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Redskins have a plan to deal with shortened offseason for rookies

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Redskins have a plan to deal with shortened offseason for rookies

The Redskins, like every other NFL team, had an extra two weeks to prepare for the draft, which was held for the first time in May this year.

Being a new coaching staff working together with Bruce Allen for the first time, Jay Gruden and company were glad to have the extra time to evaluate how the draft prospects would fit in to the team’s schemes. But now they are paying for that extra evaluation time.

The rookie minicamp that concluded yesterday at Redskins Park usually takes place on the first weekend in May. So the camp moved back two weeks but the rest of the schedule remained the same. Training camp still will start the last week in July. The season opens the week after Labor Day weekend. That gives rookies two fewer weeks to get up to speed.

“Yeah, that is an issue and that’s a negative of moving [the draft] back,” said Gruden on Saturday. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Some teams like the Giants and Bengals decided to do away with rookie camp altogether. They will bring their draft picks and undrafted free agents right into their offseason programs OTAs with the veterans over the next few weeks. The Redskins considered that approach to deal with the shortened post-draft schedule but decided against it.

“We wanted to have a rookie camp so we could see our draft picks and we could bring in some undrafted guys and let them compete and hopefully find a sleeper or two that we didn’t know about to come in and compete for the roster,” said Gruden.

The decision was to deal with the schedule in a couple of different ways. One was to target players they believe can get up to speed in a hurry.

“We drafted smart guys,” said Gruden. “We try to draft smart guys that are football smart and played in good systems and hopefully they’ll be able to learn fast.”

The organization also tried to take some of the pressure off of the rookies by making sure that they had veterans capable of starting this season in place.

“What we did in free agency, we’re not necessarily having to draft guys that come in and play 70 snaps a game right away,” Gruden said. “They can come in and be a backup and play situationally and then learn and learn and develop, and that’s the beauty of what we did in the free agent market this year.”

“So they’re going to come in and compete, and how much they can handle will be determined after training camp and preseason.”

Of course, every team wants to draft smart players and it’s always good to have veteran players who are capable of starting at every position, especially when you don’t have a first-round draft pick. So the organization’s plan isn’t rocket science. Still, it seems to be a conscious plan to deal with the shortened time frame. We will see if they can take advantage of it and get their rookie class contributing during games sooner rather than later.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

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.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.

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