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Need to Know: Redskins OTA notes:--Gruden impressed with Amerson's performance

Need to Know: Redskins OTA notes:--Gruden impressed with Amerson's performance

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 10, 6 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Here are some quotes with notes from Tuesday’s OTA session:

Joe Barry had good things to say about David Amerson and his work ethic last week and Jay Gruden echoed them. “The reasons why the guys are here that are here right now from last year is they all are committed to winning and they’re committed to getting better. And, that’s what we’re trying to do. As coaches, it’s our job to make them better. And it’s the players’ job to buy in and want to get to better. David is a one of the great examples of coming in every day, learning the new system and competing. We signed Chris Culliver. He could have buried his head. We’ve got [DeAngelo] D-Hall coming back. We’ve got [Bashaud] Breeland who had a great year last year as a rookie. But David has come in here, opened his eyes up, learned a new system and competed just like everybody else has, so I’ve been very impressed with David.”

—Part of the reason that Jeron Johnson and Duke Ihenacho, who are competing for the starting strong safety job, are with the team is the fact that they came from winning programs in Seattle and Denver, respectively. “It’s important,” said Gruden. “You’re trying to change the culture and we’re all working very hard to do that. You bring in some people with some great leadership skills and have been at winning programs, it’s important. They know how to win and how to prepare to win.”

—Most value cornerbacks for their coverage ability. Gruden likes Chris Culliver’s physical nature and tackling ability. “I like the fact that he’s a tough physical corner,’ said Gruden. “So if there is a running back that gets outside and he has to make a tackle, he’s going to make the tackle. You know, all these screens that you see – receiver screens – he does a great job of fighting off receiving blocks and getting off and making tackles. I like tough, physical corners and then to have one that can also cover is a heck of a bonus.”

—One thing I’m noticing is that it’s hard to get Gruden to talk about Robert Griffin III. A question about that particular quarterback turns into an answer about all three QBs. And it’s not just Gruden. I asked Sean McVay about Griffin and here was the answer I got. “I think we are seeing improvement,” said the Redskins offensive coordinator. “I think Colt [McCoy] and Kirk [Cousins] have also shown improvement as we’ve gone through the OTAs. Coach [Joe] Barry’s defense has done a great job giving us a bunch of looks where we’re seeing different types of coverages and pressures. I think all the quarterbacks have continued to improve each practice.” I'm not sure if it's important but it is something to file away.

Timeline

—It’s been 163 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 97 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 8; Redskins training camp starts 52; Preseason opener @ Browns 67

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle 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.