers—but still lost.How Worried Should We Be?: Not too worried.While no game in the NFL can ever be taken lightly, playing the Colts at home should be seen as one the Redskins really need to have.This is a great opportunity to get to 2-0.A healthy Luck gives the Colts a chance against anyone, but, unfortunately for Indy, Luck doesn’t play defense, too.I’m not sure this odd melange of a coaching staff will have everything figured out by Week Two. Custom Minnesota Vikings Jerseys 
Posted in Life Hack on January 12 at 11:22 AM

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