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Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

A lot of Redskins fans were encouraged when Kirk Cousins broke out into praise of almost everything Redskins when talking about his prospects for a new contract earlier this week.

“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches," he told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation on Wednesday.

I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games,”

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This is not the first time we have heard such talk from Cousins in recent weeks. Last month he was on a podcast with Peter King of TheMMQB.com.

“This is an incredible fan base; it’s one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from,” he told King.

“I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere.”

Saying “I love this organization” and talking about a desire to return the team to the glory days is quite a leap from the cold response he gave to a question about his future in Washington asked right after the Redskins’ season ended.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

It should be noted that this question came minutes after a gut-wrenching loss and the outcome had been sealed when Cousins threw a late interception. But the comments were in line with what he said often in the previous several months when asked about his future in Washington. It sounded like he would only stay if forced to via a second application of the franchise tag.

So, should Cousins’ recent change of tone be taken as a sign that the persistent reports that he is very reluctant to commit to staying with the Reskins are no longer valid? Has he changed his mind?

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Circumstances have changed since Cousins said that staying wasn’t his decision to make. Gruden got an extension and he is now under contract through the 2020 season. As he approaches his age 29 season he may be growing reluctant to pull up stakes and start all over again

But all the positive talk is just that, talk. Showing a desire to stay in Washington increases his leverage. It may all be a negotiating tactic.

In addition, no matter what happens on Cousins’ end a deal will not get done if the Redskins don’t come forward with a serious offer.

The last reported offer made by the Redskins was about $20 million per year. Considering that Cousins’ salary this year is nearly $24 million and the next tag will net him anywhere from $28 million to $34 million, that’s not an offer that is going to make anything happen.

So, while it is better for Cousins to be talking up the Redskins organization than it is for him to be utterly non-committal there is still a long way to go until a long-term contract might be signed.

It still would be surprising if a deal got done by the July 15 deadline.

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE 

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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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

The Redskins are going to build a new stadium. That is certain.

Where that stadium will be remains unclear.

Washington team president Bruce Allen spoke on Monday and explained that the team is ahead of schedule in terms of a new stadium.

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The team's lease expires at FedEx Field in 2027, and Allen expects the team to move into a new "jewel" of a stadium.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are all in play for the new facility. Currently, the team plays in Maryland but practices in Virginia.

The Redskins greatest success came when the team played in Washington at famed RFK Stadium.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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 Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!