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Need to Know: Five under the radar Redskins to watch

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Need to Know: Five under the radar Redskins to watch

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 10, 48 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 152 days ago. It will be 94 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 48; Preseason opener @ Falcons 62; Final roster cut to 53, 85

Five players you shouldn’t sleep on

I’m posting about the depth chart and as minicamp approaches it appears that the roster is taking shape. But there are always some surprises, players like Ty Nsekhe and Quinton Dunbar, who come out of nowhere to get a spot on the 53-man roster and contribute. Here are some players to keep an eye on.

OT Takoby Cofield—The first-year player who spent all of last year on the practice squad likely would have to get past Nsekhe to get a role. But he clearly benefitted from being at practice and meetings all of last year and he could be ready to step in if there is an opportunity.

TE Marcel Jensen—They poached the 6-6, 270-pound Jensen off of the Bills’ practice squad last year and kept him on the 53-man roster the last few weeks of last year just to get a look at him this offseason. His position is somewhat crowded but he has the size and athletic ability to step in and contribute should there be an injury.

NT Jarrell Powe—Unlike some of the others on this list, Powe plays a position of need for the Redskins. He was released in the final cut last year and was out of football. But the Redskins need a nose tackle and at 330 pounds, Powe could get a legitimate shot.

CB Dashaun Phillips—He played in the last six games of the season, mostly on special teams. Phillips will have a tough time getting past Dunbar to grab a roster spot but the two have been competing hard in the OTAs open to the media.

CB Lloyd Carrington—This is the only true rookie on this list. He seems to be a Scot McCloughan favorite and since the GM has final say on the roster that’s a good status to have. Carrington could follow Dunbar’s path to the roster this year, starting the season on the practice squad and taking advantage of an opportunity that comes up during the season.

Stat of the day

Kirk Cousins had a tendency to get off to a good start in games. In the first quarter he completed 94 of 123 passes (76.4%) for 1087 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. His 119.5 first-quarter passer rating was the second-best among quarterbacks who threw at least 100 first-quarter passes (Drew Brees, 122.5)

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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