Redskins

Vikes' Frazier not concerned with contract status

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Vikes' Frazier not concerned with contract status

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Leslie Frazier has one year left on his contract and no concern about his future.

The Minnesota Vikings coach said Tuesday he and his agent will speak soon with team officials about his deal.

``Things will work out just fine. I'm not worried at all,'' Frazier said, adding that he's been told ``a number of times'' by owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, and general manager Rick Spielman that they were pleased with the job the coaches have done this season.

``I'm very appreciative of their support throughout the year,'' Frazier said.

The Vikings went 10-6 and made the postseason after last season's 3-13 finish - tied for the worst record in franchise history. Frazier took over as the interim replacement for Brad Childress with six games left on the 2010 schedule and was formally given the job for 2011.

Considering the turnaround by the team on the field, the harmony in the locker room and the respect the players have expressed for Frazier, he's one of the top candidates for the Coach of the Year award.

``He has positive energy, and you just can't help but feed off him,'' running back Adrian Peterson said. ``He's really been a big part of my development, not only as a football player but as a human being. He's very inspirational.''

Frazier interviewed for seven head coaching vacancies over a three-year span before the Vikings job opened: Atlanta and Miami in 2008; Denver, Detroit and St. Louis in 2009; and Buffalo and Seattle in 2010. Four of those teams have already fired the men they picked instead, and Detroit finished 4-12 this season. Only Atlanta and Seattle are in the playoffs with the same coach they hired then.

``So happy I'm in Minnesota, my friend,'' Frazier said, smiling and raising his arms during his news conference Tuesday as though he were signaling a touchdown. ``I love the Minnesota Vikings.''

Frazier said he was proud of the way his assistants worked together to help develop a young roster into a playoff team, and he said they'd all be back unless they find a promotion elsewhere. Linebackers coach Mike Singletary and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer have been requested by Chicago to interview for the head position there.

``The foundation has really been set with our team without question. Our core identity showed up. The traits that we talked about throughout the year, being a tough, smart, disciplined football team, were exemplified through this group of young men,'' Frazier said.

NFL foundations always center on the quarterback position, and Christian Ponder showed he still has a lot of room to grow into a reliable, productive starter for the long term. But even if there's a more capable backup brought in to replace or demote Joe Webb, Frazier left no doubt that the job is still Ponder's for 2013.

``We're excited about his progress. The way he played down the stretch, he was great,'' Frazier said. ``He had a lot to do with us winning those last four games the way we did.''

The wide receivers will have a lot to do with Ponder's development, and the status of Percy Harvin is the primary story of the offseason. After expressing his frustration with the organization last summer and requesting a trade, Harvin was assuaged by the time training camp began. He was playing like an All-Pro, leading the league in total yardage before he badly sprained his left ankle and was eventually placed on injured reserve.

Harvin went home to rehab in Florida, but Frazier downplayed his absence from the team down the stretch.

``There is probably nobody more excited about what we achieved as a team than Percy,'' Frazier said. ``He's going to be coming through for his exit physical, so he and I will get a chance to chat and talk a little bit. He's enthused about what has happened with our football team. We have some other guys who are on injured reserve who weren't around as much, either. There will be guys that are injured this offseason that will do their rehab in other places as well. It's not unusual in that regard.''

Frazier said their conversation will be about reconnecting and assessing the health of his foot rather than clearing up any issues between them.

``I don't know if there's anything that needs to be done. He'll coexist peacefully. He exists peacefully now. Just get back, get healthy,'' he said.

Harvin will enter the final year of his rookie deal, so the Vikings will either have to sign him to an extension or trade him unless they want to take the risk of bringing back a player with a history of anti-authoritarian behavior on an expiring contract.

``He's a great player. When he was playing, everyone was saying he was MVP of the league,'' Ponder said. ``So he's a guy that I think everyone would like to see on the field.''

Notes: In addition to left shoulder surgery for defensive end Jared Allen to fix a torn labrum, which will take place after the Pro Bowl, Frazier said punter Chris Kluwe will have an operation to repair meniscus cartilage damage in his left knee. But neither Ponder (deeply bruised right triceps) nor cornerback Antoine Winfield (broken right hand) will need additional treatment or surgery. ... Winfield and defensive tackle Kevin Williams are the team's two longest-tenured players, with expensive remaining years on their contracts. Williams said he wants to return. Frazier said he believes Winfield will be back, too. ``There are some things, of course, he wants to think about this offseason, but all indications are he wants to give it another try,'' the coach said.

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

No Redskins receiver caught more than 45 passes last season, and the team lost their steadiest wideout of the last two years when Jamison Crowder signed with the Jets in free agency. 

Even with that, the Redskins coaching staff remains bullish on the team's pass catchers for this season, and second-year pro Trey Quinn is a big reason why.

Last season as a seventh-round rookie, Quinn made the team after showing great hands and a consistent ability to get separation from defenders. Listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, Quinn is a natural slot receiver in the NFL, but last year, that role very clearly belonged to Crowder. 

With Crowder gone, that role has changed.

