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Need to Know: Gruden explains Redskins' Richmond practice time switch

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Need to Know: Gruden explains Redskins' Richmond practice time switch

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 17, 43 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Gruden talks about practice schedule

Yesterday in this space I wondered why the Redskins decided to change their practice schedule in Richmond this summer. On most days they will have their full practice in the afternoon and have their walkthrough in the morning. That is the opposite of the way they did it last year.

I said that the change may have been for financial reasons tied to the Redskins agreement with the city of Richmond as much as for football reasons. Yesterday Jay Gruden was asked for the reasons behind the schedule change. Here is his reply in its entirety.
“We have two practices: one walkthrough and one practice in pads that you can do in training camp. Whether you do one in the morning and one in the afternoon, that’s really up to us as a staff and what we decided was… to install in the morning in meetings, walk through the installation, practice in the afternoon, watch the practice tape, and do it all over again as opposed to trying to install in the evening and practice in the morning. When you install in the evening, sometimes guys are so tired and rundown that you don’t get their attention. We’re hoping that when they wake up bright and early, get a cup of coffee and a good breakfast, we’ll install our stuff, go out to the walkthrough, we walkthrough what we just installed, and then we practice it. I think that transition will be better and more learning-conducive for the players. The reason I didn’t do it last year, quite frankly, is I worried about the rain in the afternoon. But after going through it, I think we would’ve only missed one, maybe two days. If it is a chance of rain or something in the afternoon, we can always flip-flop the practices depending on it. From a learning standpoint, for the players, I think meeting, walkthrough, practice, watch tape is the best way to do it.”
So, there you have the football reasons for making the switch. And, as I should have mentioned in the post yesterday, in 2013, the first year that training camp was in Richmond, Mike Shanahan had the walkthough in the morning and the padded practice in the afternoon. So there is a rational case to be made for the padded practices in the morning and for having them in the afternoon.

Did the financial considerations figure in pushing the decision towards having the heavy, more entertaining practice in the afternoon? You’ve heard what the coach said and you’re also familiar with the way this organization does business. You can decide.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Minicamp practice 1 p.m.; offensive coaches available coming off the field. Jay Gruden news conference approx. 3 p.m.

—It’s been 171 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 88 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 43; Preseason opener @ Browns 57; final cuts 81

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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!