Redskins

Quick Links

Five things to look for at today's Redskins OTA

rg3-mcvay.png

Five things to look for at today's Redskins OTA

Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s OTA session at Redskins Park, which is open to the media:

Spencer Long at right guard—He will line up with the first team after last week’s departure of Chris Chester. Last year Jay Gruden let it be known that Long had the opportunity to push past Chester on the depth chart but he never could quite do it. This year they apparently think he is ready. They’re not in pads yet so it will be an incomplete picture of where he is in his development but we can see how he fits in with the starters.

Robert Griffin III’s consistency—Last week the quarterback was not bad, not great. That was fine for the first OTA, the first time the offense had lined up against the defense and Griffin had a chance to put together the classroom learning and the individual drills that he has been working on. But progress is expected and he should be a little bit more confident and effective than he was last week.

Jerrell Powe and Willie Smith—These are two young veterans signed this week who could be more than camp fodder. Powe could push for a backup nose tackle spot and Smith, who broke into the NFL in 2011 when he made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie, will compete for one of the spots as a reserve tackle. Both have started some NFL games so they are worth keeping an eye on.

Duke Ihenacho at strong safety—The coaches appear to be intrigued by Ihenacho, who started in a Super Bowl for the Broncos after the 2013 season. I have not see him work much since he came to the Redskins just before the season started and was on injured reserve a few weeks later. It will be interesting to see what he can do.

Preston Smith coverage—I want to see him dropping back and see how he does there. His ability to do that will go a long way towards determining how much he will play this year. If teams know he has to pass rush when he is in at linebacker that will limit what the defense can do to confuse the opposing quarterback. It also would mean that Ryan Kerrigan would have to drop back in coverage more and he’s more impactful moving forwards, not backwards.

I suppose I could add a sixth item and say I’m looking forward to hearing what DeSean Jackson has to say about missing the first week of OTAs last week. But I find it difficult to gin up much enthusiasm about being absent for three days of voluntary work. Jackson has no obligation to explain himself to the media or anyone except possibly his coaches and teammates.

Today’s practice starts at 11:15. Look for practice tweets from me @Rich_TandlerCSN and colleague @TarikCSN, my practice report after it’s over, and reports on what the players and Jay Gruden had to say. Oh, and look for some pictures and videos on the Real Redskins Facebook page and @RichTandler on Instagram.

Quick Links

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

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

Quick Links

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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