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Exclusive: Demasio Talks

Exclusive: Demasio Talks

Washington Post Redskins beat reporter Nunyo Demasio found himself in the center of a storm today after his story that the Redskins were on the verge of releasing receiver Laveranues Coles was published in the paper and widely reported around the nation. Joe Gibbs issued a flat denial of the story later in the day. In an exclusive interview with The Blog, he told us how the story developed:
“It started late last season. I heard from a player that Coles had asked to be traded during the season. And then, as the season came to an end, Gibbs let it be known that anyone who did not want to be a Redskin next season should come and talk to him and he would do his best to accommodate the request. Coles and (Rod) Gardner were the only ones to take him up on that.”In the past several weeks, Demasio also called several players, all of whom confirmed that Coles was unhappy with Gibbs’ offense. In fact, some of them even brought up the topic of Coles’ discontent without being asked by the writer.

As it became clear that there was a story here, Demasio spoke to Gibbs last Wednesday as he was on his way out of Redskins Park to go to Daytona to see his NASCAR team compete. At the time, the reporter did not yet have the release story, only one that Coles was unhappy and might not want to come back. It was then that Gibbs said, “We (Coles and Gibbs) had a couple of good talks. That's the only statement I want to make. Me and Laveranues talked, and we have a good understanding.”At the time, Demasio did not realize that the story was going to progress. Over the weekend, however, he “called a whole lot of people”, multiple sources from “inside the building (Redskins Park), people who know me and trust me and know that I’m a fair reporter” told Demasio that Coles would be released. In order to make this work, according to one of Demasio’s sources, Coles would pay back some of the $13 million singing bonus the Redskins paid him in 2003. Sources from people with Coles’ camp had essentially the same story, so the Post decided to go with the report.

“If I was just trying to stir up controversy,” Demasio said, “I could have written in the middle of last season that Coles was so unhappy with the offense that he had requested a trade. That was true and it would have been a big story, but I didn’t want to stir things up just for the sake of doing so.”

Demasio said that while he was developing this report over the past few days he tried to call Coles agent “100 times. After not getting a call back I talked to him today after the story came out. He was quite irate that this had gotten out, but he didn’t deny it. After I said that the story was accurate, he said ‘That’s not the point!’ and hung up on me.

At one point in the past few days, Demasio was considering going with a more generic story that Coles was unhappy and that it was unlikely that he would be back with the team next season. It was then that the sources both inside and outside of Redskins Park started to confirm the story of Coles’ pending release and bonus payback agreement. Demasio and his editor decided to go with the story that appeared Monday morning.

Demasio said that it now seems possible that the Redskins would trade Coles rather than release him (as he wrote in a Post article that will appear Tuesday). The scenario would be to get Coles to agree to a restructured contract with a new team and repay some of his signing bonus with the proceeds of the new deal. That gets into some very muddled territory as far as the cap goes. Demasio talked to an NFL general manager today and even he did not know what the cap rules where when it came to situations such as that one.

Such a scenario may render the “semantics of my story” incorrect, said Demasio, but “the bottom line is the Coles will not be a Redskin in 2005. I’m comfortable with what I wrote. I’m a skeptical reporter and I checked this one out as thoroughly as I’ve ever checked anything out.”

In regards to Gibbs’ denial today, Demasio said that Gibbs “is an honorable man” and he had no problem with the coach saying what he did today nor did Gibbs have a problem personally with the reporter for going with the story.

In answer to a final question, Demasio reiterated that his sources for this story included multiple people who work at Redskins Park who knew him and trusted that he would write a fair story. When asked to give some hint as to who they were, the reporter refused, saying that “These are people who would be fired if the team knew that they were talking to me.” He also added that these multiple sources all said the same thing, that Coles would be released.

There it is from the reporter. To steal a line from another news organization, you decide.

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offenseDoes Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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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