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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—If Reed is out, others must step up

Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—If Reed is out, others must step up

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 13, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry press conference 12:40; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Lions 10; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 17

Around Redskins Park

—One thing I’ve learned while covering the NFL is that players don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about injured teammates. They certainly have sympathy for them and want them to get better but they compartmentalize those thoughts. For one thing they don’t like to ponder the possibility of getting injured themselves; that could affect their play. And they don’t tend to ponder things they can’t control. Jordan Reed might play Sunday as he gets checked out after suffering concussion-like symptoms and he might not. But there’s nothing they can do about it. Here is what Kirk Cousins had to say about the possibility of not having his favorite target available:
“We’d love to have him out there. He’s obviously a great player for us. We’ve talked about it all year long how depth is going to be important and we’re going to need other players to step up. It’s a part of the way the NFL season works and how long of a year it is and how much of a grind.”
Related: Breeland "very confident" he'll play on Sunday

—If most coaches had their way we would live in a world without social media. Their days are long enough without having to deal with things like the Su’a Cravens social media glasses flap from Tuesday. Here is how Jay Gruden explained it.
“Those glasses are just part of his rehabilitation. He’s coming along pretty good, so we understand. He’s still in the program and we’re hoping to get positive results here shortly. As far as his Snapchat is concerned, I think he deleted his account, hopefully, for a week or so, I guess.”
—Gruden drew a laugh when he talked about what lengths DeSean Jackson is willing to go to in order get the ball in his hands more often. On a more serious note, he did say that even when he isn’t getting targeted he helps the offense.
“Yeah, we have to. We have to try to get our playmakers the ball a little bit more, there’s no question about it. But, we can’t force the issue either, you know? But when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning or 4:00 and he is standing outside my garage with a baseball bat, I think I better get him the ball, you know [laughter]. He deserves the ball a little bit more, but I’ll tell you what, he does do, he dictates a lot of the coverage, which does open it up for other people. And even against Cleveland, I mentioned those two pass interference calls that don’t hit the stat line, those are big plays.”
—The targeting of passes also is up to the quarterback, at least in part. I think that most fans these days understand that what is called in the huddle and the play that unfolds when the ball is snapped can be very different things. Jackson may be the primary receiver in the huddle but if they go up to the line and Cousins sees that the cornerback is getting safety help in covering Jackson the first read will be elsewhere. I asked Cousins about getting Jackson more targets.
“I just go where my reads take me . . . You go back and you say based on the coverage and the concept and the way we’re coached to read it out, that’s where the ball needed to go. I think there were times in the previous games where you say my reads took me to him, but we didn’t connect. That’s the plays where you say you want those back.”
Related: Will Phillips retake his slot corner job from Fuller?

—Cousins is lower in most of the key stats than he was last year—completion percentage, passer rating, yards per attempt, among others. I asked him how he thinks he is performing compared to last year.
“I don’t know. I guess I don’t really look to try to tell a story until the end of the season when it’s all said and done. But we’re just going to continue to try and play. Each game brings its own challenges and own situations. There’s certainly a lot of times or places where I can be better, but I think I’m always going to say that, regardless of what the game was or the final outcome. We’ll just keep taking it one game at a time and try to stack up as many wins as we can.”
Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

https://audioboom.com/boos/5156356-episode-10-catching-up-with-fred-smoot-and-looking-ahead-to-philly?t=0

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!