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Need to Know: Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

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Need to Know: Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 18, two days before Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

RICHMOND—Coming into training camp the expectations for Redskins offensive tackle Morgan Moses cold not have been much lower. He got a little bit of game experience with one start at left tackle in 2014 but a Lisfranc injury he suffered in practice late in the season appeared to be costly. Moses spent the entire 2015 offseason program rehabbing instead of refining his blocking technique.

Moses’ chances of contributing this year seemed to further diminish when the team drafted Brandon Scherff fifth overall and said that he would be the starting right tackle. With Trent Williams ensconced on the left side it didn’t look like there was a spot for the 2014 third round pick.

But as the Redskins entered the second week of training camp, the first-team offense featured a new alignment with Scherff moved in to right guard and Moses at right tackle. At first the company line from the coaches was that the shift was an experiment and cross training in case of injury. As the days wore on, however, and the lineup didn’t change it become more and more apparent that the change was permanent, or as permanent as things get in the NFL.

The revamped right side of the line played well in the team’s preseason opener and it appears virtually certain that Scherff and Moses will anchor the right side in Week 1 when the Dolphins come to town.

According to Jay Gruden, Moses essentially forced the change.

"Well, I think Morgan, his emergence really, watching him in one-on-ones and watching him in pass pro and watching him in the team drills at right tackle when he was asked to do that,” said Gruden. “He was playing extremely well, and obviously when we moved Brandon inside to guard he looked very comfortable in there. With Morgan's emergence at right tackle and Brandon's comfort level at right guard, it was a natural fit and so far they've worked out very well together. We are happy with the transition Morgan has made and obviously Brandon."

It seems to be a pretty good bet that the Redskins were not anywhere near convinced that Moses would be ready to become a starting right tackle this year when the turned in the card for Scherff on April 30. If they had known that they would be moving Scherff to guard after a week of training camp they might have gone in another direction with their top pick and perhaps would have targeted a guard later in the draft.

But now they have spent the No. 5 pick on a guard and Scherff, as Gruden said earlier in training camp, has to be “really, really good” to justify the pick. That means Pro Bowl at least, perhaps even All-Pro. Whether or not he turns out to be that good, I do think that the organization deserves some credit for taking the action they believe is best for the team, potential criticism be damned.

Timeline

—Former Redskins running back and kick returner (and current CSN colleague of mine) Brian Mitchell was born on this date in 1968.

Today’s schedule: Practice at Redskins Park 3:00

—It’s been 233 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 26 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Lions @ Redskins 2; final cuts 18; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 37

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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.