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Want to know why Redskins coaches value Ryan Grant? Here's a specific example

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USA Today Sports

Want to know why Redskins coaches value Ryan Grant? Here's a specific example

Ryan Grant played well against Philadelphia last week.

He made four catches for 61 yards, and seemed like the only Redskins wide receiver without a glaring mistake or question mark. 

Still, for many fans, the Redskins coaches trust in Grant comes with confusion or disagreement.

In the three previous seasons, Grant has produced little, yet he keeps hitting the field and making the team. In fact, with 61 yards in Week 1, Grant is close to his entire 2016 total of 76 receiving yards.

Here's the thing: Redskins coaches, certainly including Jay Gruden, like Grant for more than just on-field production. He plays special teams well and knows all three receiver positions.

And it all starts in practice. 

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On Thursday, a familiar scene played out while the Redskins skill players ran through formation drills with the quarterbacks. During these plays, the coaches will bark out a specific formation, and various players will run out to their positions. Three quarterbacks then throw three different balls to pass catchers as they run various routes. This simulates one play-call while showing each player what their role can be in the scheme.

The nature of these drills involves a lot of players. Three quarterbacks, usually at least four guys running routes. Do the math and there's a lot of possible combinations. 

Often, a formation will get called and the exact players aren't back to the line of scrimmage, or a player is talking with a coach. Nobody is doing anything wrong, it's just the little minutiae that takes place in practices, day after day, week after week. 

During one specific drill, QB Kirk Cousins realized he was short one receiver. 

"I need a zebra," Cousins shouted. "I need a Z."

Cousins meant he needed a Z receiver, as there was nobody lined up in the inside slot position where a wideout would normally play. Again, nothing wrong with this picture, just a matter of bodies. 

Within seconds, Grant popped into position. He was there almost as quick as Cousins finished saying the letter Z. 

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A few seconds after that, the quarterbacks took a simulated snap. The play went off, the receivers, running backs and tight ends on the field ran their routes, three passes got thrown. 

Grant ran his route, then hustled back to the line of scrimmage. 

In the scheme of a Redskins practice, it was not a big deal. Not even the slightest hint of a blip on the radar. 

But when fans ask why coaches like Grant so much? It was a prime example. 

Grant knows all three receiver positions. While they may know the concepts, Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson won't run many inside slot routes. That role belongs to Jamison Crowder, a guy that won't run many outside routes.

Grant can run them all. He knows them, and he can quickly jump into position. 

His ability to line up at all those spots allows the team to not miss a beat in practice, and there's value in that. Coaches know it. Maybe this will help fans understand too. 

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If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

One of the best linebackers of the last decade, Luke Kuechly retired from football this week in a move that stunned many. For years Kuechly has dealt with injuries, including multiple concussions, and decided his body could not withstand anymore life in the NFL. 

Or at least being on the field. 

A new NFL Network report suggested that Kuechly could be looking to stay in the game in a coaching or consulting role, and that it could happen this season. 

"I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL. As a player we have," Mike Garafolo said on Good Morning Football.

The natural question for Redskins fans becomes if Kuechly could land in Washington. New Redskins coach Ron Rivera was with the Panthers when the team drafted Kuechly ninth overall in 2012, and the duo worked closely together. It's been widely reported that Kuechly and Rivera have a strong relationship too. 

When Kuechly announced his retirement, Rivera took to Twitter to compare the linebacker to Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. Rivera also said he "will remember Luke’s sense of humor, his leadership & 4 being a great teammate."

The Redskins recently announced their assistant coaches and linebackers coach Steve Russ worked with Kuechly for the past two seasons in Carolina. There is no assistant linebackers coach on the staff, but that's a role that could be created. There are few rules about assistant coaches in the NFL; for example, last season the Redskins employed an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach because they played a 3-4 system. This year the team will play the 4-3. 

It's unclear what role Kuechly would want, and while the connection to Rivera is obvious, so is the connection to Carolina. 

"Certainly the Panthers would love to have him be a part of their organization in some capacity," Garafolo said. 

What happens next for Kuechly remains unknown. He just retired from football a few days ago. He might need time to make his next series of decisions. 

Based on Rivera's actions so far as the new Redskins boss, however, it would not be a surprise at all if the head coach tries to get Kuechly to Washington. Rivera has hired just about everyone else that was with the Panthers in the last decade; why not add one more?

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team underperformed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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