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Need to Know: Gruden may have to be the one to persuade Cousins to stay

Need to Know: Gruden may have to be the one to persuade Cousins to stay

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 9, 40 days before Washington Redskins start offseason workouts on April 17  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Draft (4/27) 49
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 76
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 128
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 185

Can Gruden convince Kirk Cousins to stay?

After two years with the focus mostly on football, with relatively quiet offseasons and moderate success on the field in the falls, Redskins have crashed back into dysfunction.

Scot McCloughan, whose arrival marked the start of the Redskins behaving like a normal football operation, appears to be on the way out. The company line is that he is out dealing with family issues and his date of return to Redskins Park is unknown. But some solid reporting by the Washington Post reveals that McCloughan was frustrated by being overruled on personnel matters and that is why the end is in sight.

Besides McCloughan, the other individual who gave Redskins some hope in the past two years is quarterback Kirk Cousins. But he may be on the way out, too. He is on the franchise tag for the second straight year. The Redskins are trying to sign him long term but besides not offering close to what most agree Cousins’ fair market value is. And even if they get there, the feeling at Redskins Park is that he just doesn’t want to be there.

The Redskins’ only chance of persuading Cousins to stay may be for Jay Gruden to do the sales job of his life. While the other decision makers in Ashburn have waffled about supporting Cousins, Gruden has steadfastly been in his corner.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

If not for Gruden, Cousins would not be on the verge of getting a contract that will pay him over $100 million. The coach stuck his neck on the line in 2015 when he fought to bench management favorite Robert Griffin III and make Cousins the starter. Gruden stuck by his guy when Cousins struggled early in the year. But he finished the season strong and the Redskins won the NFC East title. He was the perfect fit for Gruden’s offense and he broke every major team passing record.

That season got Cousins on the road to million-dollar paydays. Had Gruden not stuck his neck out for Cousins and if Gruden didn’t have the ideal offense for Cousins’ skill set, the quarterback could well still be struggling to gain a foothold in the NFL.

So if anyone can persuade Cousins to remain with the Redskins, it’s Gruden. And maybe with the dumpster fire spreading in Ashburn, it’s too late already. But at some point, I would expect Gruden to give it a go and we will see what happens.

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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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Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player should we be talking more about?

Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player should we be talking more about?

As training camp continues to build, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will answer burning questions related to the Washington Football Team.

Up next: Which player should we be talking more about as the season nears?

JP's pick: Landon Collins

This might seem odd, but one of Washington’s most expensive players is flying under the radar during the transition to the Ron Rivera era. 

That would be Landon Collins. 

An All Pro in 2016 with the Giants, Washington signed him to a long-term deal last year that included $45 million guaranteed. He was good last season, but not great, and he’s being paid to be great. 

When Rivera or Jack Del Rio get questions about their defense this fall, most center around a stocked defensive front or questions about cornerback depth. 

To break through and be a dominant defensive unit, Washington needs more out of Collins, too.

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Pete's pick: Montez Sweat

Thanks to being drafted alongside a prolific college quarterback, Montez Sweat was overlooked heading into his debut season. Now, because of Chase Young's presence, he's similarly sneaking into Year 2.

That doesn't lessen his importance to the defense, however.

For Washington's unit to be as ferocious as many hope it will be, all three of their pass rushers — Young, Ryan Kerrigan and Sweat — need to do damage.

Despite not having taken an NFL snap yet, it's almost expected that Young will feast right away. Kerrigan, meanwhile, is aging and coming off of his first experience with injuries as a pro, but his track record speaks for itself. Sweat is the one who feels like the X-factor in that trio.

He's very quiet, he's amongst the organization's deepest position and he's got a ways to go before justifying his 2019 draft position. But Sweat came on in the second half of the schedule as a rookie and if he keeps that up, he'll start drawing more attention  — both from fans and opponents.

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'Washington Rexes' name suggestion creates a stir on Twitter

'Washington Rexes' name suggestion creates a stir on Twitter

As the Washington Football Team searches for a permanent new moniker, it's no surprise that some rather unique names have been suggested. Take the Washington UFOs or Washington Wanderers as examples.

The newest member of that group is the Washington Rexes, a name highlighted by the team as part of the fan recommendations initiative it's taking. The name was recommended by a fan named Carl, and the reasoning behind it certainly unique.

"Washington Rexes. I know this seems strange, but hear me out. Washington is home to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which houses an impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the largest and most terrifying predators in history," Carl wrote. "Rexes would be an impressive nickname, implying strength, power, and ferocity. The mascot would be amazing. Plus, who doesn't love dinosaurs?" 

As wild as it may seem, Carl does kind of bring up some good points. The dinosaur is a very strong and scary animal, so it checks the intimidation box. The Smithsonian gives it the local connection and naming the stadium "Jurrasic Park" or something of that nature actually works. Wait, is Washington Rexes genuinely a good idea?

Well, for the most part, Twitter did not think so.

If dinosaurs weren't their thing, some suggested picturing it as an homage to former Washington quarterback Rex Grossman. 

Washington Rexes probably won't be the eventual name of the team. But, Carl deserves an A+ for creativity. 

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