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Redskins have a plan to deal with shortened offseason for rookies

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Redskins have a plan to deal with shortened offseason for rookies

The Redskins, like every other NFL team, had an extra two weeks to prepare for the draft, which was held for the first time in May this year.

Being a new coaching staff working together with Bruce Allen for the first time, Jay Gruden and company were glad to have the extra time to evaluate how the draft prospects would fit in to the team’s schemes. But now they are paying for that extra evaluation time.

The rookie minicamp that concluded yesterday at Redskins Park usually takes place on the first weekend in May. So the camp moved back two weeks but the rest of the schedule remained the same. