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Need to Know: Six Redskins over 30 will play key roles in 2015

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Need to Know: Six Redskins over 30 will play key roles in 2015

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 29, 31 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

The senior citizens

The Redskins are likely to go into the season with six players on their roster who are 30 or older. Most of them will be expected to play key roles this season. Here are the old men of the Redskins and what the team will be looking for from them this year

(Ages as of opening day)

C Kory Lichtensteiger, 30—He will be the starting center and will have to adjust to a change in the running game philosophy from one that emphasized zone blocking to one that will run more power blocking plays. That could be a challenge for the 296-lb. veteran.

DL Kedric Golston, 32—It looks like he will survive a purge on the defensive line that saw three of his line mates from last year depart, although his presence on the 53 is not a sure thing. If he is still around he will play 15-20 snaps in the defensive line rotation, mostly at the end spots but perhaps some at nose tackle as well.

FS Dashon Goldson, 30—He will be the starting free safety. The team will be counting on him to rebound to something close to his 2012 All-Pro form after two bad seasons in Tampa Bay. They don’t have much in the way of depth there so he will need to get it done.

ILB Adam Hayward, 31—It will not be surprising if he ends up as the fifth inside linebacker on the depth chart. His importance to the Redskins comes on special teams where he will again be the captain and show the younger special teamers the Redskins brought in like Evan Spencer and Kyshoen Jarrett the ropes.

CB DeAngelo Hall, 32—The Redskins likely would like to see David Amerson become the third defensive back and have Hall come off the bench in dime situations. But if Amerson’s rocky 2014 shows signs of continuing in this season they won’t hesitate to give Hall a bigger role, assuming he is fully healthy after tearing his Achilles twice last year.

DE Jason Hatcher, 33—The senior member of the team will start at right defensive end and the coaches will be looking for at least eight sacks from him, maybe more. Quality play from Hatcher could also make life easier for young, inexperienced right outside linebackers Trent Murphy.

The Redskins will start three players who are past the age of 30, Lichtensteiger, Goldson, and Hatcher. Last year they had seven players over 30 at the top of the depth chart at the start of the season—Hatcher, Hall, NT Barry Cofield, SS Brandon Meriweather, FS Ryan Clark, and G Chris Chester.

Timeline

—It’s been 183 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 76 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 31; Preseason opener @ Browns 45; final cuts 68

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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!