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Need to Know: How important was the Redskins' players-only meeting?

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Need to Know: How important was the Redskins' players-only meeting?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 3, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five thoughts on the state of the Redskins

—Yesterday I presented three options the Redskins and DeSean Jackson will have regarding his future with the team. What I didn’t do was take $100 in imaginary poker chips and split them according to the chances I think of each of the three options coming to pass. I’ll got with $20 on him staying on his current contract, $30 on him getting cut and $50 on him getting a new deal with some guaranteed money and heavy on workout bonuses and per-game roster bonuses.

—I think that players-only meetings are sometimes overblown events but I don’t believe that the importance of the one the Redskins had last Saturday was overrated. This team has had issues with its mindset ever since I started covering them in 2009. With the exception of the seven-game winning streak in 2012, their results have always been less than the sum of their parts. To me, that's a problem that emanates from above the neck. The players needed to get on the same page and the ones who have played in Super Bowls needed to impart some wisdom. And they need to keep it rolling with more than a one-game pop out of the meeting.

—John Keim had a good post about Jay Gruden and his relationship with the players. Football is a people business and a big part of a coach’s job is relating to his players (just as is the case with any boss at any job). You should check out the post but two quotes caught my eye. This one from DeAngelo Hall: “You can’t help but notice him joking around with this guy or that guy. He’s not just talking to [DeSean Jackson] or Trent [Williams] or big-name guys. It’s everybody. He jokes with [Robert Griffin III] even to this day. It’s not something where I bench him so I won’t talk to him anymore.” And this one from an unnamed player: “It helps when you win a couple games. It could change if we lose a couple in a row.”

—In the post Keim says that Gruden has been assured that he will be back in 2016. Since the Redskins have now won five games they have improved on their record from last year. While Dan Snyder has been accused of having a quick trigger finger, he has never fired a coach after the team improved its win total from one season to the next. Gruden should and will be back.

—What about Kirk Cousins? I’ve found his refusal to say even a token, “Sure, I’d love to be back if things can be worked out,” when asked about his future with the team to be somewhat odd. I don’t get the impression that he has completely soured on the organization although he certainly could have some bad feelings over what has been a rocky ride with the Redskins. I think that eventually the natural tendency of a quarterback to want to stay in a system where he has had some success, especially one who is still developing, wins out over any ill will that may have been created. But I’d be a heck of a lot more confident about predicting that if he would give the slightest hint that it’s what he wants to do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Bears 10; Bills @ Redskins 17

In case you missed it

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension