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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden is trying to make things difficult on Cousins

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden is trying to make things difficult on Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 9, 49 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 151 days ago. It will be 95 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 49; Preseason opener @ Falcons 63; Final roster cut to 53, 86

Cousins’ confidence growing

It’s generally a mistake to read too much into performances that take place in shorts and football helmets. For one thing, not everyone participates and players are often going up against reserves and others who just hope to make the roster so they can be reserves. Also, contact is such an important part of the game that any drills that take place without it are difficult to evaluate.

With that said, it’s hard not to notice that Kirk Cousins has looked very, very good in OTAs so far. He looked particularly good on Wednesday as he made quick decisions and zipped the ball to receivers with touch and authority.

“He’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence, having a lot of fun,” said Jay Gruden after the OTA on Wednesday. “He’s got great command of the offense, that’s the one thing that you notice. He’s got great command over the formations. He’s got great command on the snap count, and that’s something he didn’t so much have the first year I was here and even last year in this time of year.”

It’s not a coincidence that in his fifth NFL season Cousins suddenly has great command. This is his first offseason as the starter and he is showing that he intends to take advantage of the opportunity.

Gruden does not intend to make things easy for Cousins.

“I’m trying to challenge him situationally,” said Gruden “Backed up, red zone, third down, fourth down, two-point plays, all of it and trying to see how he handles them. Offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, offensive line, everybody, not just the quarterbacks. We’re trying to challenge him and push the envelope a little bit and get as many situational problems as we can, get them on tape and see how they react and coach and correct off of it. He’s much more comfortable in all of them.”

So far, he has met the challenge. But, again, his success has to be evaluated considering that they are not wearing pads. While it would be great to have an answer about how Cousins will perform in 2016 right now we are going to have to wait.

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

Here are three things you need to know about Nick Rose, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Dustin Hopkins.

1) His next NFL kick will be his first one

Rose has spent offseason time with the Falcons and 49ers since entering the league in 2016 after his collegiate career at Texas. However, he has never attempted a regular season field goal or PAT, so the first time he does so with the Redskins will be the first time ever for him as a pro.

The 23-year-old certainly has potential: He was one of the nation's top touchback producers in 2014 and 2015 for the Longhorns, so distance on kickoffs and field goals shouldn't be an issue (this video of him nailing one from 80, yes, 80, backs that up). What remains to be seen is whether he can split the uprights for Washington.

For what it's worth, Hopkins was totally inexperienced in the NFL when he first signed with the Burgundy and Gold, too.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS - 'SKINS IN TOP 10

2) He can make kicks in unconventional ways

While this doesn't come across as something Jay Gruden would ever want Rose to try in, say, this Monday's game in Philly, Rose can sink chip shots while simultaneously completing a backflip.

Ever seen Adam Vinatieri do that? Nope, didn't think so.

3) He beat out at least three other candidates for the job

With Hopkins likely done for the year with a hip issue, the Redskins worked out a handful of replacement options on Tuesday.

It was Rose, though, who emerged with a contract. He earned it over at least three other guys, including veterans Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks. Now he must bring that strong leg, as well as some accuracy, when called upon to ensure the 'Skins don't miss out on any points on a weekly basis.

Making kicks in the middle of backflips is fun, sure. But making them in front of national TV audiences instead of a YouTube audience is probably more fun. Let's see if Rose has what it takes to stick around.

RELATED: IN CROWDED NFC, WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins will likely not play again this year, a source with knowledge of the situation tells our JP Finlay.

The team placed Hopkins on the injured reserve list, which means he's out at least eight weeks. To replace him, the Redskins signed Nick Rose, per NFL Network.

In his third season with Washington, Hopkins had made nearly 82 percent of his field goals this year. He made 12 of 13 extra points, but missed a very important extra point in Sunday's win over the 49ers.

Hopkins had a very strong leg, capable of touchbacks on kickoffs nearly every time the situation called for it. 

Rose is yet to play in the NFL but spent time with the 49ers. He kicked collegiately at the University of Texas.

As a senior in Austin last year, Rose made 13 of 17 field goals and 38 of 39 extra points.