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Need to Know: 5 Gruden notes and quotes from Wednesday's Redskins OTA

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Need to Know: 5 Gruden notes and quotes from Wednesday's Redskins OTA

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 5, 12 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Here are five quotes and notes from Jay Gruden following the Redskins’ OTA session on Wednesday.

—Some think that Kory Lichtensteiger could get pushed out at center at some point but Gruden appears to be a big fan: “Kory's done a great job at center. He's coming, it’s a natural transition for him. He's great in the run game, he gets up to the second level with ease and in the pass protection with the calls that he's making already, he's done a great job already. We're excited about what he brings to the table, both in the run game and in the pass game.”

—For the second week in a row, Gruden indicated that you’d be a fool to bet against Keenan Robinson starting at inside linebacker Week 1 in Houston. “He's a lot further ahead than we anticipated, stamina-wise, mentally. He's doing a great job, obviously, but the linebacker position is hard to judge in shorts. But it is exciting to see him run around, he's a very fluid athlete. Like I said last week, I think he's active in the passing game and his run fits have been outstanding.”

—At some point Morgan Moses might be the starting right tackle but he’s going to have to learn how to play both sides first: “He needs to know both tackle spots. Right now, we have him at the right. He’s obviously more comfortable on the left side right now because that’s what he’s been doing the last few years in college. You can see the right side he struggled a little bit and then went back to the left side, he was a lot more natural. But he’s going to have to learn both and that’s what rookie tackles have to do.”

—Moses isn’t the only O-lineman who will have to learn multiple positions: “You have to have guys able to play left tackle, right tackle, center, right guard, left guard and that’s why we kind of brought the people in that we brought in. It’s very important for each position to not just know one spot, but to be able to move around because throughout the season you see injuries happen and the guys have to fill in at spots they’re not used to playing.”

—Like every coach, Gruden would like to see his defense get pressure without having to throw the kitchen sink at the QB: “I think the big thing is if you get pressure with four guys, you have a much better chance. You saw the success Seattle had – they had a very seldom blitz. They just got pressure with their four guys. They were able to mix their coverages up, play good sound defense. That starts right there. We have the ability, I feel like – with four, five guys that we have being able to rush the passer, keeping them fresh – that we can get pressure.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 158 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 94 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 12; Training camp 49; Redskins @ Eagles 108

In case you missed it

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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.