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What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

While there have been a few different reports and denials in the Scot McCloughan story one thing is clear. The man who supposedly has the final say in the draft and in free agency will not be at the NFL combine this week. How will this affect the team?

The combine operates on a few different levels. One is the activities that take place on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with players running the 40-yard dash, doing vertical and long jumps, etc. McCloughan has never put much stock in that aspect of the combine.

“I think game tape is the DNA. That’s it,” he said during his introductory press conference in January of 2015. “You don’t play in T-shirts and shorts. All these kids nowadays get these speed trainers and nutritionists prior to the combine and I don’t blame them, if it gets them more money it gets them more money. I always go back to the tape.”

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The players’ times in the 40 and the three-cone drill and how far they went in the broad jump are all recorded so McCloughan can catch up on those if he chooses to. And it’s all taped so if he wants to look at the quarterbacks throwing he can do that as well.

Another important aspect of the combine is the medical exams. General managers seldom are involved here and the decision makers have access to the results.

The interviews with the prospects, however, are critical. McCloughan has always considered getting to know the potential draftees to get their stories to gauge their love for the game, something that McCloughan uses to determine if the prospect is his kind of “football player.” He can review videos of the interviews conducted by Jay Gruden, Scott Campbell, Doug Williams and others but that’s not the same as being there.

Outside of the interview rooms and stadium, there is plenty of business going on in Indianapolis. Although it’s not technically legal under NFL rules, there are plenty of discussions between GMs and agents about players who are going to hit the open market when free agency starts a week from today. This is mostly contract talk, which McCloughan is not heavily involved in. But presumably he has thoroughly evaluated the potential free agents and it would be useful for Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer to have him there for consultation as they talk contract numbers.

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Back to his original presser almost two years ago, McCloughan believes that “game tape is the DNA” so perhaps he can learn 90 percent of what he needs to learn about the prospects in his office. But if he hasn’t been at the office since February 20, as was reported by 106.7 The Fan and denied by McCloughan and his agent, that is a lot of critical missed time.

Whether McCloughan has missed a couple of weeks or will only miss the combine it is hard to believe that he will be fully prepared to make decisions in free agency and in the draft. It has been reported that his authority at Redskins Park has been diminished as of late. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s hard to see him having full authority after having been out for such a critical stretch of time.

How the power dynamic will affect the quality of the players the Redskin select—which is ultimately what matters—remains to be seen.

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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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Jay Gruden’s absence from football might only last a few months. 

The former Redskins head coach is reportedly interviewing for the Jacksonville Jaguars vacant offensive coordinator position, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Jacksonville parted ways with John DeFlippo last Monday after just one season with the team. 
 

The few times Gruden has spoken since being fired by Washington in October, the former head coach has expressed a strong desire to get back into coaching. Gruden recently told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport he’s been “itching to do something” and “would like an office to go to,” according to Garafolo. 

Interviewing for an offensive coordinator position is not unfamiliar territory for Gruden. He spent the past six years as the head coach in the nation’s capital, but perhaps his most success in the NFL was when the 52-year-old was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Behind the solid play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the Gruden-led offense in Cincinnati resulted in three straight playoff appearances. 

Should be be hired in Jacksonville, Gruden would have some promising pieces to work with. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed plenty of hope in the 12 games he started, and second-year wideout D.J. Chark enjoyed a breakout season in 2019. Additionally, running back Leonard Fournette finished with a career-high 1,152 rushing yards last season. 

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have reportedly interviewed for the gig as well. 

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