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Need to Know: Is the Redskins' depth chart at outside linebacker set?

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Need to Know: Is the Redskins' depth chart at outside linebacker set?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 9, two days before the Washington Redskins open their preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:30; Jay Gruden news conference after practice, approx.. 3:30

—The Redskins last played a game 212 days ago. It will be 34 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason vs. Jets @FedEx Field 10; Final roster cut 25; Cowboys @ Redskins 40

Read and react: Jay Gruden

On if he’s decided how much the starters will play vs. the Falcons:
“Not yet. You know, we’ll play it by ear, see how we do out at practice today and we’ll have a staff meeting tonight and then make a decision.”
I’m not sure what would make Gruden change from having his starting offense go one series if they move the ball and two if they don’t. The starting defense will probably go two series. It’s not like Gruden to go unconventional in situations like this.

On if Trent Murphy, who just moved back to outside linebacker, would focus more on pass rushing that coverage:
“Originally that was our plan. We’re trying to get him going forward more often. He, Preston [Smith], Ryan [Kerrigan] will be our feature ends – Houston Bates. We’ll see what happens with the other guys who are competing for jobs – Willie Jefferson, Lynden Trail, Double E [Ejiro Ederaine] and Shiro Davis, so we’ll see what happens there. But we’ll try to get him going forward more, yes.”
So it looks like the roster spots at OLB are set, with Kerrigan, Smith, Murphy, and Bates. That’s what Gruden just said. If you’re in the “we’ll see what happens” group I think you might want to get used to living on a practice squad salary at best.

On Su’a Cravens’ position
“We’re going to try him at linebacker first. He’s a 20-year-old kid and coming in here he has got to learn one spot first. He needs to learn the defense, so we figured inside linebacker in nickel and dime situations is the spot to teach him the defense first. From there we can branch off, see his skill set, move on and try him at safety – maybe nickel – whatever it is. Right now we feel like the best place for him learning the defense is at linebacker.”
This is for those of you who are worried that the Redskins will want the 6-1, 222 Cravens to play inside linebacker on first down and plug the hole against big running backs. When will be in when the other team is likely to pass and he will cover and occasionally rush. And he could be more of an in-the-box safety than a linebacker. So sit back, relax, and watch how his role evolves and develops.

On if there is a better example for young players than Ryan Kerrigan:
“Not really, no. He’s very humble, number one. Keeps to himself and does exactly what’s asked of him in practice. He practices hard; in fact, we have to pull him back a little bit because he practices so hard and we want to keep him healthy for the 16-week grind. He’s a top-notch guy, on and off the field, character-wise.. He’s what you’re looking for.”
I’m not sure if Kerrigan’s sack numbers will ever quite live up to his contract. But he’s a guy you want to keep around because of this. One of the things that Scot McCloughan emphasizes in building a team is having players around who serve as the blueprint for other young players who come into the program. Kerrigan is worth a bonue over his sack numbers just for that.

Tandler on Twitter Instagram

An hour after practice ended Josh Norman is still signing autographs. #Redskins

A photo posted by Rich (@richtandler) on


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!