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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

The Redskins held their final practice of the offseason under cloud cover with some light rain in Ashburn. Here are my observations:

—Trent Williams and Jordan Reed were playing catch off to the side while special teams drills were underway. Williams has a decent arm but Reed, who went to Florida as a quarterback, had better form.

—Trey Williams mishandled a pass and and went to the ground and did about half a dozen pushups.

—Matt Jones was on the field with the first unit early and often. I think they have major expectations for the rookie.

—Among those who lined up with the second unit defense were Kedric Golston, Ricky Jean Francois, Jackson Jeffcoat, Tevin Mitchel, Adam Hayward, Tajh Hanson, Justin Rogers, Duke Ihenacho, and Trenton Robinson.

—It appeared that Colt McCoy got the majority of the second-team snaps with Kirk Cousins working with the third. It was the opposite arrangement on Tuesday.

—On one snap, Preston Smith lined up to defend slot receiver Andre Roberts. It looked like Smith stayed with the receiver but the ball was thrown to the other side. That’s something to keep an eye on in Richmond.

—In a red zone drill Robert Griffin III hit Logan Paulsen with a nice toss on a fade route. Paulsen was very close to the sideline and the defense claimed that he was out of bounds. From where I was it was hard to tell. Still a good pass either way.

—Still in the red zone a bit later, Roberts had a well-placed pass over the middle bounce out of his hands. Justin Rogers nearly came up with the ball after tipping it a couple of times. It would have been a nice play but Rogers probably should have made the interception.

—On the first snap of seven on seven in the red zone, Griffin took his time looking around for a receiver. Jay Gruden did not appear to be happy with him.

—A few plays later Griffin got rid of the ball quickly. Although the pass was incomplete Gruden stepped up to his QB and gave him some praise.

—McCoy came in and threw a bad, late pass into the end zone that rookie Tevin Mitchel intercepted.

—The kickoff return unit that took the field first had Evan Spencer, Kyshoen Jarrett, Matt Jones, Will Compton, and Trenton Robinson along the front line. Among those playing deep were Adam Hayward and Akeem Davis. There was no returner for this particular drill.

—Arie Kouandjio jumped on a hard count, turning a third and three into a third and eight. He ran a lap. Gruden seems determined to reduce such mental errors this season.

—Trent Murphy had a very good day, spending a lot of time in the offensive backfield. He beat both Brandon Scherff and Tom Compton on multiple occasions.

—Matt Jones got just a few yards on a quick hitter up the middle before what would have been a heck of a collision between him and linebacker Adam Hayward, who was in perfect position to lay on a big hit had they been wearing pads. Gruden pointed out after practice that Jones was running upright because of the non-contact nature of the practices.

—Jamison Crowder had a bad drop on Tuesday. He made it up at least in part with a nice, leaping catch of a Cousins pass in the end zone.

—Ran in to Scot McCloughan on the way down to the practice field. He mention that he was very happy with the rookie class “both on and off the field.” The GM likes the way they pay attention in meetings and generally how they conduct themselves. The coaches have been paying similar compliments to the rookies.

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a 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."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: