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Need to Know: Gruden may have to be the one to persuade Cousins to stay

Need to Know: Gruden may have to be the one to persuade Cousins to stay

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 9, 40 days before Washington Redskins start offseason workouts on April 17  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Draft (4/27) 49
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 76
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 128
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 185

Can Gruden convince Kirk Cousins to stay?

After two years with the focus mostly on football, with relatively quiet offseasons and moderate success on the field in the falls, Redskins have crashed back into dysfunction.

Scot McCloughan, whose arrival marked the start of the Redskins behaving like a normal football operation, appears to be on the way out. The company line is that he is out dealing with family issues and his date of return to Redskins Park is unknown. But some solid reporting by the Washington Post reveals that McCloughan was frustrated by being overruled on personnel matters and that is why the end is in sight.

Besides McCloughan, the other individual who gave Redskins some hope in the past two years is quarterback Kirk Cousins. But he may be on the way out, too. He is on the franchise tag for the second straight year. The Redskins are trying to sign him long term but besides not offering close to what most agree Cousins’ fair market value is. And even if they get there, the feeling at Redskins Park is that he just doesn’t want to be there.

The Redskins’ only chance of persuading Cousins to stay may be for Jay Gruden to do the sales job of his life. While the other decision makers in Ashburn have waffled about supporting Cousins, Gruden has steadfastly been in his corner.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

If not for Gruden, Cousins would not be on the verge of getting a contract that will pay him over $100 million. The coach stuck his neck on the line in 2015 when he fought to bench management favorite Robert Griffin III and make Cousins the starter. Gruden stuck by his guy when Cousins struggled early in the year. But he finished the season strong and the Redskins won the NFC East title. He was the perfect fit for Gruden’s offense and he broke every major team passing record.

That season got Cousins on the road to million-dollar paydays. Had Gruden not stuck his neck out for Cousins and if Gruden didn’t have the ideal offense for Cousins’ skill set, the quarterback could well still be struggling to gain a foothold in the NFL.

So if anyone can persuade Cousins to remain with the Redskins, it’s Gruden. And maybe with the dumpster fire spreading in Ashburn, it’s too late already. But at some point, I would expect Gruden to give it a go and we will see what happens.

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

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 18, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: AM walkthrough and then travel to New Orleans. No media availability.

Days until:

—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 6
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 13
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 23

Quick Redskins news hits

C Spencer Long tried to play last week and he couldn’t make it more than a dozen snaps before sitting down for the rest of the day. He is out against the Seahawks tomorrow.

With Brian Quick and Ryan Grant questionable with concussions and Terrelle Pryor out with an ankle injury, the Redskins are down to three healthy wide receivers. While Quick and Grant might play, the depth chart could have Doctson, Crowder, and Harris on it.

The Redskins week that was

2 reasons Redskins didn't trade Terrelle Pryor—If you want to know why the deal with the Browns didn’t happen, follow the money. Between his signing bonus and the half of the year’s salary, the Redskins have already paid $4.5 million. Although he hasn’t been nearly as productive as they hoped he would be, there was no point in letting him go to save $1.5 million unless they got a second-day draft pick, or maybe a fourth, in return. See that Jay Gruden said that he didn’t hear of the proposed trade, talks must not have become too serious.

Remember Junior Galette? The Redskins don't seem to—As with Pryor, everyone is waiting for Galette to break out. But unlike Pryor, he’s not an expensive unproductive player. He’s making the veteran minimum. Against the Vikings, he played just 19 snaps. Perhaps a return to New Orleans for a game against his old team will spark a sack or two.

Recent comments from Cousins may hint at future in D.C.—Cousins has been big on making statements about the long-term future with the Redskins (read the post for specifics). That doesn’t mean that it’s a lock that he stays in town. But it should give some pause to those who believe that it is a lock that he will be in another uniform when 2018 or, at the latest, 2019 rolls around. He has never been inclined to go to the highest bidder and if the Redskins make a competitive offer that delivers what he wants he could well stick around.

How the Vikings scored 21 unanswered points against the Redskins—The 21-0 run in about seven minutes of game time that the Vikings used to make a competitive game at FedEx Field a rout was a combination of good offense by the Vikings and bad defense and offense by the Redskins. They couldn’t cover Adam Thielen on either drive. Cousins threw an interception off of his back foot and that set up the middle of the three touchdowns. If the Redskins end the season a game out of a playoff spot that seven-minute stretch will be one of the big reasons why they failed to make it.

Player one-liners, defense— Usually, the offensive edition of the player one-liners tends to be the most popular but this week it was the defense that drew the most interest. The defensive player I’m going to keep an eye on the most in the last seven games is rookie safety Montae Nicholson. He has the speed and hard hitting ability that the secondary needs. When asked what will happen when Nicholson is healthy, Jay Gruden said without hesitation that he is the starter. Nicholson’s health will be important for the defense down the stretch. DeAngelo Hall is better suited to a part-time role at this stage of his career.

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.

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.