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Redskins' Gruden picks up the tempo with no-huddle sessions

Redskins' Gruden picks up the tempo with no-huddle sessions

The no-huddle offense was something of a source of frustration for Redskins fans last year.

It seemed that when the Redskins ran it, they were effective. They didn’t run it at all during their 0-3 start, not even in situations where they were playing from behind (which was nearly all of every game). Then going to the no-huddle attack jump-started their offense in their first win in Oakland. But it went back in the drawer after that and was pulled out only occasionally Just when it seemed to be working or showing signs of effectiveness, Robert Griffin III and company would go back to huddling up.

We don’t know if Jay Gruden is any more of a fan of the no-huddle than Mike and Kyle Shanahan are but we did see it during the OTA session that was open to the media on Wednesday. The players seemed to enjoy it and it was a topic of conversation afterward.

“We did a little no huddle today, working that stuff in,” said Griffin. “Like I said, we’ll be very multiple. We’ll figure out what we do best and that’s the process—continuing to do this, continuing to learn, getting the new guys and the rookies up to speed with the offense and even ourselves, continuing to master it.”

Griffin indicated that they still intended to be physical when running the hurry up. “Our coach has said we’re going to huddle up and try to play some smash mouth football and then we’re going to no-huddle and still play some smash mouth football,” he said

Gruden, of course, is not going to discuss how much he plans to utilize a no-huddle attack. We’ll have to wait to see how the regular season games unfold before we can get a handle on that. Regardless, he sees a lot of value in running it this time of year. The benefits extend to both sides of the ball.

“We’re trying to pick up the tempo,” he said. “Also, from a communications standpoint, football is a lot about communication nowadays. A lot of teams are running a no-huddle, so from a defensive standpoint, you’ve got to be able to communicate your calls, get in the right front and talk about it and make sure everybody is on the same page.

“Offensively, it’s a good way to dictate tempo and keep defenses from substituting and keep them out of their blitz packages, all that good stuff. There’s a reason for us offensively to utilize it and there’s a reason not only from a point of view on game day, but also getting our defense ready for that kind of attack on Sundays.”

Gruden said that the no-huddle is growing in popularity around the league so the defense needs to be ready to face it. He specifically mentioned the Eagles, who rarely huddle in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced attack. The Redskins face them twice this year with the first meeting coming in Week 3.

Jason Hatcher appreciated the conditioning aspect of going against the up tempo offense on a warm June day in Virginia. “I think that was a great deal today because it was humid out here,” he said. “We got a lot of plays back to back, maybe eight, nine, 10 plays. It’s something that we really need to focus on as a team.”

One aspect of the no-huddle period that Hatcher didn’t like was that Griffin was able to use the hard count to draw the defense offside on a few occasions. “Some of those plays there down the stretch with five, 10 seconds on the clock you jump offside and give them a first down,” he said. “You’ve got to go and be a very fundamentally sound defense.”

Griffin got some satisfaction out of getting the defense to jump but he said that we shouldn’t read too much into what happened on one day. “It’s just a constant battle of X’s and O’s and mind games with the offense and defense,” he said. “Sometimes you get them, today happened

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!