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Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden sounds like he might be ready to again coach Kirk Cousins on a one-year contract, whether he likes it or not.

"Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to coach whoever is in the building, and if we get (Cousins) for a one-year, it’s a one year," Gruden told NBC Sports Washington (full video above).

"We’ll do the best we can with it."

At this point, Gruden knows the problems of coaching a quarterback on a one-year contract, as the Redskins have deployed the franchise tag on Cousins the past two seasons. Should Washington again look to tag Cousins, the price tag jumps to a wild $34 million for the 2018 season. Keep in mind, however, the NFL salary cap might outpace projections and creep all the way to $180 million, driving down the percentage of cap occupied by Cousins. 

Both Cousins and Gruden have talked about wanting long-term clarity, and while it's hard to say if the one-year deals impact on-field play, they take a toll on offseason planning. 

Regardless, Gruden moved quick to clear up any confusion about his relationship with Cousins. 

Asked directly if there was tension with Cousins, Gruden said, " No. I'm tired of the questions about the one-year deal."

Understandably, Gruden seems frustrated with the nature of contract talks between the Redskins and Cousins.

In 2016, Washington low-balled Cousins in contract talks and the QB decided to play on the franchise tag. In 2017, Washington made a low but reasonable offer to start contract talks, but Cousins decided not to negotiate, and again played on a one-year franchise tag. 

In 2018, it could be more of the same. 

"It seems like we just keep pushing this thing off and off and off, and eventually both sides are going to have to make a decision," Gruden said. "Hopefully that will be soon, but if not, we will see what happens."

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Jay Gruden wasn't overly critical of Kirk Cousins, but he was honest

Jay Gruden wasn't overly critical of Kirk Cousins, but he was honest

A pause can say a lot. 

Asked to describe Kirk Cousins' 2017 season, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden paused. After the coach took a second to collect his thoughts, he gave an honest answer (full video above). 

"When you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding,’" Gruden said. "Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9."

Gruden's response wasn't a glowing recommendation, but it was fair. 

"He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns," the coach said. "I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things."

MORE: 8 CRAZY BUT TRUE REDSKINS STATS FROM 2017

Cousins played well in 2017, but it would be hard to describe his play as outstanding, particularly late in the year. 

While he threw for more than 4,000 yards for the third straight season, Cousins looked particularly poor over the last month of the season. 

In December losses against the Chargers and Giants, Cousins threw for less than 160 yards. In the season finale in New York, Cousins threw three interceptions, one worse than the next. 

It's important to point out that Cousins was leading a depleted offense. Injuries hurt the offensive line, running backs and star tight end Jordan Reed wasn't playing either. 

Still, Cousins was bad. 

For the Redskins, Cousins' poor performance late in 2017 should not override his solid performance for the past three seasons. He has established himself as an NFL starter, and if he's able to hit free agency, will have plenty of teams interested. 

He also played some great games in 2017, the "flashes" Gruden described, like a three touchdown November performance in New Orleans, in a loss, or a near flawless showing against Oakland back in Week 3. In that win, Cousins completed 25 of 30 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns. 

Take note of Gruden's comments, though, as the head coach will be back in 2018 and has a strong voice in the personnel room. 

If a quarterback isn't outstanding, how much does it make sense to pay him per year?

Is that number $25 million? Does it stretch to $29 million, the cost of the transition tag? Or could it go all the way to $34 million, the cost of a third straight franchise tag?

For two straight offseasons, the Redskins have not come near what Cousins expects to be paid for a long-term deal. After Gruden's pause, it's hard to know if that will change in 2018. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden needs to see more out of second-year wideout Josh Doctson in practice before he plays more in games. Wednesday, that didn't happen, and it could be leading to some frustration for the coach. 

After Doctson played just 20 snaps against Philadelphia in Week 1, Gruden made clear that he needs to see his second-year wideout produce more in practice. Then, in the Redskins first public session since the loss to the Eagles, Doctson landed on the injury report with a hamstring issue.

"He’s just been tight," the coach said. He added, "precautionary this time of week."

For just about any other player, being limited on a Wednesday practice report means little. Doctson, however, is a special case.

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He missed virtually all of 2016, his rookie season, following his selection 22nd overall in the draft. Things seemed like he was ready to showcase his skill this season in training camp, until a hamstring injury hit. He missed a number of practices, and only played in one preseason game, before logging just 20 snaps last week. 

Gruden then explained in a Monday press conference that he can't get Doctson on the field until he can stay on the practice fields. 

"I need to see him out here at practice, you know, on a consistent basis. He will make plays in practice. The more plays he makes in practice, the more comfortable that Kirk will be, the more reps he is going to get and that is going to happen," the coach said Monday. 

It's important to note that Gruden continued to emphasize the positive with Doctson, that the coach expected the player to turn the corner, practice more and be able to help in games. 

On Wednesday, Gruden was asked if the latest setback changes that plan.

"It doesn’t help," he said. 

The toughest part is the Redskins need Doctson. He has the potential to be a top wideout, and the Washington offense struggled Week 1 against the Eagles. The team lost Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in the offseason. Doctson and Terrelle Pryor were supposed to offset those losses. The returns are early, but that doesn't seem too likely as of now. 

Gruden may well be growing frustrated with Doctson. The coach said last week Doctson was healthy, and the player reiterated the same sentiment in a media session. 

Now, again, he's missing practice time. And the coach made clear that will impact his playing time. 

The Redskins need Doctson on the field. For that to happen, Gruden needs Doctson on the practice field. Day after day, rep after rep. 

That question is slowly turning from when that happens, to if that happens. 

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Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!