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Redskins Gruden on Jackson: 'He has not slowed down at all'

Redskins Gruden on Jackson: 'He has not slowed down at all'

If the Redskins are going to beat the Giants on Sunday and make it into the NFL playoffs, it seems likely that DeSean Jackson is going to have to play a part in it. The veteran receiver has been on fire lately. He has over 100 yards receiving in four of his last five games. In the other game in that stretch he caught a 59-yard bomb that set up a Redskins touchdown. In all, since the Redskins’ Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas Jackson has 20 receptions for 504 yards, a blistering average of 25.2 yards per reception.

Jackson was not as effective in most games earlier in the season but he did play a key role in the Redskins’ Week 3 win over the Giants He caught five passes for 96 yards but two of those catches loomed large. The Redskins were trailing 21-9 with the second quarter winding down. From the Washington 25, Kirk Cousins hooked up with Jackson twice. The first one covered 31 yards and on the very next play Cousins went to Jackson in the end zone for the touchdown. Two plays, 75 yards, and the Redskins were back in the game.

In Jackson’s recent hot streak, it doesn’t matter if the other team goes zone or with man coverage. He can beat either.

“Some of them he’s beaten man coverage, which is good to see,” said Jay Gruden. “But for the most part he’s making big plays in zones, which the two catches that he had – or three – big plays that he had were in zone coverage so it’s good to see him find holes in zones and the quarterback finding him. But, like I said before, we have a progression-based offense, especially when you play zone. And it’s up to the quarterback and the offensive line to have the time and find the right spots in the right holes and Kirk did a great job. So did DeSean.”

Jackson turned 30 earlier this month. At that age, the potential to lose some speed starts to be a concern. But not for Jackson, at least as far as Gruden is concerned.

“He’s not slowed down at all,” said Gruden. “Sometimes when he’s jogging it looks like he’s running 100 miles an hour. He’s got great speed, obviously he’s got great quickness and still has unbelievable hands.”

The Redskins need to take advantage of his speed, quickness, great hands, and production while they can. Jackson will be a free agent in 2017 and the organization may have to decide between keeping Jackson and keeping Pierre Garçon, who also turned 30 recently and he also will be a free agent. The two players combined to take up more than $18 million in cap space this year. They are likely to sign similar contracts next year and the Redskins will be wary of having so much money tied up in two receivers who are over 30 years old.

Jackson said on Wednesday that he is intrigued by the prospect of become a free agent but he will worry about that when the time comes. For now, he wants to go deep and try to get his current team into the playoffs.

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Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season.

In Episode 2 titled "This Is Where I Wanted To Be" the focus in on the players, both new and old.

When free agency opened up during the 2019 offseason the biggest splash the Redskins made was the acquisition of safety Landon Collins. Heading over from a divisional rival, Collins as well as other members of the organization break down the signing and his fit within the team. The safety also shares his story about receiving a Sean Taylor jersey and what it means to join the team his idol played on.

The episode also touches on other free agent signings Ereck Flowers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as well as the trade for quarterback Case Keenum. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on the newest member of the QB room and explains how he'll fit in with Colt McCoy.

Speaking of McCoy, the show then takes a detour to Austin, Texas. There, McCoy reflects on his time at the University of Texas as well as his up and down NFL career that included a season-ending injury just a season ago.

From one Big 12 star to another, the episode concludes with a spotlight on Adrian Peterson. After a whirlwind first season in Washington, AP is back for more. The always-dependable runner shares his thoughts on his first season and explains how he deals with expectations.

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    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    The Redskins released Mason Foster just one day before the start of training camp, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington, and while the move makes sense on the field the timing seems weird. 

    Let's start with explaining why the move makes sense:

    After Reuben Foster blew out his knee during offseason workouts, the team signed veteran linebacker Jon Bostic. In a few weeks, Bostic proved the ability to call plays in the huddle and looked like a strong fit for Washington in their run defense. 

    With Bostic in the fold, and a slew of younger linebackers on the roster in Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Cole Holcomb, Mason Foster's game became expendable in the eyes of the Redskins front office. After all, Foster had previously been the linebacker to call plays in the huddle and his strength was piling up tackles in the run game.

    Add in the fact that releasing Foster clears $4 million in salary cap space, and Bostic counts less than $2 million, and the business side makes sense, too. 

    Why release Mason Foster now?

    The timing on this seems a little odd. The Redskins surely knew that Foster cost more than Bostic a month ago, and they knew about the other young linebackers on the roster. A release after minicamp might have allowed Foster to sign elsewhere already. The good news for Foster is that he won't have to play through training camp in Richmond, and risk injury, before maybe catching on with another team. He can now sign anywhere else. 

    Looking beyond the immediate impact to Foster, the Redskins could be freeing cap space for a subsequent move. Maybe there's a player available in free agency now that they want to make a run at, or they expect a player to become available.

    It's also entirely possible the money from releasing Foster could be used to get more cash to contract holdout Trent Williams or towards a Brandon Scherff extension. Keep in mind, however, that releasing Foster is only about a 2 percent difference on the overall salary cap. His release is not making or breaking any deal. 

    What's next for Redskins?

    Foster was the team's leading tackler last season and in two of the past three seasons. His absence will be missed, but the Washington brain trust must believe that production can be replaced. Expect Bostic and Hamilton to start when training camp opens, and Harvey-Clemons to work as the nickel linebacker. This also could mean a much greater opportunity for the rookie Holcomb. 

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