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Need to Know: Redskins' Robinson enters camp as established starter

Need to Know: Redskins' Robinson enters camp as established starter

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 28, two days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

Five thoughts on the state of the Redskins with training camp just a couple of days away:

—I’m going to be very interested in seeing Trey Williams running in pads in training camp and in games with full contact in the preseason. It’s not that hard for a smaller guy with speed to look pretty good in shorts and helmets during OTAs and minicamp. It’s another step for a guy like Williams (5-7, 195) to get it going when the going gets tougher. He’s very much a long shot to make the roster but if he can survive getting hit the coaching staff could become very interested.

—It’s rather amazing that a year ago we really didn’t know if Keenan Robinson could fill the shoes of the retired London Fletcher at Mike linebacker. Going into training camp the position is no longer a question mark as Robinson was very good calling the defensive signals and making plays. Mike Shanahan is rightfully criticized for missing on many mid-round draft picks but he has to be given credit for taking Robinson in the fourth in 2012. There is plenty of talk about new contracts for Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams but Robinson is another 2016 free agent who needs a new deal.

—When Robinson was the heir apparent to Fletcher in 2012, he got onto the field in some situations (Robinson missed 2013 with an injury). That was an exception to how Jim Haslett usually did things. His philosophy was to play his defensive back seven starters nearly 100 percent of the snaps. I wonder if Martrell Spaight, who could be Perry Riley’s replacement, will get some snaps in situations this year. Will Compton, who also could replace Riley at some point, played very sparingly in the games he did not start last year. It will be interesting to see how much of a look Joe Barry will give Spaight and Compton.

—Speaking of new deals, my man JP Finlay has an interesting post on a possible future contract for Robert Griffin III. Joe Theismann thinks he’ll be in $100 million territory, former agent Joel Corry disagrees. It’s hard to say before the season unfolds but if he does end up playing well enough for the Redskins to want to extend him I think that most fans will find the announced numbers to be shockingly high. But how much the deal is really worth, of course, will depend on true guarantees and other details.

—According to the weather forecasters in Richmond, the Redskins should be able to avoid afternoon thunderstorms for at least the first several days of practice. They took a chance by moving the main practice of the day from 8:30 a.m. last year to 3 p.m. this year. With no practice bubble in Richmond and a propensity for thunderstorms to develop in the afternoon there Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen will both be counting the days that they get by without having to cancel a full practice.

Timeline

—Former Redskins Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels was born on this date in 1977.

—It’s been 212 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 47 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 2; Preseason opener @ Browns 16; final cuts 39

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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!