While the offseason has another month to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Today, we look at the hiring of Raheem Morris.Usually, when a team has 11 wins over two seasons there are some changes made to the coaching staff. One happened by attrition as linebackers coach Lou Spanos left after the season to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA. But there were more to come.In Tampa, the Bucs fired head coach Raheem Morris hours after their season ended with their 10th straight loss. He had gone straight from defensive backs coach to head coach at the age of 32 and that appeared to be too much of a leap for Morris.But he was an excellent position coach and possibly was ready to be a defensive coordinator. And he let it be known that he was not interested in taking any time off. Morris interviewed with the Vikings and Redskins within days of being fired.Morris signed with the Redskins as their secondary coach on Jan. 11 (although the team did not formally announce the move until Jan. 23). There are reports the the Vikings offered him their defensive coordinator job the day after the signed on with the Redskins. Although the Redskins likely would have let him out of his contract in order to take the coordinator position, he elected to stick with his commitment to the Redskins.As the news of Morris hiring came out it was reported that the Redskins had fired two coaches. Safeties coach Brian Jackson and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell were shown the door.The departure of Jackson still left an awkward situation for the Redskins. Bob Slowik, a longtime assistant under Mike Shanahan, was the cornerbacks coach. The secondary had been split between two coaches since Joe Gibbs second stint as head coach. But just working as the safeties coach was too big a step down for Morris.The solution was to move Slowik to coach the linebackers in place of the departed Spanos and put the entire secondary under Morris.Morris has already brought some fire and enthusiasm to the field and he routinely talks trash with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Thats all well and good but his main job is to coach up a secondary that routinely is among the leagues worst in interceptions and has some issues with tackling from time to time. With the Redskins facing Eli Manning, Mike Vick, and Tony Romo twice a year (along with top-notch receivers on those teams) as well as seeing the likes of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger on their schedule, solid secondary play is vital.Morris and the Redskins have an agreement that he can take a defensive coordinator position next year if he is offered one. Turning around Washingtons secondary would be a nice feather in his cap if he wants to move back up the coaching ladder.
RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.
However, Cousins said that is a misconception.
“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”
Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.
Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.
“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”
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What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.
“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.
“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”
There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.
Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp.
The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.
Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5.
Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker.
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