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The Week That Was: Redskins' OL continuity rare in today's NFL

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The Week That Was: Redskins' OL continuity rare in today's NFL

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday August 17, one day before the Redskins take on the Steelers at FedEx Field in preseason game No. 2.

That Was the Week That Was

—Going into this round of preseason games, 55 NFL players had suffered season ending injuries. That means that the Redskins, who lost Phillip Thomas (foot) and Keenan Robinson (torn pectoral), are right around the league average. They have yet to lose a projected starter for even a game yet, however, so their luck is holding out there just over three weeks before the start of the regular season. Last year the Redskins had the second highest total of games missed by projected starters in the NFL.

—One are where the Redskins are particularly solid is on the offensive line. When the 32 NFL teams take the field for their openers they will average 1.75 changes on their starting offensive lines. That includes both players new to the team and 2012 starters who switched positions. Eight teams will have at least three changes. The Redskins will have zero changes. And they have all five starters under contract for 2014. Continuity on the line isn’t everything but it helps and the Redskins have the potential to be in good shape there for a few more years.

—Fred Davis wasn’t the only Redskin fined after drawing a 15-yard flag in last week’s preseason game in Tennessee. Bacarri Rambo was hit for $7,875 for shoving Shonn Green after the running back had scored a second-quarter touchdown. Chris Baker was hit for $15,750 for hitting QB Rust Smith in the knees in the fourth quarter. For Rambo, who is earning the rookie minimum, the fine will eat up 33 percent of his first weekly paycheck of about $23,800.

—Jordan Reed has shown some flashes of outright brilliance during training camp. His twisting, over the shoulder catch of a Robert Griffin III pass last week was stunning. But he also has moments where he seems to be lacking in effort like when he has a chance to knock the ball away from a defensive back to prevent an interception or when a ball is thrown that perhaps could be caught by diving for it. It seems to me that he is concerned about getting injured, perhaps a justified fear since he missed all of minicamp with one injury and about a week of practice with another one. He should play on Monday, perhaps extensively, so it will be interesting to see if his, well, cautious ways continue in a game situation.

—When Bruce Allen spoke in Richmond on Friday, he said that the salary cap penalty the team was hit with for 2012 and 2013 will have “repercussions . . . down the road.” And it’s clear that the Redskins will still be paying the price next year and the new two or three if they have to renegotiate contracts in order to get under the cap this year. That will push cap dollars from this year into future years, giving them less to spend in future years. Certainly, the effects won’t be as pronounced as they have been the last couple of years but it still will shrink their available cap room by several million dollars, perhaps more.

In case you missed it

For your Sunday morning reading pleasure, here are links to all 42 Redskins posts from the past week from here and CSNwashington.com.

Sunday 08.11

Monday 08.12

Tuesday 08.13

Wednesday 08.14

Thursday 08.15

Friday 08.16

Saturday 08.17

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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!