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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New coach, Cousins, RG3

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New coach, Cousins, RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 23, 32 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

A look at the Redskins week that was

Since there wasn’t a head coaching change like we had two years ago or a new general manager hired as happened in January of 2015 so here wasn’t much in the way of hard news out of Redskins Park this week That gave us a chance to explore some other topics surrounding the team as it goes forward into the offseason. Here are the five posts that are among those that drew the most interest this week.

Redskins will get no compensatory pick for RG3—The Redskins’ handling of Robert Griffin III almost from start to what seems to be the inevitable finish in a few weeks has been rife with mistakes. Among them was the decision to pick up his $16 million option for 2016. Not only did the option, which is guaranteed for injury, keep the Redskins from being able to either play or trade Griffin, it sets up a scenario where they won’t get even a late-round pick as compensation when he leaves. Click on the article for details but since the Redskins will be releasing him they won’t be eligible for a compensatory draft pick when he moves on.

Five possible Redskins free agent targets—Between now and the start of free agency on March 9 we will look at a several dozen free agents. Scot McCloughan is likely to sign no more than three or four. But interest in free agency is still high even though the Redskins aren’t likely to make any big splashes like bringing in Bears WR Alshon Jeffery or Chiefs safety Eric Berry. McCloughan’s minimalist approach is harder to figure out than the old Redskins approach but we’ll keep trying.

Redskins hire former player as a position coach—Greg Manusky just missed collecting two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins. He made the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 1988, a year after they won Super Bowl XXII. He left Washington following the 1990 season, the year before the team won Super Bowl XXVI. Manusky, an aggressive middle linebacker and special teams demon as a player, started his coaching career in Washington in 2001 and now he returns to coach the outside linebackers under Joe Barry.

Should the Redskins be confident that Cousins can keep it up?—A look at the numbers shows that the big (at the time) contracts signed by the likes of Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb do not necessarily serve as cautionary tales as the Redskins start to negotiate with Kirk Cousins. They did not have seasons nearly as good as Cousins’ 2015 before they got paid. Nick Foles 2013 is a different story; he apparently had a fluke big season. Plenty for the Redskins to figure out.

Redskins' Scherff gets NFL rookie honors—The Pro Football Writers of America voted on their all-rookie team and Brandon Scherff, the Redskins’ top draft pick, make it as a guard. He missed just one snap all year long and gave up one sack. Also honored was former Maryland receiver Stephon Diggs, now with the Vikings.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 13 days ago. It will be about 232 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 33; NFL free agency starts 46; 2016 NFL draft 96

In case you missed it

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'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

NFC East opponents don't challenge Josh Norman. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham, Jr. are fake tough, no real threat to him. Not like some other receivers in the NFL. 

At least that's how the Redskins corner described them in a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report published on Thursday. 

The gist? The Cowboys and Giants stars get no respect from Norman, though both were involved in memorable feuds with him the past year. 

Norman got his first opportunity to talk trash when asked to do word association with the name "Dez Bryant." He took the opening and returned it for a touchdown. 

"That's a guy. Just a guy. Dez was Dez in 2012, '13, '14. Maybe '14. Now? He's a guy," Norman said.

"He doesn't 'wow' you. For me, he don't. For other guys, he probably will do the worst to them because he'll bully them. But you can't bully a bully. You know what I'm saying? That's why his game doesn't resonate to me."

To jog your memory, Norman and Bryant went at it after the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving last year. Bryant said Washington should get a refund on Norman's contract. There was also drama about whether Norman falsely accused Bryant of threatening to "unload the clip" on him.

Real mature, substantive conflict. 

RELATED: Redskins’ Norman confident that changes will improve defense

The Redskins corner didn't go any easier on Beckham, who of all receivers in the league has had the most explosive run-ins with Norman. 

In fact, Beckham's helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman in a 2015 contest between the Giants and Panthers led the NFL to change rules for ejections. Beckham had racked up three unnecessary roughness penalties in that game. 

