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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 19, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 7:30 pm, FedEx Field, telecast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 222 days ago. It will be 24 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 15; Cowboys @ Redskins 30; Browns @ Redskins 44

The Redskins week that was

Cousins' goals for Redskins: win games, be boringI’m not sure if they will ever get to be the San Antonio Spurs, as Cousins said his goal is. Since the 1998-1999  season the Spurs have won five titles. The Redskins have not made an appearance in their conference championship game in that time span. Even if the Redskins did get to be a powerhouse, the NBA is better set up to have a dynasty that is the NFL. But the part about being boring as far as distractions is absolutely possible. It's the way most NFL teams operate.

NTK: Cousins thinks he missed a chance—Against the Falcons, Cousins said that one of the running plays that didn’t go much of anywhere while he was in the game could have been avoided had he audibles to a different play. He didn’t say why he didn’t audible when he was at the line, whether he didn’t recognize the bad matchup at the time or if he left the play as is for another reason. In either case, it’s part of the learning process for Cousins. If he starts catching defenses cheating up to the line often enough and burns them through the air, things may open up in the running game.

Michael Crabtree? Josh Doctson? What's the connection?—An interesting post by JP Finlay, looking at how Scot McCloughan may be using history (part his history, part not his) in guiding the team as it navigates the Doctson injury.

Sloppy Redskins practice requires Gruden's loud correction—The book on Jay Gruden as a head coach is not yet written; his persona is very much a work in progress. He let loose on the team with an expletive-laden rant during a sloppy practice at Redskins Park. Gruden has the credibility to be able to do this because the team is headed in the right direction, with a division title last year. A first-time head coach who had posted, say, double-digit losses in his first two seasons at the helm might not have the credibility to off on the team and have it have any effect.

NTK: Room on the Redskins roster for Toler, Sudfeld?—The one hard and fast rule about putting together a roster is that only 53 players can be on it at any given time. That means if you want to add somebody to it, somebody must be removed. To get players like Greg Toler, a veteran cornerback on a team loaded with young talent at the position, and Nate Sudfeld, a promising but raw rookie quarterback who likely won’t see the field this year, you have to cut players you may want to keep.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!