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Need to Know: The top five takeaways from Gruden's presser

Need to Know: The top five takeaways from Gruden's presser

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 27, 11 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

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Here are the top five takeaways from Jay Gruden’s press availability at the NFL owners meetings:

Orakpo needs to prove it—Gruden said that he would be fine with having Brian Orakpo play out the season on the franchise tag. If you read this blog regularly you know that I’ve been saying that the team really has no interest in giving him a long-term deal for a variety of reasons, among them his need to show that he can get it done two years in a row among them.

The offensive line shuffle is official—As many expected, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger will slide into the center spot that became vacant when Will Montgomery was released and free agent signee Shawn Lauvao will be the starting left guard.

Phillip Thomas should be ready to go—He suffered a Lisfranc injury in August and Gruden thinks he’ll be ready to play. However, he wasn’t specific about whether or not Thomas will be able to be fully participant in the offseason program that starts April 7. But he did indicate that they would like to see him step up into a substantial role so he must have some confidence that he will be able to get in a lot of practice before the season starts.

He doesn’t care if RG3 wears a knee brace—“His knee is strong” said Gruden and he said that braces are so light that it really shouldn’t hinder him if the doctors do recommend that he wear one.

He likes having two good QB’s—Well, he said “great” quarterbacks but I’m not quite sure either Griffin or Kirk Cousins qualify. But he does like having Cousins around, especially since Griffin tends to put himself in harm’s way from time to time. Gruden said that the team hasn't received any trade offers for Cousins so far.

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Timeline

—It’s been 88 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 164 days until they play another one.

Days until: Offseason workouts start 11; NFL Draft 42; Training camp starts 118

In case you missed it

Gruden: Hatcher "was a priority for us" due to pass rush

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.