"[Beckham] tries to be a tough guy. He tries to put on this persona which he's not. Because he's always going to have his head on a swivel. Always. Always when we play each other," Norman said, suggesting that he's able to push OBJ over the edge and out of control. 

"He's scary like that. He does things that he normally wouldn't do because of all the pressure and added hype that he has to put on his whole persona. He's not this guy. If you go back and watch the games in which we play compared to the games we don't play each other, he's a totally different guy."

"When people get physical, tough, like the Minnesota game, he acts out. He's a kid. He's a big kid, man," Norman concluded.

It must have been an exercise in restraint not to mention OBJ's kicking-net tantrum after losing to the Redskins last year. 

As the interview moved on, there wasn't a receiver that drew respect from Norman until the name Julio Jones came up. Norman got to see the Falcons receiver twice a year when he played for Carolina in the NFC South. 

"Now, that is the ultimate challenge. That's when I can do things in a split-second, a millisecond, just choo-choo-choo," Norman said of facing Jones. He said he's missed that challenge since moving to the NFC East. 

"It's the worst. Because I'm just battling 'guys.' I'm not battling against something I can call 'greatness.' I'm not enhancing my craft. Don't get me wrong. They're tough. But they're not [Jones]," he said. He also named Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Chicago's Alshon Jeffrey as other receivers who could provide a real test. 

But whether those matchups excite Norman or not, he knows they can't touch the hype of NFC East showdowns, especially ones involving Beckham. 

"That game gets so hyped up by the time we play them, it won't even be Giants vs. Washington—it'll be me and him. ... Because now you have us on Thanksgiving Night. C'mon, man!"

The interview ended with Norman looking forward to playing with new Redskins safety DJ Swearinger, who has a reputation as a hard-hitting intimidator.

"Trust me when I tell you, it's going to be bad blood this year. You think the NFC East didn't like each other before? This year right here? There's going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I'm going to be honest with you: This s--- is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don't give a f--- and I definitely don't. And I know they don't have that many people on the offense who do on their side."

"I'm letting all hell break loose."

MORE REDSKINS: Josh Doctson ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

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Redskins WR Josh Doctson is ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

Redskins WR Josh Doctson is ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

An Achilles injury robbed Josh Doctson of the bulk of his rookie season with the Redskins. After a strenuous offseason spent rehabbing and a clean bill of health, Doctson is ready to fight back.

"It feels good to be back out here with them and to be playing football again," Doctson said Wednesday at Redskins OTAs (full video above). "It's what I’ve been doing for a long time, it's why I’m here. I'm good at what I do."

Sure it's May and there was no contact, but Doctson showed how good he can look on Wednesday. He caught a number of balls throughout the two hour session and looked smooth in his routes. The second-year pro from TCU makes cuts while maintaining speed and balance, and the skills allowed him to get open a number of times to haul in passes using soft hands.

"Right now, so far, so good," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."

Late in the OTA session, Colt McCoy found Doctson for a deep touchdown. While the sidelines erupted, Doctson just calmly jogged back to the line of scrimmage and talked with coaches. 

Doctson explained that to "show my teammates, coaches and myself again that I can play with these guys, play at this level, it feels real good."

The Redskins will need the 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. Doctson this fall. With the exit of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards left the Washington offense. Free agent addition Terrelle Pryor will be expected to pick up a large chunk of that yardage, but Doctson will need to offset that loss as well.

"He’s been impressive. I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now. I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field," Gruden said.

Doctson described the pain in his Achilles as "pretty much non-existent now."

Never a good place to look for nuanced analysis, last season some social media speculation suggested Doctson was homesick dealing with his injury. That theory seems foolish, as the receiver spent the entire offseason in Ashburn, working out and rehabbing.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy," he said. "I got after it every day. It’s a tribute to my hard work why I'm feeling so feeling healthy."

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