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Need to Know: Garçon a free agent move that worked out for Redskins

Need to Know: Garçon a free agent move that worked out for Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 26, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Nickel coverage

There was business conducted at Redskins Park on Tuesday; the building was closed yesterday for Christmas. Here are some notes and quotes from Tuesday:

1. Not every move Mike Shanahan has made while wearing his GM hat has turned out right but the signing of Pierre Garçon was one that did. When given a chance, Shanahan talked about him. “I’ve been really pleased with how he’s handled himself, how hard he works,” he said. “You could see a year ago when he did play he was the difference in us winning and losing. When he did come back, you could tell we were a different type of offensive football team and this year is no exception.”

2. Tight end Gabe Miller, signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, could end up playing on either side of the ball. He was drafted as a linebacker. “We’ll get a chance to look at him. He’ll play linebacker as well,” said Shanahan. “A couple of days on our football team, but a guy that [Director of Pro Personnel] Morocco Brown recommended and hopefully he’ll show us something in the next couple of days.”

3. I asked Kirk Cousins about ball security and he said something that needed to be fact checked. “If you throw an interception in every game the entire season, you’re going to lead the league in terms of having the lowest number of interceptions, only throwing 16,” he said. Actually, no. Last year only nine QB’s threw at least 16 interceptions. This year only seven have thrown 15 or more. In short, a pick per game is not something to which a QB should aspire.

4. Although we could be several days from major upheaval at Redskins Park, Shanahan said he hasn’t addressed it with the team. “No. Same thing we’ve been talking about since Day 1 — all of those things you address at the end of the season after the season is over with,” he said.

5. Kirk Cousins always says positive things about everybody so it wasn’t surprising that he gave Kyle Shanahan a ringing endorsement when asked. But there could be some extra incentive as Kyle could be working someplace that needs a quarterback next year. “He’s the kind of guy that I think very highly of as an offensive coordinator, and if I get to play for Kyle or someone like Kyle at his level of a play-caller for the rest of my career, I’ll be in very good shape,” he said. “So I think the world of him and Coach [Mike] Shanahan, and I think, like I said, I’ll be very successful if I get to play for a play-caller like them.”

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins have attempted 562 passes, ninth in the NFL. Last year they attempted 442 and were 30th.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Giants 3; NFL free agency 75; 2014 NFL opening Sunday 255

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and Jim Haslett news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 1:30)

In case you missed it

Is Art Briles an option?

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

MORE REDSKINS: ANOTHER TALL WR? 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ROBERT DAVIS