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3 reasons why contract extension for Jay Gruden makes sense

3 reasons why contract extension for Jay Gruden makes sense

January and February were rough months for the Redskins, but so far, March is improving. While the front office remains in a state of confusion with general manager Scot McCloughan not joining team officials at the NFL Scouting Combine, there is no such uncertainty with the coaching staff, especially with the news late Saturday night that head coach Jay Gruden agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Burgundy and Gold, as CSN has confirmed. 

There are plenty of reasons the Redskins want to keep Gruden around, not the least of which is a 17-14-1 record over the last two seasons to go with an NFC East title. But here are a few more:

  1. Offensive continuity - Fans may be freaked out at the prospect of losing Kirk Cousins, which oddsmakers still consider unlikely, but remember that Gruden put the offense together that allowed so much of Cousins' success. Further, Gruden was the coach that installed Cousins as the starter, standing up to ownership to bench Robert Griffin III. The Redskins haven't had consecutive winning seasons for two decades until Gruden came along. With his offensive gameplan installed, the Redskins ranked 3rd in the NFL in yards gained in 2016. And it might not hurt the team's efforts to keep Cousins at quarterback knowing the head coach is in D.C. through 2020.
  2. Players don't like him, they love him - Few coaches blend the right mix of humor and criticism that Gruden works through in almost every press conference. He backs his players up when they need it, but will point out mistakes and make changes when he sees fit. Last season, Gruden defended team captain and leader Trent Williams when he was suspended by the NFL, which players appreciated, yet benched RB1 Matt Jones when his play called for it. Speaking on CSN's #RedskinsTalk Podcast, tight end Vernon Davis said of Gruden, "Jay Gruden is probably one of my favorite coaches, all-time. And I say that because of his personality, his enthusiasm, his approach to the game. He's just a terrific coach. Everyone respects him, they look to him as a leader. He's just everything you could possibly want in a coach. I love him, I love him, and that's one of the other reasons that I wouldn't mind staying here. He allows the players to play really, really loose, and you want that in a coach."
  3. With everything else going on...- Despite somewhat promising news with free agent Chris Baker, and perhaps some movement towards a long-term deal for Cousins, the Redskins remain bogged down in the mire over the McCloughan situation. Things haven't seemed right with the GM since he told CSN and other reporters at the Senior Bowl in January that he could not speak to the media per instructions from Bruce Allen. McCloughan's absence from the combine only exacerbated the chaos. Gruden's extension should quell some of that uncertainty. Gruden has a strong relationship with Allen, dating back to working together in Tampa, and the 'Skins ship looks steady under the head coach's watch at least through 2020. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!

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NFL Draft Countdown: 5 questions for Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell

NFL Draft Countdown: 5 questions for Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell

Redskins Director of College Scouting Scott Campbell will speak to the media on Monday, and there are plenty of questions as Washington prepares for the draft on Thursday.

Some of the most important topics will not be about what college players the 'Skins will target, but rather the state of the front office since the ouster of former general manager Scot McCloughan. That said, Campbell plays a huge role in draft decisions, and it will be quite interesting to inquire on strategy. 

Below are five questions for Campbell:

  1. What now - With McCloughan gone, what, if any, changes have happened in the front office? Does Campbell have more control or input on player selection? 
  2. Final say - Again, with McCloughan gone, who makes the final call on players? Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden made very clear during NFL League Meetings a few weeks back that a composite of Redskins officials work to establish a grade for each draft prospect. The team then drafts based on those grades. But eventually, the team will be forced to deviate from the draft board or make a decision on two players with similar grades. Who makes the final call?
  3. Need or talent - Redskins fans tend to grow frustrated at the suggestion of taking the best player available in the NFL Draft, but that is also the methodology the franchise has employed. That system delivered first-round picks of a guard in 2015 and a receiver in 2016; neither position had great need. Washington most needs help on its defensive line, and the defensive side of the ball overall.
  4. Sweet 17 - The entire draft is an opportunity for the 'Skins to add talent, but no pick carries as much potential as the 17th overall. The speculation is wild about what player might land with the Burgundy and Gold, and the rumors will only build this week. Is a running back in play? Haason Reddick? Could off-field concerns drop Reuben Foster to 17? 
  5. Another arm - Washington has Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld under contract in 2017. After that, however, Cousins could be gone. Will the 'Skins look to add another passer, perhaps on Friday or Saturday in the later rounds? If they do, it's unlikely the team will carry four QBs this fall, so a decision could accompany that pick.
  6. Trading places - Might a trade be in the works? Last year the Skins made a number of trades over the course of the three-day draft, and it's likely more deals get worked out this week in Philadelphia. Does that mean a mega-trade that includes Cousins? Probably not. But it would not be a surprise if the franchise traded down in the first round, like they did in 2016. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!

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Need to Know: Third-down passing stats reveal why the Redskins need to draft edge rushers

Need to Know: Third-down passing stats reveal why the Redskins need to draft edge rushers

Are the Redskins moving towards the edge in the draft on Thursday.

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 23, three days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 18
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 30
—Training camp starts (7/27) 94
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 139

The best edge rushers who should be available at pick 17

In the big picture, the Redskins weren’t too bad when it came to bringing down the quarterback. They compiled they compiled 38 sacks, good enough to tie for ninth in the NFL.

But when you put the numbers under closer scrutiny you can see that they didn’t get it done when they really needed to. On third down, when most teams are expected to pass the ball, the Redskins got just 12 sacks on 166 pass attempts. That was tied for seventh-fewest in the league.

It’s easy to see the linkage from this to the Redskins league-worst third down defense that gave up first downs on 46.6 percent of opponents’ attempts. The time opposing quarterbacks had to pass was a factor in the passer rating of 110.3 that they posted on third down. The composite passer rating for all third-down pass attempts throughout the league last year was 86.1.

Looking at this, it would be difficult for any Redskins fan to object to the selection of an edge rusher with the team’s top draft pick on Thursday. Here are some possibilities who may be available when the Redskins draft with the 17th pick.

Derek Barnett, Tennessee—A highly productive player who racked up double-digit sacks in the last three seasons playing in the SEC.

Charles Harris, Missouri—A high-motor player who has a jaw-dropping spin move to get to the quarterback.

Takkarist McKinney, UCLA—The Bruins moved him around at times, sneaking him inside to rush through the A gap. He may not always win but it won’t be because he doesn’t try.

Taco Charlton, Michigan—He’s 6-6, 277 and very athletic. Vidaunte (his given name) recorded 10 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss for the Wolverines.

T.J. Watt, Wisconsin—The buzz is that the Redskins are very high on Watt’s potential. In just his second year as an outside linebacker he had 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss.  

Haason Reddick, Temple—This one has an asterisk as he likely would be an inside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 base defense. But they could slide him onto the edge, where he starred for the Owls, on passing downs and get help at two problem areas with one draft pick.

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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