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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 2 notes--Moss survives the mental grind

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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 2 notes--Moss survives the mental grind

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 26, 12 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

News and notes from the second day of training camp for the 2014 Redskins, which played out under cloudless skies and mile late-July temperatures.

—DeAngelo Hall had no problem counting himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the game. Trent Williams think he has some work to do if he wants to be called one of the best left tackles in the game. “I’m too hard on myself to say that I’m the best right now,” he said. “There’s some outstanding tackles in this league and I plan on being mentioned as one of them for a long time to come. But I have a long road ahead of me.”

—We don’t have a timetable for the return of Leonard Hankerson. He suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee about eight months ago, during the Redskins’ loss to the Eagles. He is on the PUP list, not a good place to be when you got knocked at least two spots down the depth chart after the team acquired both DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. He’s prepared to compete when the can take the field. “I’ve been battling all my life,” he said. “That’s how it is in the NFL. One day you can be the starter, the next day you got to go out and prove something.”

—DeSean Jackson seems to be relaxing and settling in. He had a pretty good presser on Friday, giving several expansive and insightful answers. I’ll have more coming from that over the next day or so but here’s what he said when asked if he wanted to show the Eagles that they made a bad football decision when they released him. “You know, my focus is more on my new team, my teammates and doing things that I need to do here to help my team win,” he said. “As far as what the Philadelphia Eagles are doing, that’s in the past and that’s on them. So I don’t get caught up in really worrying about what they have going on out there.”

—Santana Moss has survived in the NFL for 13 years in large part because of his physical talent. But you don’t last that long without knowing how to deal the all of the various mind games that are a part of life in the NFL. “The mental aspect wears on a lot of people,” he said. “At the end of the day, the guys who are here know how to handle it. If feel like this game can be 50-50—50 percent mental and the rest on your ability. If you let the mental part mess with you then it’s going to stop what you do physically.”

—If there was any doubt that Alfred Morris would get the bulk of the carries for the Redskins, Jay Gruden killed it on Friday. "Alfred has proven that he can handle the workload and he's our guy right now,” said Gruden. “Obviously, different situations are going to call for a different type of back, so I imagine we're going to play two, maybe three backs throughout the season."

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Timeline

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

—It’s been 209 days since the Redskins played a game; in 43 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 12; Final cuts 35; Redskins @ Eagles 57

Gruden energizes Trent Williams

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Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 23, 37 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 45
—NFL Draft 94
First Sunday of 2017 season 230

Staying in house

­There are reasons to dislike the hire of Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator but the notion that he got the job because he is buddies with Jay Gruden really doesn’t hold water. They had no connection prior to last year and with them working on opposite sides of the ball they didn’t work side by side. I’ve heard the two have a friendly relationship but it’s not like he’s out of the Tampa Bay Yacht Club or anything.

I know that everyone is obsessed with yardage rankings, which is a pretty weak indicator of the quality of a defense. Since you want to know, in Manusky’s nine seasons as a defensive coordinator his defenses have finished ranked 18th in yards allowed on average. In reality, Football Outsiders’  DVOA is a more accurate measure of the effectiveness of a defense since it takes the strength of the opponents into account. There isn’t much difference there, Manusky’s average DVOA ranking was about 17. In other words, he’s run middle of the pack defenses. Sure, you'd like them to do better but having a defense that's around average would represent an improvement over most of the last seven seasons.

How has his talent been? Three different players have been first-team All-Pro selections. LB Patrick Willis made it three times, S Eric Weddle and DE Robert Mathias once each. Players under him made the Pro Bowl 13 times with Willis (3), Mathis (2), and DE Justin Smith (2) making it more than once. His defenses had three Pro Bowlers on one occasion when LB D’Qwell Jackson, CB Vonta Davia, and S Mike Adams all made it. That year the Colts defense was ranked 11th in yards and 13th in DVOA.

It remains to be seen how much the Redskins will change schematically. Manusky has run both 4-3 fronts and 3-4’s so the Redskins could make a switch. Even if they go with a 3-4 base the unit is likely to be more aggressive than it was under Joe Barry. Some fans seem to be worried that promoting an assistant coach means that thinks will be done the same. Let me ask you this: If your boss was fired for not getting the job done and you were promoted into his position, would you do things the same way he did? I didn’t think so.

­There will be continuity on the offensive side of the ball as Matt Cavanaugh is going to get moved into the offensive coordinator job. It’s Gruden’s offense anyway so there would not have been much change even if they had brought someone in from the outside. It seems likely that Gruden will call the plays, although we won’t know for sure for a while. The only immediate question on that side of the ball is if Wes Phillips will stay on as the tight ends coach or if he will follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. That should be resolved over the next several days.

Tandler on Twitter

This was in response to a tweet saying that Kyle Shanahan is likely to get roster and personnel control when he becomes the head coac of the 49ers.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington