Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 3, 70 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 70
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 113
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9/18) 229
Jay Gruden presser recap
JP wrote a story about what Jay Gruden had to say about Kirk Cousins in his year-end press conference and I did a post on what he said about injury prevention. He hit on a number of topics that I’ll recap briefly here. Some of them will be subjects of expanded articles in the coming days.
No coaching staff changes, at least for now: “We’re in evaluation mode. The staff’s all here. We’re going to evaluate our players first, you know, make sure we have a clear understanding of where we need to improve, how we need to improve, and then we’ll evaluate the staff also.” Later he said quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell is not going to move to UCLA to become Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator at UCLA. O’Connell will be the team’s pass game coordinator in addition to his duties QB coach.
How much Chris Thompson’s injury affected the offense: “Well, Chris is an impact player. He had almost 600 yards receiving in 10 games. You know, that’s hard to replace. Not to mention his rushing yards and his ability to pick up blitzes. He’s a matchup nightmare.” Comment: You can talk about “next man up”, blah, blah, blah, all day long. The simple fact is you don’t replace a player like Thompson and not lose a lot.
The 2018 season is important to the organization and to Gruden’s job security: “Oh, yeah, without a doubt. Every year is its own entity and every year is important. And we have to be competitive. We have to do better in our division – we have to do better against the Cowboys, the Eagles, without a doubt, the Giants, moving forward.” Comment: More on this later but if the 2018 Redskins don’t get off to a good start Gruden’s seat will be so hot he had better be wearing asbestos pants.
He sort of answers a question on if he would be comfortable with Colt McCoy as the starting QB in 2018: “How comfortable? Colt McCoy has done an excellent job here. I’ve always been comfortable with Colt.” Comment: That’s the quote in its entirety. Notice that he refers to comfort in the past, nothing about the coming season. Lots more to come about this.
Continuity is good; so is change: “You always want continuity, but I think change is also necessary in the National Football League with the players, staff, all that stuff. There’s going to be change in the National Football League on every team, every organization, and we have to embrace it. We have to make sure that we make the necessary changes to make us better and not worse.” Comment: It kind of sounds like he’s getting ready for a change at the most important position on the field.
Gruden remains, as you might expect, a big fan of Ryan Grant: “Well, I think Ryan Grant’s a free agent and we’re going to try and do everything we can to get him back, in my opinion. I think he, given the opportunities he got, he took advantage of them and played extremely well.” Comment: Grant would be re-signed as a fourth WR, not a starter.
Does the extension signed by Quinton Dunbar affect the status of pending free agent Bashaud Breeland? “Yeah, it has no effect on Bree whatsoever . . . You can never have too many corners in your building, so whatever happens with Breeland happens, but I know that having another quality corner that can run and cover is a value.” Comment: Sure, you can’t have too many good corners but you can spend too much of your cap space at the position. That's what is likely to have Breeland in a new uniform in 2018.
Tandler on Twitter
Pretty much the same as any guys signed to a futures contract off the street. Long shot.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 3, 2018
In case you missed it
- Podcast: Kirk, Colt and all the details from Jay Gruden's final press conference
- The case for Cousins to the desert
- Jay Gruden plays coy on Jon Gruden's return to NFL coaching
- Gruden says team will take close look at improving injury prevention
- Redskins 2017 team superlatives
- Gruden honest, not critical, of Cousins' season