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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 3 notes--Gruden hates 'buddy football'

Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 3 notes--Gruden hates 'buddy football'

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 27, 11 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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News and notes from the third day of training camp for the 2014 Redskins, which played out under partly cloudy skies and fairly mild late-July temperatures.

—Training camps under Mike Shanahan were not exactly Camp Cupcake but there weren't many comments or complaints that camp was too physical either. If Gruden’s comments on Saturday are any indication, the contact will pick up for the Redskins compared to the last four years. “I just like the competition,” he said. “I think it’s very important for the defense to give the offense the best look possible and vice versa. We can’t do that if we are just muddling around playing buddy football.” You have to respect a coach who hates “buddy football”.

—But this doesn’t mean that they will pound each other every day. Gruden will take it day by day. ““I think it’s dependent on how we are doing as far as health-wise, how much we feel like we are getting in,” he said. “I think right now we are to a point where we are going to do pads today, pads tomorrow and then pads on Monday. And then we will take a day off (the scheduled off day on Tuesday) and then we will see where we stand.”

—We’re only three days in but so far training camp has been distraction free. Last year by this time we had the coach and quarterback exchanging passive-aggressive comments, a season-ending injury to Keenan Robinson and a four-game PED suspension for Jarvis Jenkins. Barry Cofield appreciates the difference. “Yeah, it’s definitely about football right now,” he said. “It’s definitely about football and that’s it. We’re not in the headlines. I don’t see us on the SportsCenter ticker at the bottom every day. It’s a good feeling to just be focused on football, focused on getting better and only fielding questions about players and their activities on the field.”

—I talked to Richard Crawford on Saturday. It surprised me that he took the field 11 months after a pretty serious knee injury without a brace or sleeve. He’s looking forward to competing for a role. “Competition is always going to be there,” he said. “It’s the NFL, you’re going to see the best of the best at all times. I’m kind of happy they did bring them in because you learn a lot from those guys and I’m becoming a better player myself. I’m just trying to be the best I can be and help this team win.”

—Since it’s becoming popular to declare yourself to be the best in the business, Cofield was asked if he thought he was one of the best nose tackles in the game. He wanted no part of that discussion. “I'm not interested in ranking myself. I just want to help the team win and I want to be the starting nose tackle for the Super Bowl champions,” he said. “That's my main goal. I come to work every day and work hard. I love that my coaches support me. I'd be happy if Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson went to the Pro Bowl instead of myself and they just buy my something – just a gift to give me a little recognition.”

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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 210 days since the Redskins played a game; in 42 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 11; Final cuts 34; Redskins @ Eagles 56

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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