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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: Quarterbacks have a lot to learn in a short time

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: Quarterbacks have a lot to learn in a short time

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Offensive line to-do list

Tandler: The offseason program, starting with the condition program and continuing through OTAs and minicamp, is more important to quarterbacks than it is to any other position. With the 2011 CBA rules they can’t come in early and get some time working out and watching film with coaches prior to mid-April. Quarterbacks have about two months to absorb changes to the offense, develop rapport with new teammates, and generally improve their games.

One specific thing starter Kirk Cousins must work on is taking advantage of his taller wide receivers. The team has added Terrelle Pryor, Brian Quick, and Robert Davis and Josh Doctson returns from injury. All are 6-2 or taller, a much bigger group than the one that was spearheaded by the 6-0 Pierre Garçon, 5-10 (generously) DeSean Jackson, and 5-8 Jamison Crowder.

“When they’re covered, they’re open because you can throw the ball high and they can go get it,” said Cousins of his new receiver corps. That’s easy to say but Cousin knows that it takes a lot of work to take advantage of the catch radius of a player like Pryor or Doctson. It requires reading the field differently and a different kind of throw. Cousins will have to develop faith that his receivers can make the play and there is nothing that will accomplish that but hundreds of reps starting next week, when the rules permit the offense and defense to line up against each other.

Finlay:  Beyond Cousins, Colt McCoy needs to also build trust and a knowledge base with the new wideouts. Cousins has been remarkably durable as a starting QB, but the Redskins coaches believe in McCoy at a high level should their starter go down. It's harder for McCoy to develop timing with the starting receivers because he gets many less reps during the season, so in the offseason time is on his side. 

It's also key for Nate Sudfeld to continue his development. Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan believed Sudfeld could emerge as an NFL starter with a few seasons of learning. This will be the second year for the former Indiana Hoosier, the speed of the NFL should be customary for him now. 

Ultimately though, these OTAs need to be about Cousins asserting himself to a new offense. Jackson and Garçon were alphas; they're gone. While Cousins piled up a ton of yards in 2016, he never reached the peak last year that Redskins fans saw late in the 2015 season. Cousins, and Washington, need to get back to that level.

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Various sources

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>>

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>> 

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job. 

Except he didn't. 

O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning. 

Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected. 

How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?

Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018. 

Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part. 

Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm. 

Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason. 

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#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.