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Need to Know: Why didn't the Redskins have a quarterback competition?

Need to Know: Why didn't the Redskins have a quarterback competition?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 2, three days before the Washington Redskins make their final cuts.

Why no QB competition

One of the questions that came up on Monday when Jay Gruden announced the change at quarterback was why he had stood up at the NFL Combine in February and said that the starting job belonged to Robert Griffin III.

Here was the explanation that Gruden gave:

“I didn't want to come to every press conference and get asked who's starting,” he said. “We put it to bed. We named Robert the starter, gave him the first reps with the guys . . . We just wanted to put all the distractions aside, play football, let these guys go out and compete and they did that.”

You can buy this explanation or not. Many don’t and that’s fine. It is good to be skeptical of what coaches say at the podium. But you can’t deny that it kept the topic of quarterbacks from overwhelming everything else during the offseason program and training camp.

For example, during the first seven days of practice at training camp in Richmond there was not a single question about the quarterback position. Not one. Would that have happened had there been an open quarterback competition with Griffin, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy all splitting the first-team reps? I think it’s safe to say that there would have been multiple quarterback questions daily and it would have dominated the conversation.

Certainly there are disadvantages to not having a more traditional quarterback competition with the quarterbacks who are up for the job getting roughly equal numbers of snaps. Chief among them is that Cousins will go into Week 1 with just one week of solid practice work with the first team under his belt.

But that is the chance they were willing to take and I don’t think it was viewed as much of a gamble. My read on the situation is that they fully intended to start the season with Griffin behind center for at least the first part of the season until the Lions game, where he had trouble eluding pass pressure, was hit six times in eight pass attempts, and ended up with a concussion. This That, along with performances in training camp that looked passable to observers but did not represent sufficient progress in the eyes of the coaching staff, led to the decision to go to Cousins.

Perhaps they would have been better off with a competition and the accompanying media circus. But they can’t undo it now and we will have to see how it turns out.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, closed to media

—It’s been 248 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 11 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Final cuts 3; Rams @ Redskins 18; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 22

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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