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TW3: Redskins will deal Cousins--someday

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TW3: Redskins will deal Cousins--someday

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 10, eight days before the Redskins host the Steelers at FedEx Field.

That Was the Week That Was

—It’s as simple as this—you want a coach who is overly protective of his players’ health when they are rehabbing from injuries and you want a player who wants to get in there and play. In the RG3-Shanahan relationship right now, it’s better to have disagreement than to have the player agree with the coach or, worse, the coach agree with the player.

—Jawan Jamison was a healthy scratch on Thursday (the NFL credits him with one special teams snap) but that doesn’t mean that his chances of making the roster are diminishing. In the preseason Mike Shanahan likes to rotate his running back by the game in the preseason, not by the quarter. He mostly used Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. Look for them to get a breather against the Steelers and for Jamison and, if he’s healthy, fellow rookie Chris Thompson to get some more action.

—The Redskins are likely to deal Kirk Cousins at some point in time but later rather than sooner. Of course he’ll be around this year and there is no reason to be in a big hurry to trade him in 2014. Cousins will have two years left on his contract at that point so why trade him unless you get an offer that blows you away? In 2015 he will have on year left on his deal so that would be the last chance to trade him and get some draft pick value for him before he would likely hit free agency in 2016. That should give them enough time to figure out who will back up RG3 moving forward.

—One positive aspect of the Titans game was that there were no turnovers although a key fumble was nullified by a penalty. That’s pretty good in a game with three different quarterbacks and a total of 17 different players handling the ball. The takeaway side of the ledger registered a zero, too. They forced no fumbles but they had legitimate shots at an interception. That was early in the game when it looked like David Amerson had two hands on a Jake Locker pass but he couldn’t hold on. In the second half it looked like Richard Crawford had come up with an end zone pick but the officials ruled it incomplete and there wasn't enough evidence to overturn.

—It should be noted that even though the penalty that nullified that nice Lance Lewis’ nice TD run and catch in the third quarter was charged to tackle Xavier Nixon, it wasn’t his fault. He was supposed to be covered on the line by a wide receiver but the WR didn’t line up right.

—What has not been noted is that the Redskins win over the Tennessee snapped an 11-game home preseason winning streak for the Titans. Well, maybe it hasn’t been noted because it was/is utterly meaningless. But in any case I wouldn’t want to be a Titan this week; Mike Munchak is serious about winning when it doesn’t count.

In case you missed it

Here are links to all 37 Redskins posts from the past week from here and CSNwashington.com.

Sunday 08.04

Monday 08.05

Tuesday 08.06

Wednesday 08.07

Thursday 08.08

Friday 08.09

Saturday 08.10

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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!