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Need to Know: Who makes the call on RG3?

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Need to Know: Who makes the call on RG3?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 25, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Question of the day

Today's question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

First off, I don't know for certain what the decision making process regarding Griffin is and I doubt that anybody outside of the Redskins' chain of command does. But there are tea leaves that can be read and this is how I read them. Again, to be clear, this is not reporting hard facts, this is my informed speculation.

The decision to forego a quarterback competition and make Robert Griffin III the starter was an organizational decision. As is often the case, not everyone in the organization necessarily agreed with the decision. It seems likely that Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder favored giving Griffin another year since they were involved in the decision to pay a record price to move up in the 2012 draft to take him. Jay Gruden probably either wanted a competition or to declare either Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy the starter.

Where did Scot McCloughan stand? He may not have liked what he saw from Griffin on tape. He may not have liked what he saw from any of the three quarterbacks. But he also looked at a roster full of holes and realized that the getting a better option at quarterback into the building would not be possible without sacrificing the draft choices or cap dollars necessary to rebuild the team. Logic says that he was OK with keeping the same group of quarterbacks and giving Griffin one last shot. He proceeded to build the defense and bolster the running game in hopes that the team could be competitive in games without relying so much on the quarterback playing well.

Why not a QB competition? Those aren’t always the best thing for the team. For one, a competition can create divisions in the locker room. But perhaps the worst aspect of a competition is that the two or three players split the first-team reps through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. That means that the winner of the competition will have had only a third to a half of the first-team reps. That has your starter starting off the season behind the eight-ball.

The other thing is that competitions are all too frequently not really competitions. You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that Ryan Mallett, whose two-year contract with the Texans pays him $7 million with $1.75 million guaranteed was ever going to start in Houston over Brian Hoyer, who got two years, $10.5 million with $4.75 million guaranteed. They had “competition” that Hoyer “won”. Now he gets to play catch up thanks to all of the reps with the starters he has missed.

But back to the Redskins. While the decision-making process that ended with Griffin being named the starter is interesting, it's academic. It's done, history. What matters now is who will be involved in the decision to pull the plug, should that call need to be made. If a decision to keep a struggling Griffin on the field is made by Allen and Snyder over the objections of the football people, McCloughan and Gruden, things could get ugly. The good news is that that the contracts of McCloughan and Gruden give them the authority to set the lineups and say who is on the roster. Of course it may not be wise to go against the wishes of the team owner and president but they can do it if they have the guts.

It doesn’t have to be ugly. The best-case scenario is things working out for Griffin and him showing that he can be the quarterback of the future. But if he shows that he can’t get it done, the optimal scenario is that all of the key decision makers agree on best time is to pull the plug.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:10 a.m.; player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 12:30)

—It’s been 242 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 17 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 2; final cuts 9; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 28

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Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field

While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.

“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”

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Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.

Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.

“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.

“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”

MORE REDSKINS: Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.

Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.

“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”

Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.

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: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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