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Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

A lot of Redskins fans were encouraged when Kirk Cousins broke out into praise of almost everything Redskins when talking about his prospects for a new contract earlier this week.

“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches," he told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation on Wednesday.

I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games,”

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This is not the first time we have heard such talk from Cousins in recent weeks. Last month he was on a podcast with Peter King of TheMMQB.com.

“This is an incredible fan base; it’s one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from,” he told King.

“I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere.”

Saying “I love this organization” and talking about a desire to return the team to the glory days is quite a leap from the cold response he gave to a question about his future in Washington asked right after the Redskins’ season ended.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

It should be noted that this question came minutes after a gut-wrenching loss and the outcome had been sealed when Cousins threw a late interception. But the comments were in line with what he said often in the previous several months when asked about his future in Washington. It sounded like he would only stay if forced to via a second application of the franchise tag.

So, should Cousins’ recent change of tone be taken as a sign that the persistent reports that he is very reluctant to commit to staying with the Reskins are no longer valid? Has he changed his mind?

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Circumstances have changed since Cousins said that staying wasn’t his decision to make. Gruden got an extension and he is now under contract through the 2020 season. As he approaches his age 29 season he may be growing reluctant to pull up stakes and start all over again

But all the positive talk is just that, talk. Showing a desire to stay in Washington increases his leverage. It may all be a negotiating tactic.

In addition, no matter what happens on Cousins’ end a deal will not get done if the Redskins don’t come forward with a serious offer.

The last reported offer made by the Redskins was about $20 million per year. Considering that Cousins’ salary this year is nearly $24 million and the next tag will net him anywhere from $28 million to $34 million, that’s not an offer that is going to make anything happen.

So, while it is better for Cousins to be talking up the Redskins organization than it is for him to be utterly non-committal there is still a long way to go until a long-term contract might be signed.

It still would be surprising if a deal got done by the July 15 deadline.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Watching Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum, one quarterback definitely stands out

Watching Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum, one quarterback definitely stands out

The Redskins might be just in the beginning of a quarterback battle, but at Monday's OTA session, it seemed pretty clear which player would eventually win. 

Dwayne Haskins made a number of impressive throws while he was on the field, and while Case Keenum had his share of good passes too, the rookie shined. Even on the surface: Haskins looks the part of a franchise quarterback, standing 6-foot-3 and 230 lbs. Keenum is listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs, but that seems fairly generous. 

When Haskins throws the ball, it zips through the air. He can go deep and has touch on his underneath routes. Keenum gets the ball where it needs to be, but there's a difference in velocity. 

Let's be crystal clear, however, that one OTA session in May will not determine the starting quarterback job. While Keenum and Haskins are both learning the Redskins offense, Keenum has proved he can stand in the pocket of an NFL game and make plays. Haskins has never seen the size or speed of NFL defensive linemen. 

"It’s a long process and I think they both handled it well today," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "Hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow and the next day and so on and so forth and I’m sure it will be a good, lengthy competition with some great players going at it."

A few, unexpected things stood out with Haskins.

Though he has a long windup on his throws, the ball gets out plenty fast. He also seemed quicker in the pocket than some of his NFL Scouting Combine numbers would suggest. Haskins certainly isn't fast, but he's not a plodder either. That said, Keenum does seem to have the advantage in squirting through the line of scrimmage and keeping plays alive. That's something Gruden really likes in his passers.

Both of the QBs seemed comfortable with their role in the competition. 

"It’s normal. I compete every day whether I’m playing football, playing ping pong, playing golf, I’m competing. I’m competing against myself. I’m competing against the defense. In the quarterback room, we’re always competing," Keenum said. "Competition makes you better and that’s what the spring is about."

Haskins sounded very tactful in his responses; respectful of the veterans already on the team in Keenum and Colt McCoy, yet also eager to get more work.

"I want to be with the best, be around the best, and compete with the best. All season I’ll be around working out with the best quarterbacks on my team," the rookie said. 

Planned or not, Haskins also seemed modest in his goals for the OTA session. 

"I didn’t have any expectations for today, I just wanted to execute. The biggest thing for me was going to play right in the huddle."

That stands out in stark contrast to the Redskins last first-round rookie passer, Robert Griffin III. Expectations for RG3 were out of control, almost immediately, and while parts of his rookie season actually lived up to the hype, that situation was not healthy or sustainable. It's smart for Haskins to set reasonable goals at this stage of his career. Calling plays correctly in the huddle will get him on the field more, and that will give him more chances to make big plays.

It's a learning process, and at OTAs, Haskins showed a willingness to start on the ground floor. In a world of egos and branding, that's a sage move. 

While McCoy was not present on the field at OTAs, he is in Ashburn. He will be a part of this competition, but he needs to get healthy soon. Gruden didn't provide much of an update when asked about McCoy, though the coach did say the quarterback should be back on the field for training camp.

McCoy knows the Redskins offense backward and forward, but without him on the field, Keenum and Haskins are learning the Redskins plays at the same time. And that means while Gruden is looking at a rookie and a veteran, neither player has much of a leg up on his playbook. 

"I think we have to grade them based on production out here every day. Every day is a new grade, every day you see how they’re developing, see how they’re getting better, see if they’re making the same mistakes over and over. But it’s a process, this is the first time Dwyane has had a chance to call plays in a live huddle and go after a live defense and this is the first time Case has had a chance to do that with the Redskins terminology. So, we don’t expect perfection on the day one, but we do expect the guys to know what they’re doing when we go out to the practice field, execute and then continue to get better each and every day."

Get better each day. Compete. That's the cornerstone of success in the NFL, and for the Redskins, how QB1 will find his spot.

"Somebody is going to rise I would think," the coach said. "The cream always rises to the top and we’re hoping that’s the case.”

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Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Redskins officials fear that linebacker Reuben Foster has torn the ACL in his left knee, sources tell NBC Sports Washington.

Additionally, there is concern about a more significant injury that could include the artery in his left leg, sources said. 

Foster went down on his first snap in a non-contact drill during OTAs on Monday after stepping on the leg of guard Tyler Catalina. Immediately, Foster fell to the ground, and it was obvious he was in intense pain. He was audibly screaming and crying while writhing in pain on the field. 

Moments later, the Redskins medical staff rushed out to Foster, and within a matter of minutes, his leg was placed into a stabilizing device. He was then helped onto a cart and wheeled off the practice field. 

After practice, Jay Gruden said the team was unsure of Foster's prognosis but did say, "I’m just very disappointed in what happened in his first rep as a Redskin. He runs through the gap and gets injured."

The Redskins took a major public relations hit by signing Foster last fall, and the team's belief was that his play on the field would be worth the controversy that enveloped his signing. Foster won't be playing in 2019, but remains under contract for 2020, and Washington will have the option to keep him in 2021. 

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