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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

RICHMOND—The Redskins did not wear pads. They were coming off of three straight physical practice before their day off and the Texans are coming into town  for what is likely to be a tough three days.

—The defensive coaches want their players to jump on a ball that’s on the ground even when it’s there as the result of an incomplete pass. It certainly can’t hurt and you never know when something might appear to be an incompletion from one defender’s angle but it’s not. Better to jump on it than let it roll on the ground.

—Injured cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (knee) and David Amerson (shoulder) did some rehab work on the side. Breeland had a brace on his injured right knee (sprained MCL) but he is able to walk and put weight on that leg. If he is ready in the lower range of the 4-6 week estimate he could be back in time to get into preseason game No. 4 against the Jaguars. Terrance Knighton missed practice with the flu.

—I think it should officially be his middle name—Jordan “If He Can Stay Healthy” Reed. He put a nice double move on Duke Ihenacho during one-on-one coverage drills. The safety stayed close, though, and Reed had to turn around and make the grab in the end zone. Kirk Cousins’ pass was about the only place it could have been. He has done something impressive almost every day of camp but everyone knows he can play, it's matter of how many games he is able to show up for.

Martrell Spaight had good coverage on Chris Thompson but the back made a good catch and was able to turn upfield.

—The first play in full team drills was Alfred Morris up the middle, just like it is almost every day. I think the defense is detecting the pattern as they stuffed it again today.

—A few snaps later Morris got around the right end and the crowd cheered. However in a live drill Keenan Robinson, who flew over from his inside linebacker spot, would have nail Morris for about a two-yard loss.

—On his first pass during team work, Robert Griffin III had Reed wide open but the pass was too high. Later in the same session he heated up, hitting DeSean Jackson deep down the middle. The receiver found a soft spot in the coverage and Griffin fired the ball to him about 20 yards downfield. All in all it was a so-so day for Griffin, who misfired on several passes.

Jerrell Powe got a lot of snaps at nose tackle. He has the size to be effective (6-2, 331), but he just doesn’t have the quickness or power to be a front-line player. I think he has a shot to make the team if the coaches decide that they would rather have a true nose tackle to spell Knighton rather than using Chris Baker or Kedric Golston.

Ryan Grant caught a medium pass from Colt McCoy and turned up the sideline. It looked like safeties Trenton Robinson and DaMon Cromartie-Smith had a bead on him but Grant found another gear and cruised past them. Speed is not supposed to be a great asset of his but he found some there.

Brandon Scherff looked good in one-on-one drills against Stephen Paea. Once it looked like the defensive end had the slip on him but Scherff recovered and got in front of him. One local analyst, a former NFL player, said that he was satisfied that Scherff will be able to hold his own once the games start.

—Rookie Arie Kouandjio had a similar battle with Ricky Jean-Francois. The veteran lineman initially had an advantage on him but Kouandjio recovered and executed the block. Not everyone has that recovery ability and having it give Kouandjio an edge.

—The same player turned analyst who liked Scherff was not nearly impressed with Trent Murphy. He said that Murphy had great burst at Stanford and you could nhear his initial contact with the blocker on the sideline. Murphy seemed to be much more tentative today.

—Reed made a nice, one-handed catch of a short McCoy pass. It would not have gained much but it was still an impressive athletic feat.

—Reed wasn’t the only tight end who made an athletic catch of a McCoy pass. On one throw Je’Ron Hamm turned around, jumped, and gathered in the pass for a gain of about 15 yards.

—Both in walkthrough and during the main practice the first-team offensive line featured Scherff at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle. The coaches say that it is to prepare for injuries down the road. But there is a possibility that it will become permanent so the situation bears watching.

—The crowd of 5,006 almost had something to cheer about a couple of times but Griffin misfired on a deep pass to Pierre Garçon and Rashad Ross couldn’t catch up with a long one from McCoy.

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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!