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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 3 notes--Gruden hates 'buddy football'

Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 3 notes--Gruden hates 'buddy football'

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 27, 11 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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News and notes from the third day of training camp for the 2014 Redskins, which played out under partly cloudy skies and fairly mild late-July temperatures.

—Training camps under Mike Shanahan were not exactly Camp Cupcake but there weren't many comments or complaints that camp was too physical either. If Gruden’s comments on Saturday are any indication, the contact will pick up for the Redskins compared to the last four years. “I just like the competition,” he said. “I think it’s very important for the defense to give the offense the best look possible and vice versa. We can’t do that if we are just muddling around playing buddy football.” You have to respect a coach who hates “buddy football”.

—But this doesn’t mean that they will pound each other every day. Gruden will take it day by day. ““I think it’s dependent on how we are doing as far as health-wise, how much we feel like we are getting in,” he said. “I think right now we are to a point where we are going to do pads today, pads tomorrow and then pads on Monday. And then we will take a day off (the scheduled off day on Tuesday) and then we will see where we stand.”

—We’re only three days in but so far training camp has been distraction free. Last year by this time we had the coach and quarterback exchanging passive-aggressive comments, a season-ending injury to Keenan Robinson and a four-game PED suspension for Jarvis Jenkins. Barry Cofield appreciates the difference. “Yeah, it’s definitely about football right now,” he said. “It’s definitely about football and that’s it. We’re not in the headlines. I don’t see us on the SportsCenter ticker at the bottom every day. It’s a good feeling to just be focused on football, focused on getting better and only fielding questions about players and their activities on the field.”

—I talked to Richard Crawford on Saturday. It surprised me that he took the field 11 months after a pretty serious knee injury without a brace or sleeve. He’s looking forward to competing for a role. “Competition is always going to be there,” he said. “It’s the NFL, you’re going to see the best of the best at all times. I’m kind of happy they did bring them in because you learn a lot from those guys and I’m becoming a better player myself. I’m just trying to be the best I can be and help this team win.”

—Since it’s becoming popular to declare yourself to be the best in the business, Cofield was asked if he thought he was one of the best nose tackles in the game. He wanted no part of that discussion. “I'm not interested in ranking myself. I just want to help the team win and I want to be the starting nose tackle for the Super Bowl champions,” he said. “That's my main goal. I come to work every day and work hard. I love that my coaches support me. I'd be happy if Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson went to the Pro Bowl instead of myself and they just buy my something – just a gift to give me a little recognition.”

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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 210 days since the Redskins played a game; in 42 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 11; Final cuts 34; Redskins @ Eagles 56

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Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

If you took 100 random NFL fans and asked them to name the best player in the league, there's a very strong chance none of the 100 would say Trent Williams, the Redskins left tackle who clears paths like a snowplow. But according to an in-depth ranking system published a few weeks ago from Bleacher Report, Williams is in fact the correct answer.

The system, called NFL1000, is supposed to "bring exposure" to players who aren't as appreciated as they should be, and in the eyes of the analysts who built the rankings, no one should be appreciated more than Williams, who beat out Tyron Smith and Aaron Rodgers for the top spot. But that's still not the peak of his performance, the lineman says.

No. 71 apparently just got a hold of the NFL1000 list, and in a Wednesday Instagram post that featured it, he said his "best is yet to be seen." Sorry, opposing pass rushers.

In addition to that accolade from Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus chose Williams as their highest-rated offensive lineman, and the Professional Football Writers of America assigned him to their All-NFC team. It wasn't a perfect year for the Pro Bowler, however, as he was suspended for four games during a critical stretch in the season's second half (the Redskins were 2-2 without him).

Nevertheless, because an offensive lineman is often doing his job best when you aren't hearing his name called, it can be easy to take someone like Williams for granted. These types of awards, though, show the 28-year-old's value — value that he says will continue to climb in 2017. 

MORE REDSKINS: SETTING THE ODDS ON WHAT THE 'SKINS WILL DO WITH COUSINS

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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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.