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Jay Gruden "demands more" than the Redskins losing in first round


Jay Gruden "demands more" than the Redskins losing in first round

A day after a humbling loss to Green Bay, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said his team needs to "demand more of ourselves than being ousted in the first round."

A stark turnaround from last season, the 2015 season registers as a success for Gruden and the Redskins. An NFC East title to go with a 9-7 regular season record, Washington took a major step forward despite the ugly loss to the Packers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

"There's a lot to be encouraged about," the coach said. "Being NFC East champs is something to be proud of."


Even as the coach talked about winning the division, it was obvious the accomplishment did not leave Gruden satisfied.

"It's not our ultimate goal," Gruden said, "but something to build off of."

Much like he did in the immediate moments following the loss to Green Bay on Sunday, Gruden reiterated that the Redskins goal is to win championships, not just the division. While the sentiment is obvious, considering the expectations for the team beginning this year, it's remarkable to now hear the coach talk about Super Bowls. Washington is not a title-caliber team yet, but the growth in 2015 certainly allows for the coaches and players to be encouraged,

"I feel good about the nucleus [of our team]," Gruden said. "I feel good about the coaching staff."

One player that showed tremendous growth was Kirk Cousins, and now, the organization must work out a new contract with the quarterback. Asked about that situation, Gruden deferred to GM Scot McCloughan. A new deal for Cousins will dominate the offseason conversation surrounding the 'Skins, not just if a deal gets done, but what type of contract. The franchise tag is in play for Cousins, but some reports suggest a longer term deal could be in the works.

Cousins' success also meant the demise of Robert Griffin III, the former rookie dynamo that was relegated a to a third-string role in 2015. For his part, Gruden said RG3 did everything right this season. 

"Obviously he wasn’t very happy, he’s a great competitor," Gruden said of Griffin. "He handled it like a pro. In the long run hopefully it will make him a better quarterback."

Where RG3 lands will be another story Redskins fans will be sure to watch, but he isn't the only player that will suit up in a new uniform next season. Gruden knows his roster will have turnover, and the team may lose some players they want to keep.

"We can’t keep everybody," the coach said. "It's unfortunate but that's the way it is in pro football."

For the first time since 2012, the Redskins season ended with a playoff appearance, albeit a first round loss. Unlike 2012, which saw RG3 suffer a major injury and questions abound, next season for the 'Skins seems to have a blueprint for success. Certainly questions exist, as well as ample spots for improvement, but optimism reigns in Washington as the Redskins head to the offseason.

At least for now. 

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.