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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 3, two days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

A six pack of thoughts on the Redskins

I have not yet emptied my brain of miscellaneous thoughts about the Redskins (blame the long layoff between games). Let’s roll with another six pack of them.

1.I look at Brandon Scherff and I see a pretty good guard at this point. Maybe he can become dominant in a few years to justify the No. 5 pick. But I can’t help but look at the troubles the Redskins are having getting pressure on the passer rushing four and think that Vic Beasley of the Falcons might have been a better pick. But we’ll see how it plays out.

2. Speaking of which, Preston Smith also could help generate more pass rush. He played 28 snaps against the Giants, almost as many as he played in the first two games combined. But it still was fewer than half of the defensive snaps. Smith probably should have beaten out Trent Murphy to start the season. He’s not a magic solution to what ails the pass rush but he would be an upgrade.

3. Perry Riley is going to miss another game with a strained calf. There’s nothing he can do about it but you have to think that he is anxious to get back. Will Compton is playing well in his place. Next year, Riley’s cap number will be over $5 million in the last year of his contract. Compton will get the third-year minimum. The Redskins could save about $3 million by going with Compton over Riley (considering about $1 million in dead cap for letting Riley go). It will be something they will ponder when the season is over.

4. I posted on the Redskins’ issues generating sacks and takeaways yesterday and I didn’t have the space to get into one of the major factors that have make big plays difficult. The Redskins haven’t played with a comfortable lead much. Being ahead allows the defense to tee off on the quarterback and gamble for interceptions. This was an issue last year as well. It’s a bad cycle, where they can’t get ahead, so they don’t get takeaways, setting up field position that is continually challenging. The need to break through it.

5. The Redskins will start just three players who are 30 or older on Sunday; S Dashon Goldson (31), C Kory Lichtensteiger (30), and the oldest player on the team at age 33, Jason Hatcher. Nine starters will be 26 or younger. In addition, the kicker, punter, kickoff returner and punt returner are all 25 or younger.

6. In Week 4 a year ago, the Redskins started just one offensive lineman who was drafted by the team, Trent Williams. The other four, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus, arrived as free agents. On Sunday, the line will have just one free agent, Lichtensteiger, and four draft picks; Williams, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Falcons 8; Redskins @ Jets 15

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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