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Need to Know: Gruden says last year's Rams game will not be motivation for Redskins

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Need to Know: Gruden says last year's Rams game will not be motivation for Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 18, two days before the Washington Redskins host the St. Louis Rams.

Redskins podium: Read and react

Here are some quotes from Jay Gruden and Joe Barry followed by some comments on them:

Gruden on if the Redskins 24-0 loss to the Rams last year will be used as motivation this week: “We shouldn’t need any motivation right now. We’ve won seven games in two years. So we’re motivated to get this thing turned around whoever we play. Obviously you never want to get shutout, but I think our guys are motivated to get our first home win in front of our crowd.”
Reaction: If this team needs anything more than sheer professional pride to play as hard as it can then something is very wrong. While I think this game can be used as a measuring stick—if they win that could be evidence of real improvement—I don’t see last year’s game being blackboard material. The Rams were just better. Gruden also said that Jeff Fisher’s trolling of the Redskins by sending out the players the Rams acquired with the picks they landed in the Griffin trade would be a non-factor. Good.

Gruden on who the No. 2 quarterback will be on Sunday: “We’re practicing and we haven’t figured out who all of our people are yet. Everybody gets their practice time and reps and they’re doing a good job. We’ll make that final 46-man roster deal at whatever time – 11:30 on Sunday.”
Reaction: I think we all know that Colt McCoy will backup Kirk Cousins and that Robert Griffin III will be inactive, right? You can agree with it or not but there is no mystery here. It is very likely that Griffin has taken his last snap for the Redskins and has.

Joe Barry on having to shuffle the secondary due to injuries and suspension: "Yeah, but that's the NFL. It's a challenge each and every week, but the thing that we just keep preaching and keep talking to guys about it is the NFL season is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. It's war of attrition and you’ve got to have the best guys up every week. We kind of have a motto, We have starters and we have starters-in-waiting.”
Reaction: The Redskins will not get any sympathy cards from around the league for the Ihenacho injury and the suspensions of Breeland and Culliver. It’s just the way it is around the NFL. Coaches have the right frame of mind about it; fans and the media need to look at it the same way.

Barry on Bashaud Breeland’s return to the lineup: "I think it's huge. He can play inside. He can play outside and we will do that with him. We have different packages. Bottom line, I'm fired up for him because a guy that is so passionate about the game, a guy that loves the game so much, it's going to be fun to have [No.] 26 out there with a helmet on."
Reaction: Breeland is fun to watch because he loves playing. He has a lot of rough edges but he plays hard and won’t back down from anyone.

Gruden on newly-signed cornerback Will Blackmon: “Well, he’s a very bright man. He knows football. He’s played a lot of football in his day. He’s picked up this system very fast. He’s going to play some, no question about it. How much, I don’t know yet. It just depends on what type of packages they’re in and we’re in at the time.”
Reaction: Blackmon isn’t going to make a Pro Bowl visit or anything but he does have 66 NFL games under his belt since breaking into the league in 2006 so he is capable. He will almost certainly see some action against the Rams this week. It will be an interesting decision to see if the Redskins will keep Blackmon or Justin Rogers when Chris Culliver returns from his suspension on Monday.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:15; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice approx. 12:30

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 6; Eagles @ Redskins 16

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

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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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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