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Receivers try to gain separation from the pack

Receivers try to gain separation from the pack

It is important for wide receivers to get separation.But for most of the past month none of the five players chasing after the remaining wide receiver jobs with Redskins has been able to gain any separation from the pack.That is, until last Saturday.Since the spring, the identities of the top four wide receivers have been known. They gave Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan big contracts. They have been waiting to see Leonard Hankerson reach his potential since his season ended prematurely with a hip injury last year. And if there were any doubts about the 33-year-old Santana Moss, long the teams leading receiver, he put them to bed by showing up 15 pounds lighter and catching everything in sight.Most figure that the Redskins will carry six wide receivers this season. The number is not set in stone; last year they had seven wideouts on the roster for most of the year plus return specialist Brandon Banks. But they could do that in part because they only carried two quarterbacks and it seems nearly certain that both Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman will back up starter Robert Griffin III.If we go with six wide receiver roster spots there are two up for grabs. And through training camp and the first preseason game, none of the five realistic candidates for those two spotsBanks, Anthony Armstrong, Aldrick Robinson, Terrence Austin, and Dezmon Briscoeperformed well enough to put in a legitimate claim on one of the two jobs. They all had enough good moments to stay in the conversation but enough negative plays on film to keep the competition wide open.That changed on Saturday night in Chicago. Robinson caught six passes for 104 yards and touchdown. Briscoe had 51 yards on three receptions including a nice grab at the goal line for a touchdown. And Banks didnt see any action at receiver but he helped himself with a 91-yard punt return.Meanwhile, Austin caught just one pass for 11 yards and Armstrong, still ailing from a shoulder in jury that kept him out of the first preseason game, played very little.Robinson seems to have helped himself the most of all, at least in the eyes of Mike Shanahan. On Monday and again on Tuesday the coach raved about his touchdown catch and run, which came on a deflected pass.It looks like Robinson took a giant step towards earning a roster spot and Briscoe and Banks helped their cases a great deal. And it looks like Armstrong and Austin are on the outside looking in. Nothing, however, is set in stone. Armstrong should get more playing time against the Colts and over the past two years Austin has had a knack for coming through with a good performance just when he needed it most.The competition will continue through practice next week and the preseason finale against the Bucs. Making the final decision here will have the coaches up late into the night.

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Redskins D-lineman says team has 'no idea' what'll happen with Kirk Cousins

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@Francis_Sports/USA TODAY

Redskins D-lineman says team has 'no idea' what'll happen with Kirk Cousins

All around the DMV, people are searching for clues as to what the Redskins are going to do with Kirk Cousins.

Lines are being read between. Conclusions are being jumped to. Yet still, no one truly sees how the situation is going to play out — and that includes Cousins' teammates.

"No one outside of the front office knows what they're going to do at any time," defensive lineman A.J. Francis, who has a reserve/futures contract with Washington, told Redskins Insider J.P. Finlay in a recent #RedskinsTalk podcast. 

"I've learned that through all the teams I've been on, crazy moves I've seen, whether it be who they let go, or who they sign back for how much, or who they drafted. You never know. And to say you think you have an idea about what's going to happen is wrong."

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

There are only a few finite ways the Cousins dilemma can play out (this isn't an M. Night Shyamalan movie, after all). The Redskins can put the franchise tag on him again, they can look to hammer out an extension, they can let him walk or they can try and trade him. 

But, for those hoping to get the scoop from someone who shared the locker room with the quarterback for parts of the last season, sorry to say, but he's got nothin'.

"It's all up to the two or three people that really have a say in the decision making process and they're going to come up with a decision whenever they want to and not a second before," Francis said.

Guess it's time to get back to playing interviews with Cousins in reverse to hear if a secret message is being glossed over, as the wait continues for some news to break between the two sides.

For more from this episode of #RedskinsTalk, including Francis' thoughts on the team's defensive coordinator search and his opinion on Finlay's faltering athletic ability, click below. And don't forget to subscribe, either.

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John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's entire NFL career has been spent in San Diego, not a bad location. Hired by Mary Schottenheimer in 2002, he began as a quality control coach in 2002, then moved up to assistant linebackers coach in 2003. In 2004, he advanced to coach the outside linebackers, and then in 2005 he took over as linebackers coach, a position he held until 2011.

By 2012, his 10th year in the organization, Pagano moved up to defensive coordinator, at that point working under Norv Turner. The former Redskins coach of much of the 1990s, Turner was let go after that season, and Mike McCoy was hired. McCoy retained Pagano to serve as his defensive coordinator, and he stayed in that role until this offseason. 

The circumstances surrounding Pagano's release from the Chargers are a bit sloppy, including this report from a San Diego broadcaster:

The important stuff for Redskins fans: As defensive coordinator his team's twice finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed in 2012 and 2014. That's about the only real highlights on his coordinator resume, though it's worth pointing out few coaches last as long with one organization as Pagano. Below are his defense's ranks from 2012 to last season.

 

It also seems Pagano has no real ties to the Redskins organization, which might be considered an advantage. He never worked directly with Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden or Scot McCloughan, though his team's deployed the 3-4 base like the Washington defense. Pagano's brother Chuck is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!