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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden on commanding respect, Paea, Lauvao

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden on commanding respect, Paea, Lauvao

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 6, six days before the Washington Redskins open their preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice approx. 3:00

—The Redskins last played a game 208 days ago. It will be 38 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason vs. Jets @FedEx Field 14; Final roster cut 29; Cowboys @ Redskins 44

—Second-year Redskins linebacker Martrell Spaight was born on this date in 1993.

Read and react: Jay Gruden

Here are some excerpts from Jay Gruden’s press conference on Thursday followed by my reaction to them.

On DL Stephen Paea
“Stephen’s showed up a lot lately, the last couple days. He’s showing his strength. He’s a very, very strong human and he’s showing that power once we put the pads on . . . So he feels good. I know he’s looking good, and we’re hoping he has a good year.”
I assume that “showed up” means that he looked good on film. I mean, as far as I know every player has reported to the facility for every practice. Even at that, this doesn’t sound like a very enthusiastic endorsement of Paea, who is entering the second season of a four-year, $21 million free agent contract. Difficulty adjusting to a new defense and an injury derailed his first season in Washington. It looks like he is going to get a second year but if he is going to get a third he needs to do more than show up.

On G Shawn Lauvao
“Shawn is doing good. He had his first couple days here and it looked like he never left, really. As far as how he’s feeling, I think he’s still a little rusty a little bit, I think you can tell. He’s got to gain full confidence back in his strength on both feet. Once he does that, he’ll be fine.”
Lauvao was not worked back into the lineup gradually; he was taking snaps with the first team as soon as he was off of the PUP list. I now have to make him the favorite over Spencer Long, who has been sharing snaps with the ones, to be the starting left guard against the Steelers on Sept. 12. That’s a long road back from eight months ago when he needed a scooter to get around Redskins Park.

On his coaching style
“That’s the most important part is commanding the respect and getting the most out of them. That’s my whole goal is to get the most out of each individual player. That’s the only thing I really care about. Obviously you want their respect, but my ultimate job is to get the most out of each guy and win as many games as possible.”
The thing is that it’s hard to gain the respect of players by just yelling at them all the time. There are other issue such as trust and fairness that come into the picture. It doesn’t mean that Gruden can’t have some fun with the players but he can’t be buddies with them. I think that Gruden has done a pretty good job of gaining the respect of the players while remaining approachable.

On emergency quarterbacks
“We are talking about that right now. We will put a package together for somebody. It’s either going to be Jordan Reed or [Jamison] Crowder, most likely.”
This is the scenario where both of the active quarterbacks are knocked out of the game and somebody has to take the snaps. It is the football equivalent of the Secretary of Commerce coming up in the line of succession after a disaster. Although, the last time the Redskins had to use an emergency QB in the infamous Body Bag game in 1990 Brian Mitchell went 3 for 6 for 40 yards and ran it in to cap a touchdown drive. That is a big legacy that either Reed or Crowder would have to live up to should the emergency arise.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!