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Need to Know: Already a winner in Redskins' competition at left guard?

Need to Know: Already a winner in Redskins' competition at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 1, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Read and react

Some quotes from Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins with my reaction to them.

Gruden on the situation at left guard: “We’re going to let them compete this week, let them get a lot of reps and see how it goes. Right now, I’d say Spencer Long has probably got the leg up, but we’ll see.”
React: Long is supposedly competing with Arie Kouandjio to see who replaces Shawn Lauvao in the starting lineup. But it looks like Long has the clear edge. Per a source, he took the majority of the first-team reps in practice. He will probably get the call but I wouldn’t rule out Kouandjio getting his shot at some point later this season.

Cousins on the two overthrows of Jordan Reed in the end zone in the second quarter against the Giants: "Yeah, I thought the first one Jordan beat him so much that a part of me said, 'Don't overthrow him. Just give him a chance,’ you know? When you win that much at the line of scrimmage, you start to try to aim it and try to give him a chance to just make sure it's not overthrown. As a result, sure enough, when you start aiming it and not throwing it, it gets underthrown and the [defender] was able to recover . . .  then other one to Jordan was a tough deal where the protection, the safety blitz got on me quickly and I wasn't able to set my feet and let it go. And that was another one where you felt like Jordan had beat his guy and if the ball had been able to be thrown further out potentially could've been a touchdown as well.
React: If Cousins makes these two throws, there is not nearly as much conversation about his interceptions. It’s OK to throw some interceptions if you don’t let opportunitites for positive plays get away. That's why we talk about touchdowns compared to interceptions instead of talking about each of them in isolation. If he learns from his mistakes, he’ll be fine. If not, well, it will be someone else’s turn on the Redskins’ quarterback carousel.

Gruden spreading the credit for the team only allowing four sacks in three games: When you're talking about sack numbers, a lot of people want to point just to the offensive line, but really it's the quarterback also. It's throwing the ball on rhythm. It's getting the ball out of your hands when there's pressure. It’s tight ends in protection if need be if they're chipping. It's the running backs in protection. It's the receivers going to the right depth and being in the right spot.
React: I trust that we all realize now that sacks are not the sole responsibility of the offensive line. A quarterback can prevent a lot of them. Last year, with a generally poor offensive line, and this year, with an improved line, Cousins has been among the better QBs in the league at keeping himself upright.

Cousins said that he went back and watched the film of his start against the Eagles last year: “I watched that game film this week and really it was I guess a pleasant surprise to see how far I’ve come since that game. It was a productive game offensively, but, boy, we left a lot of plays out there. I thought my footwork was pretty inconsistent. I thought some of my decision making or just my overall procedure of playing the quarterback position was inconsistent at times.”
React: Cousins completed 30 of 48 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns in that 37-34 loss in Philly last October. It would not seem to be a game that a quarterback would look back and have the feeling that he should have done something better. It is good that Cousins can find things that need to be corrected even after an extremely productive game.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden, Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 3 Redskins @ Falcons 10; Redskins @ Jets 17

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

In case you missed it

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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