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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

In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!