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Need to Know: Can Kouandjio push his way into the Redskins' starting lineup?

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Need to Know: Can Kouandjio push his way into the Redskins' starting lineup?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 19, five days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 130 days ago. It will be 116 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: OTAs start 75; Redskins training camp starts 70; Preseason opener @ Falcons 84

Hot topics

—Can Arie Kouandjio push his way into the starting lineup? We haven’t seen him on the field yet this year but I’ve been told he’s up to about 325 pounds, up from 310 last year. He has the power and the nasty attitude that the team likes to have on the line. Did he use his year on the 53-man roster to polish his technique enough to possibly push past Shawn Lauvao and push Spencer Long over to center? We will have to wait until training camp to really get a handle on where Kouandjio is; he is one player who needs to be evaluated with full pads on.

—The Redskins over/under for wins has been put out by some offshore books and it is 7.5. I see three games being critical for them in hitting the over—Week 2 against the Cowboys, the game in London against the Bengals and at the Bears in Week 16. If they win two or three of those they should finish with eight or more wins. A 1-2 or 0-3 mark in these key games will make it hard for them.

—Looking back on it after two weeks I’m still kind of surprised that the Redskins got an extension with Jordan Reed hammered out. I figured it would happen eventually but I had fallen into the trap of thinking I had the front office figured out in terms of timing. Last year they got a deal done with Ryan Kerrigan just before the start of training camp and with Trent Williams a few weeks later. So extensions were a late summer thing for this group. In addition, there was no word that that Reed and the Redskins were close to a deal. So in my notes a Reed extension was supposed to come onto the radar screen starting in mid July. But each negotiation is on its own timetable and when it’s done, it’s done.

—I was at Redskins Park yesterday to tape my weekly appearance on Redskins Nation. One thing I noticed is that they are starting the process of installing the new practice bubble. It’s been down since the big snowstorm caused irreparable damage last winter. I’m not sure how long the process will take, it might be a stretch to have it inflated by the start of OTAs next week. Certainly, it will be ready when they return to Redskins Park in August after training camp is over.

— Oh, and Kirk Cousins, the guy who signed a contract that guarantees him $20 million this year over two months ago, still is driving the conversion van he bought from his grandmother to Redskins Park. Ryan Kerrigan’s Chevy Tahoe, the same car he has been driving for years, was also in the parking lot. Something tells me that we won’t hear about either one of these guys filing for bankruptcy after their playing careers are over.

In case you missed it 

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!