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Need to Know: Notes from Redskins camp --Gruden is looking for a physical mindset

Need to Know: Notes from Redskins camp --Gruden is looking for a physical mindset

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 10, eight days before the Redskins host the Browns on preseason Monday night football.

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—I tweeted yesterday that it didn’t look like there was a specific timetable for the returns of Stephen Bowen and Leonard Hankerson from the PUP list. I was right, Jay Gruden didn’t know much about the timing of their rehabs from knee injuries. ““I really don’t {know],” he said. That’s something Larry [Hess] will have to talk to you about, but they are working their tail off and you can see progress. Every day I see Leonard out there working hard, running routes, with Larry on the side doing everything he can in his power to get ready. Whether it’s going to be for the season opener, whether it’s later, we don’t know yet. Same with Bowen. Bowen, I talked to him today, he said he felt as good as he’s ever felt in a long time, so that’s progress that he’s making.” One note, Hess, the head athletic trainer, has not talked to the media since he has been with the team so we are unlikely to get any clarity from him.

—Gruden is more optimistic about Ryan Clark’s hamstring but he’s not really sure because of the nature of the injury. “Well, I don't know – it’s a hamstring,” he said. “Those things are… anybody who's pulled a hamstring, you never know, but Ryan has the treatment that he needs. He's getting all the work done that he has to get done and he'll be ready I think sooner than later but you just never know with those things.”

—Jason Hatcher returned from the PUP list and he took part in practice in a very limited manner. He said he’s feeling better but that you never really know until you get back into it. “Yeah, my explosion is kind of there, but it’s one of those things that I’ve got to work through,” he said. “Getting a 300-pound human being laying on me and see how I respond from there. So it’s one of those things I’ve got to work through.”

—Gruden wants players who have a particular mindset and he’s trying to sort out who does and who doesn’t. “That’s what we are trying to do. We’re trying to adopt a physical style of play, obviously,” he said. “Offense and defense, protect the quarterback, dominant in the run blocking, and obviously stopping the run and getting after the passer are very key elements. But there’s other elements that’s very important in football – your mindset is very important, how you handle bad events, how mentally tough you are and when things don’t go so well from a week to two weeks or from a play to a quarter, whatever it is, how you react.

—Hatcher was asked about how he will feel when the Redskins play the Cowboys. He didn’t play the typical “it’s just another game” today. “Oh man, it’s going to be a little strange, but it’s going to be very, very, very exciting because it’s a new team and, like I said, I’m looking forward to playing with these guys,” he said. “I played against these guys and they just – they don’t stop. So it’s going to be a good game Monday night, but that’s not where my focus is at right now.”

If you have any questions about what's going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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From Instagram: D-line practices sack and strip:

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 224 days since the Redskins played a game; in 28 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Monday night preseason vs. Browns 8; Final cuts 20; Home opener vs. Jaguars 35

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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 frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuttered 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.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: