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Need to Know: Redskins rookie camp roundup

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Need to Know: Redskins rookie camp roundup

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 16, eight days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 127 days ago. It will be 119 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: OTAs start 8; Redskins training camp starts 73; Preseason opener @ Falcons 87

Hot topics

—Center Austin Reiter, a seventh-round draft pick last year, has put on some pounds. Last year he spent most of the year on the practice squad, making him eligible to attend this rookie camp, while being listed at 6-3, 296. His new weight has not been revealed but he is clearly bigger. But he still has some work to do to get a spot on the depth chart—bigger maybe not better. Last year it was telling that when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, the team signed veteran Brian de la Puente to be the backup center rather than bringing Reiter off of the practice squad. It’s hard to see him challenging Lichtensteiger for the starting job at center but he could battle Josh LeRibeus for the backup spot.

—There was a lot of fan buzz about Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, who was a lot of fun to watch in college. But the facts are that he’s 5-11 and from a spread-style offense. “He’s another shotgun-type guy and not used to being under center,” said Jay Gruden. “But I thought he handled it very well. Did a nice job and threw some good balls.” He also threw some pretty bad balls. He was one of the QB’s in this passing drill that frustrated Gruden (the video ends just before the coach's NSFW outburst quoted at the bottom of the Instagram post).

Gruden after this drill: I'm going to throw these f-ing balls if you can't do better.

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—A year ago, the Redskins paid offensive tackle Takoby Cofield the maximum allowable signing bonus to get the Duke product on board as an undrafted free agent. He spent last year on the practice squad and he is back to try to make the roster again. On the field on Saturday you could tell that he has spent a year practicing with an NFL team, moving fluidly and showing good fundamental techniques. He could have a legitimate shot at beating out Ty Nsekhe for the backup tackle spot. That won’t be easy to do since Nsekhe, who essentially was a 30-year-old rookie, held his own when he was called upon. But Cofield will have a shot.

—Su’s Cravens lined up at inside linebacker during camp and that confused many who thought he was going to be a safety or outside linebacker. But ILB is just a temporary stop for the second-round draft pick. “Initially we have to teach him a position, and right now it’s going to be the inside linebacker,” said Jay Gruden. That’s a good starting spot to learn the entire defense and that is a first step for a hybrid defensive player. It may be a while before we see Cravens’ full versatility on display. It’s a tall task for a rookie to learn one position in the four months between the draft and the start of the regular season. There could be a substantial learning curve when it comes to being able to handle multiple positions. How fast he can move around and become the chess piece that he is envisioned to be will be up to him and how soon he can learn multiple positions.

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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.