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Need to Know: A learning process for Amerson

amerson-vs-packers.png

Need to Know: A learning process for Amerson

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 27, two days before the Redskins visit the Raiders.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about from Redskins Park.

1. According to FootballZebras.com, Bill Leavy will be the referee for Sunday’s game in Oakland. He worked two Redskins games last year, the one at FedEx Field against the Falcons (a 24-17 loss) and the Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas (a 38-31 win). In both games he called more penalties against the home team than he did against the visitors.

2. It doesn’t look like Jordan Reed will be able to go in Oakland. Today in the locker room he said that his bruised quad hurt all the time and was even worse when he bent his knee. It seems like he’ll need the bye week to recover. That might be OK even if Fred Davis, who was limited in practice for a second straight day with an ankle injury. Logan Paulsen might be the best guy to start and play most of the snaps against the Raiders if the Redskins intend to run the ball early and often.

3. Rob Jackson was in the locker room today and he’s very happy that his four-game suspension is almost over. He will be able to rejoin the team on Monday. Since his suspension was under the substance abuse policy (and not under the PED policy) he has been able to work out with strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright and attend meetings at Redskins Park. “Hopefully it won't be too hard,” he said when asked if it would be hard to knock off the rust. “What me and Ray been doing out there kept me in pretty good shape and movement, side to side, lateral things like that.”

4. The field at O.co Coliseum (yes, that’s actually the name of the place now) will have a dirt infield at one end since the Oakland A’s, the Raiders’ co-tenants there, are still playing. Ryan Kerrigan knows that the Redskins will just have to deal with it. “I really don't know what to expect,” he said. I haven't played on any dirt since I played high school baseball. We're all dealing with the same elements so it's not an excuse if your first step isn't as good or you lose your footing. It's the same footing for the offensive line and tight ends we'll be going against so we can't really use that as an excuse.”

5. David Amerson had a rookie-type day with some nice plays mixed in with some “what was he thinking” plays. ““Yeah, I think it’s a learning process,” said Jim Haslett when asked about Amerson’s development. “Remember he’s a junior coming out, a young guy, this is really his senior year in college, so you’re going to have some of those. Obviously we don’t want to have them. We have got to eliminate those things. To be a good defense, to get back to where this football team needs to be, we’ve got to cut all those out.”

Stat of the day

—Alfred Morris has 225 yards rushing this year. Through three games in 2013 he had 263 yards on the ground. Morris currently is on pace to rush for 1,200 yards.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Raiders 2; Redskins @ Cowboys 16; Bears @ Redskins 23

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; player availability and Mike Shanahan news conference after practice (approx. 1:00); Note: The Redskins will leave for California later today.

Kyle on Griffin’s interception 

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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!

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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!