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Need to Know: Redskins' restructure money already spent

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Need to Know: Redskins' restructure money already spent

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 5, four days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. Pierre Garçon says that he is 100 percent healthy after missing six games last year with a toe injury and having surgery to repair a torn labrum during the offseason. It is typical for athletes to say they are “fine” when dealing with an injury when they are anything but. In this case, however, it seems that the athlete is accurate in his self-assessment. Garçon took a few days off during training camp but no more than most other veteran players. He didn’t play a whole lot in preseason but neither did Alfred Morris. Certainly something could happen along the way but for right now it looks like all systems are go for the player who helps the Redskins’ offense go.

2. The Redskins restructured the contracts of Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, and Barry Cofield in recent days to create some cap room. But don’t get excited about the prospects of them going after a free agent. As Bruce Allen indicated during training camp, the Redskins are restructuring deals just to be able to stay under the salary cap. During the offseason only the top 51 contracts count towards the cap. Once the season starts, the contracts of all 53 active players plus players on PUP and injured reserve and the practice squad count towards. The Redskins had some trimming to do to get in compliance with the cap and to give themselves some cushion during the season. In short, the savings from the restructures are already spent.

3. I predicted yesterday that the conversation on RG3 would turn the corner from “concerns” and other such controversies to playing in games. And what transpired during Griffin’s Wednesday press conference was in line with that. There were 19 questions asked and only two of them had to do with what has transpired since Thursday, when Dr. James Andrews cleared Griffin to play against the Eagles, i. e. the “concerns”. To be sure, many of the others dealt with returning from the injury but those would be there even if there had been total radio silence on the rehab from Redskins Park. We’re not out of the woods on the knee talk yet but we’re getting there.

4. There is injury report today even though you have probably read that most of the other teams around the league had to issue one. That’s because when a team has a Monday night game the reports go out Thursday-Saturday instead of Wednesday-Friday. The only real concern this week seems to be Brandon Meriweather, who has a pulled groin in addition to his still-recovering knee.

5. Even though Griffin has been a spectator for much of the offseason, he remains the leader of the team. He was asked if he gave the rookies any advice. After joking that people were treating him like he was a five- or seven-year veteran, he got serious.

“For the rookies, you know, I talked to the guys on our team like Chris Thompson playing running back, you are here for a reason and you’ve got to believe it. Your coaches believe in you. That’s why they drafted you. That’s why you made the team. So if you step on that field and don’t feel like you don’t belong, then it will come out and you’ll play like you don’t belong. But if you go out on that field and play like you belong and trust in yourself and trust your preparation, then you have nothing to worry about.”

Stat of the day

—Of the 53 players who are on the Redskins’ roster, 11 are new to the organization since the end of last season. A total of 17 were not on the opening 53-man roster in 2012.

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Timeline

—Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer was born on this day in 1939

—It’s been 239 days since the last Redskins game; there are four days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Packers 10; Lions @ Redskins 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett press conference 12:00; practice 1:00; Kyle Shanahan and Mike Shanahan press conferences after practice (approx. 3:00)

Tandler looks at the Eagles

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!