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Need to Know: Redskins camp notes and quotes: Robinson misses out on Gronk

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Need to Know: Redskins camp notes and quotes: Robinson misses out on Gronk

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 5, two days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

—The Redskins released their depth chart and Santana Moss was the top punt returner with DeSean Jackson second. If Moss and Jackson combine to return as many as five punts all year it will be a stunning development. I suspect that one of the guys listed third or fourth, Andre Roberts and Richard Crawford respectively, will end up being the main guy.

—Like everyone else we will talk about the depth chart but in reality it doesn’t mean much, according to Jay Gruden. “"Nothing is set in stone right now,” he said. “We just had to do it for the media. So we just put the depth chart out there and we have a pretty good idea who our ones are and our twos are, but there's still plenty of competition at a lot of spots. But this is our starting point right now. Sometimes if it’s close, we put the veteran in front and then we’ll just go from there.” Sounds to me like it’s like a preseason coach’s poll in college football where they’re just sort of filling in the blanks when they get to the bottom 10.

Yesterday I said that perhaps Keenan Robinson would be able to get in some work against Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and get some tips on covering a big tight end, one of the best in the business. However, Gronkowski, who is recovering from a torn ACL, did not make the trip to Richmond. Robinson was disappointed. “It would have been nice to cover him,” he said. “Obviously he’s not the kind of quick and agile tight end as Jordan Reed. But he’s a different monster. He’s the kind of guy who can body you up and use his body position. That would be good for me to go against. We have Logan Paulsen but I think Gronkowski is a little taller than him. He’d be great to go against.”

—Gruden should be getting a nice holiday gift from Andy Dalton. He was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator for all three years that Dalton has been in the NFL. In part because of Gruden, Dalton signed a six-year, $96 million contract extension yesterday. As one might expect, Gruden was happy for his ex-quarterback. ““I’m very happy for him. Much deserved,” he said. “He’s won a lot of games in Cincinnati and the future is very bright for him and the Bengals. I’m very proud of the fact that I was part of bringing him into Cincinnati and I’m glad he got a good deal. He’s got a great family, works hard and is a heck of a person.”

—Bill Belichick’s first job in the NFL was with the Colts, who had just hired Redskins assistant Ted Marchibroda as their head coach. Marchibroda literally brought the Washington playbook with him and he said that his first job was to white out “Washington Redskins” from all of the pages and write in “Baltimore Colts”. Said he caught some flack when he missed a few pages.

If you have any questions about what's going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Patriots 1:35; Jay Gruden media availability after practice; Player availability coming off the field; Tom Brady availability TBD

—It’s been 219 days since the Redskins played a game; in 33 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Bills 13; Final cuts 25; Redskins @ Eagles 47

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offenseDoes Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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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