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Need to Know: Redskins still cleaning up locker room issues

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Need to Know: Redskins still cleaning up locker room issues

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 22, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry press conference 12:40; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden press conference, player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Ravens 17; Eagles @ Redskins 24

A work in progress

So we heard from another former Redskin who had less than complimentary to say about his former employer. Among other things, current Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson said that there is a lot of “finger pointing” in the Redskins locker room when things go poorly, as they are now.

"Once they get down, they start pointing fingers,” he said to the New York media. “And that is true. That is what happens. And for the Redskins -- I've only been on one team before I came here, and that was them -- and all I saw was not the right way to handle it. I feel like they didn't handle it the right way when I was there.”

While this may sound like sour grapes to many Redskins fans, it does jibe with recent reports that players are complaining about the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins after his rough start to the season. There may or may not be fire to the smoke but it seems unlikely that all of this was made up out of whole cloth. Jay Gruden downplayed Robinson's remarks but he didn't flatly deny them.

Which brings us to the topic here yesterday which was Scot McCloughan’s strong preference for ignoring need in the draft and drafting his kind of football players. Here is what he said just before the draft last year:
“I want to draft well and identify the guys are Redskins, not just as players, but as people. ...It’s all about the Redskins, it’s about passion, it’s about football and that’s when you start hitting on guys."
No doubt the people that McCloughan is talking about being “Redskins” are not those who will point fingers in the locker room or complain to the media when things go poorly. I don’t know who is anonymously complaining publicly or privately but I would be willing to bet anything that they are not players drafted by McCloughan like Brandon Scherff, Jamison Crowder, or Preston Smith. I also would be in confident in speculating that the finger-pointers were not among the players who have signed long-term contract extensions like Jordan Reed, Ryan Kerrigan, or Trent Williams.

One player acquired by McCloughan who has voiced a complaint this season is Ricky Jean Francois, who talked about a lack of adjustments by the coaching staff. But what’s different there is that Francois did not complain anonymously. He put his name on it. If you feel the need to vent that’s the stand-up way to do it.

The locker room culture needed to be fixed when McCloughan got to Washington. There were plenty of issues before the arrival of Robert Griffin III but that whole saga magnified the problems and brought them to the national spotlight.

Just like McCloughan has been unable to acquire enough talented defensive linemen who fit his vision for the team at this point in time he has been unable to fill the locker room with players who will worry more about doing their own jobs than they are trying to assign blame to others.

This means two things. First, if McCloughan passes over your favorite prospect at a position you perceive to be a desperate need one reason might be that his research indicated that the player was one of “those guys” in the locker room. Also, expect to hear some more about grumbling and finger pointing for a few more seasons. It takes time to weed out those players.

Tandler on Twitter

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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