"Trey Quinn has taken over the inside slot role," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said during minicamp. 
"He’s confident, he’s quick, he’s got strong hands, he’s physical, [and] he’s tough," 

The toughness will be key, as Quinn twice landed on the injured reserve list in his rookie season. He played in just three games last year but made an impact when he was on the field, grabbing nine catches and scoring a touchdown in Dallas. 

Looking at Crowder's production over the last four seasons, Quinn will get lots of opportunities.

In four seasons starting in 2015, Crowder played in 56 games and averaged 5.8 targets per game. He started in 28 games, and in those games, his targets doubled to 11.75 per start. That's a lot of action for the slot role in Gruden's offense. 

Looking at the Redskins potential quarterbacks, Quinn would be an asset for any of them. Case Keenum's game definitely works well with skilled slot WRs - like Stefon Diggs in Minnesota two seasons ago. If rookie Dwayne Haskins gets the starting job, he could certainly use a consistent target in the middle of the field, and Quinn should serve that role. Should Colt McCoy take over as Redskins starter, he and Quinn actually found success on the field last season, particularly against the Cowboys. 

In fact, Keenum is already speaking highly of the former Mr. Irrelevant. 

"Trey Quinn is going to be really special," Keenum said during minicamp. 

Health is never a guarantee. Quinn struggled to stay on the field as a rookie, but when he was on the field, he did not struggle. Redskins receivers coach Ike Hilliard is typically a man of few words, but even he praised Quinn this offseason and considers him a breakout candidate for the 2019 season.


Summer is the time for optimism in the NFL. Nobody has fumbled, players are mostly healthy, and nothing has gone wrong. 

With Quinn, there is plenty of optimism. More importantly, based on Crowder's targets, there are reasons to buy the excitement around Quinn. 

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

The decision for who will run the Wizards front office long-term is not imminent. In fact, it may not even be that close.

That's according to majority owner Ted Leonsis, who again displayed a surprising level of patience in his months-long process to replace Ernie Grunfeld, this time in an interview with the Washington Post. Leonsis says he does not expect to finalize the hire until after the start of free agency on June 30.

That effectively means that if they hire someone from outside the organization, that person will have little to no impact on the team this offseason. That may sound like hyperbole, but just look at the calendar.

The NBA Draft is on Thursday. The deadline on Jabari Parker's $20 million team option is June 29. Free agency will begin on June 30 and qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due that day as well.

By the second week of July, the Las Vegas Summer League will be in full swing. But the NBA offseason, at least the most important parts of it, will be pretty much over. 

The Wizards will have already made their draft pick(s) and held the press conference. They will have likely settled matters one way or another with restricted free agents Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis. And by then, the phone could be ringing off the hook with trade offers for Bradley Beal.

Leonsis, though, is continuing to take the longview, knowing no one will really care in a few years if he nails the hire and the franchise is quickly steered back onto the right course.

The drawn out timeline raises many questions and the most obvious one is what they are waiting for. The NBA Finals are over. If they were waiting to talk to someone involved in that series, they can do that now. 

Maybe he wants to see how interim president Tommy Sheppard fares in his first draft as the top executive. Maybe all of this, the draft and free agency process, is a test.

Maybe he plans to hire someone from outside the organization, but feels that installing them now wouldn't be good timing. Leonsis hasn't offered specifics in that regard.

At this point, it seems clear the best way to make this a productive offseason from a roster-building perspective is to promote Sheppard. He has been carrying out his vision and will do so through at least the start of free agency.

The Wizards won't have a ton of money to spend, but they will have some. Sheppard is going to be making the pitch and signing players to be part of the Wizards' future.

Someone else is just going to take it over after that? That doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Leonsis is okay with punting this offseason with his eyes on the bigger picture.

But also, consider the fact this isn't just a normal offseason. They aren't your typical team hitting the reset button. They have two All-Star players signed to large contracts, John Wall to a supermax deal and Bradley Beal to a max.

This offseason should be the start of laying the groundwork for life with Wall after his Achilles surgery. And if they have any hope of signing Beal to another contract, they need to show some signs of progress.

Late in the regular season, Beal was asked whether he would sign an extension with the Wizards and he said: "I wanna be able to know that we're going in the right direction in the future."

Beal said that in the context of a potential supermax contract worth approximately $194 million over four years. Now they can only offer him a smaller deal worth about $111 million over three years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday the Wizards' intention to offer Beal the $111 million contract this summer. But if he wasn't a guarantee to accept the larger deal, then we know how he feels about the lesser one.

Beal has expressed his loyalty to the Wizards in numerous, sometimes-extreme ways. He has said everything from wanting to retire in a Wizards jersey to wanting to die in a Wizards jersey. He told NBC Sports Washington in February he wouldn't request a trade.

But he wasn't blowing smoke about wanting to see the team improve. Every indication from those familiar with his plans suggests he meant what he said. He is entering his eighth season and has already made plenty of money. He wants to win.

With that in mind, they can't really afford to botch this offseason. And if they have hopes of signing him long-term, they probably can't tear everything down around him for a rebuild. 

That makes the patience Leonsis is showing so interesting. There are still ways to ultimately get this process right. But the longer they wait, the more they will potentially sacrifice.

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