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Need to Know: News and notes from Day 1 of Redskins training camp

Need to Know: News and notes from Day 1 of Redskins training camp

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 25, 13 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage News and notes from the rain-altered first day of training camp for the 2014 Redskins

—Even though it looks like Richard Crawford is healthy, Andre Roberts said that as of right now he has double duty as both the top kickoff returner and punt returner. He knows that’s not necessarily permanent. “You never know during training camp what they’re going to do. [It could] depend on how much they use me on offense ...Right now, I’m on top. But we’ll see.”

—Back to Crawford, he’s had a great recovery. It’s been 11 months since he tore multiple knee ligaments in a preseason game. He went out on Thursday without a knee brace or even a protective sleeve. It will take a while to see if he’s lost a step and then we will have a better idea of his roster chances.

—It seems kind of odd on the surface. They ran the morning practice as normal despite the fact that there was a moderately heavy rain falling. Then, at a time when it wasn’t raining at all, they moved the afternoon walkthrough inside. Of course it all made sense when a torrential downpour with some lightning started at a time when they would have been about halfway through the walkthrough. A walkthrough can be conducted in a hotel ballroom fairly easily and they were able to get in all of the work they had planned in the morning. “We were able to get all the reps in, so we had a lot of learning that we could get accomplished on tape,” Jay Gruden said. “So we were very fortunate to get every play in.”

—With London Fletcher gone, some defenders are going to have to step up into a leadership role. Gruden said that DeAngelo Hall is one of the players he wants to see step up. “Well, he’s one of the veterans we’re going to count on, one of the backbones of this defense,” he said. “He’s been here for a long time. He knows what good defense is all about and he’s going to lead by example like he has.”

—Hall seemed to embrace the role and said that he and Gruden has talked about it during the offseason. “It’s going to be the first camp in a long time that I haven’t had a guy like Fletch around,” said Hall. “So definitely the onus is on me. Meeting with Jay [Gruden] this offseason he kind of stressed that to me and I embraced it.”

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TimelineToday’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Jon Gruden media availability 1:00; Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 208 days since the Redskins played a game; in 44 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 13; Final cuts 36; Redskins @ Eagles 58 In case you missed it

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Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

There may not be much drama when the March 1 franchise tag deadline comes around. It appears that a Kirk Cousins tag is inevitable.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, Cousins will not sign a long-term deal prior getting tagged by the Redskins. PFT cited a source with knowledge of the situation.

This is not exactly a surprising report. The situation has seemed to be destined to reach this point since minutes after the Redskins’ final game of the season when Cousins, whose one-year franchise tag deal expired when the game ended, was asked if he wanted to remain in Washington.

 “It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Actually, the ball is in his court; he could instruct his agent to hammer out the best deal he can get to stay in Washington and then sign it. But apparently, he will choose the tag, a solid business decision for a number of reasons.

For one thing, if he gets tagged and quickly signs the tender as he did last year he would guarantee a salary of $23.94 million, a 20 percent raise over the $19.95 million he earned last year. If he plays out the season on the tag he would be virtually guaranteed of never getting tagged again since such a move would give him a 44 percent raise over his previous year’s cap number. The number is designed to make a third tag cost prohibitive and it does.

For the team’s part, there have been scattered reports that some in the Redskins organization pushed for letting Cousins hit the open market and letting his value be determined there. But that changed after Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator for the first two years of Cousins’ career and a big Cousins fan, became the head coach of the 49ers. There is no question that San Francisco would make a strong play for Cousins and the most likely scenario now is that the will tag him.

More Redskins: Under the radar issues

Where does this go after Cousins is tagged? The Redskins would have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term contract. It would still take a strong offer for the team to keep Cousins around for the long term.

Team president Bruce Allen seems to be optimistic about getting a deal done eventully.

"I don’t think it’s as complicated as everyone wants to make it,” he said earlier this month. “And we’ll get together with his agent, and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement."

That remains to be seen. The only thing that seems certain in this saga is that it won’t be coming to a resolution any time soon.

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.

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Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 21, 16 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 8
—NFL Combine (3/2) 9
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 55
—NFL Draft (4/27) 65
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 201

Under the radar offseason issues for the Redskins

We know the top line personnel issues for the Redskins this offseason—Kirk Cousins, Jackson and Garçon, D-line, etc. Here are some other issues flying below the radar:

Who’s the backup center? Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan is a free agent. That leaves Spencer Long as the only true center under contract. Do they try to bring back Sullivan? Look for one in the draft? The free agent pool is very thin but perhaps a solid backup could get cut.

Guard depth Lichtensteiger also provided some insurance at guard to his absence hits creates a double hit on the depth chart. Right now, the only backup to Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff is Arie Kouandjio. Scherff is durable but Lauvao hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012. Unless they have more faith in Kouandjio than I suspect they do they will need depth. Perhaps they could spend a mid-round pick for depth this year and then let him compete with Kouandjio for the LG starting job assuming Lauvao moves on after his contract is up  

Need depth at cornerback The Redskins’ top two cornerbacks, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, aren’t bad. And maybe Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar are good as the No. 3 and No. 4 CB’s although they perhaps should have some stiff competition. But it’s a long season and injuries happen. They have former Seahawk Tharold Simon and Dashaun Phillips on the roster and they may re-sign Greg Toler. They probably need one or two more veterans or draft picks to compete for the last one or two spots.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

QB of the future? The most likely scenario in the Cousins saga is that he gets tagged on March 1 and if he does sign a long-term deal it will not be until closer to July 15. That would leave the Redskins in a bit of a tight sport, going through free agency and the draft not knowing if their starter at the most important position on the field will be back in 2018. What about Nate Sudfeld? Would he be ready to at least back up, presumably, Colt McCoy or another veteran? If not, do they need to look for one in the middle of draft, or perhaps earlier? If they are concerned about Cousins’ status and Sudfeld’s ability to develop into a starter this needs to be on the front burner.

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In case you missed it

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.