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Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes Day 6--More receptions for Morris?

Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes Day 6--More receptions for Morris?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 31, seven days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

News, notes, and quotes from Day 6 of Redskins training camp.

—The 2011 CBA brought about training camp walkthroughs. Since moving training camp to Richmond, the Redskins have opened them to the public. I’m never sure if it’s more interesting to watch the players go through the “activities” or watch the grass grow under their feet. But, says Jay Gruden, they are useful. “They are [boring], but we do get a lot out of them. It’s a chance for us to walkthrough certain areas of the game that we need work on. Maybe it’s base blitz, maybe it’s nickel blitz, maybe it’s red zone, maybe it’s spread and empty, maybe it’s no-huddle, maybe it’s two-minute. And it’s a chance to just take it at a different pace and try to utilize it the best way we can as coaches to get as much out of it as we can.

—Trent Williams thinks that he could take some snaps if necessary. He was asked if he could be the emergency QB. “I think I definitely could be,” he said with a smile. “I definitely could be. I do have a talented arm. Not to toot my own horn, but, you know, just telling the truth.”

—Gruden wasn’t real keen on the idea, however. “Emergency quarterback? No. We’d run a read option with Trent maybe,” he said, laughing. “Trent’s a great athlete obviously but I think he’s going to stick at the left tackle spot. That’s what he’s built for, that’s what he is born to do and he loves it.

—Gruden confirmed what the many in the media had heard, that Tyler Polumbus missed Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons. Tom Compton filled in on the first unit. “Tom did good,” said Gruden. “Tyler missed today for personal reasons and we expect him back soon. But Tyler did a good job. Morgan [Moses] stayed at left tackle and Mo Hurt played a little bit at right tackle, so both of them filled in very well.”

—I’ll believe it when I see it but Gruden indicated that Alfred Morris will catch more passes out of the backfield. “Alfred is not flying under the radar in our eyes, that’s for sure. He’s done a great job,” said Gruden. “He’s had a great camp. He’s caught the ball very well too which is a pleasant surprise for us out of the backfield, so Alfred’s going to get his touches.” Morris has 20 career receptions in 32 games.

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Timeline

—Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo was born on this date in 1986.

Today’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Media rules seminar 3:00Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 214 days since the Redskins played a game; in 38 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 7; Final cuts 30; Redskins @ Eagles 52

In case you missed it

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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!