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Minicamp Day 1: Minnifield looking good

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Minicamp Day 1: Minnifield looking good

The Redskins held the first practice of their three-day minicamp on Tuesday. Once again, they were able to take advantage of the presence of their new indoor field as the rainy conditions would have either cancelled or severely curtailed their activities.No tweeting was allowed during the session, so here are some quick notes and observations in Twitter format:-Jammal Brown is looking pretty spry. Should be fine to start the season but what about November?--It looks like Maurice Hurt is packing a few more pounds than the 320 he is listed. After filling in at guard last year it looks like he is working strictly at tackle.--Tim Hightower is looking better and better every week. He was doing some cutting after catching Short passes. Not 100 percent but getting there.--Evan Royster is looking pretty quick. At this early point I would not be shocked to see him start multiple games this year.--M. Williams did a good job moving to the ball to knock down an RG3 pass to Moss. Still not sure he's a lock for the 53 but he looked good there.--Davis with a nice diving catch of an RG3 pass off of a rollout.--We really haven't seen Griffin's vaunted deep ball accuracy yet. He just overthrew Moss by a good 10 yards on a play action rollout.--Something to keep an eye on--Aldrick Robinson on kick returns. That is one aspect of the game that really can't be judged until preseason games start. Still, Robinson looks fluid and natural with a nice burst.--Beau Reliford really looks the part of an NFL tight end and he is fluid and athletic. But he will need to have a big preseason if he is going to make it.--Another diving catch for Davis. Maybe he is really, really getting serious about the game.--In some serious and lively 11 on 11, rG3 completes passes to Davis, Moss, and Garcon twice. The last Garcon grab was a beauty, one handed in the end zone.--Minnifield looks small out there, very skinny legs. But he moves well--Robinson with a picture perfect grab of a picture perfect Cousins bomb. Robinson's stock could be on the rise.--Rex threw behind a cutting Armstrong, allowing the ball to get knocked away. The next play he hit Paulsen deep down the middle for a TD. Good Rex, bad Rex.--And then Rex gets picked by Minnifield, probably for six. Didn't see him.--Bowen being held out today as he has been for most of camp after having a procedure done on his knee in April.--Perhaps the pick earned Minnifield some extra reps. He has been out there a lot today.--Roy Helu has not been participating in team drills as he is banged up. He has feature back ability but his consistent availability is a question mark.--Minnifield again, breaking up an RG3 pass in the end zone. The guy is giving the coaches something positive to ponder for the rest of June and July.--Lance Lewis taking advantage of his opportunity with a nice leaping end zone grab of a Cousins pass.--Rackers clanks a 52 yarder off of the right upright after Gano nailed one from the same distance.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

In case you missed it

 

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a 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."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.