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Going into 2016, Crowder is repeating one motto: 'Make plays'

Going into 2016, Crowder is repeating one motto: 'Make plays'

After Wednesday's OTA session — in which Kirk Cousins looked to him as often as a millennial looks at his or her cell phone — Jamison Crowder came off of one of Washington's practice fields in Ashburn and repeated a single phrase over and over again.

When the idea of him feeling more at ease as a second-year player as opposed to being a rookie was brought up, for example, he said, "I feel comfortable coming back knowing the offense. Looking forward to going out there and making plays and helping out the team as much as I can."

Then, when he was asked about whether his place in the offense would look different in 2016 compared to 2015, he responded, "I don’t see my role changing much from last year, [just] making sure I get open and make plays."

And, of course, when the topic of Cousins' increased confidence was mentioned, Crowder answered, "You feel that Kirk is the guy, he knows what he’s doing. Whenever he throws the ball my way, or anybody's way, you just gotta make plays."

While it isn't at the top of the list yet, "Make plays" certainly deserves a spot near Scot McCloughan's "He's a football player" and Cousins' "You like that?!" as things that are reiterated often around the Redskins. But that one-track mindset will surely help the former fourth-round pick build on a first-rate debut campaign that saw him catch 59 passes for 604 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

Behind the emergence of Jordan Reed and the addition of Josh Doctson, plus the production from mainstays Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, some are saying that the Burgundy and Gold could have the most dynamic group of pass catchers in the NFL. On Wednesday, however, it was Crowder who was repeatedly freeing himself from defensive backs and securing passes from No. 8 — while Doctson was injured on the sidelines and Jackson was not present, nonetheless.

According to Cousins, that's something Crowder has an innate knack for, and a reason why he shouldn't be forgotten about when talking up Redskins receivers.

"All of that lends itself to taking another step forward,” Cousins said last week. “He’s a great teammate, smart player, has a natural sense of how to get open, how to run different option routes and choice routes, great natural hands and is really good after the catch pulling away from people."

He may not have Reed's size, Doctson's athleticism, Garçon's nastiness or Jackson's straight-line speed, but it's clear that Crowder has his quarterback's trust. And that trust will only continue to grow throughout the rest of offseason work and into his sophomore year.

You can almost see the commercial now: "Need a play to be made? Dial 8-0. Jamison Crowder will take care of that for you."

MORE REDSKINS: WILL BLACKMON ON HIS MOVE TO SAFETY

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

roullier-ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200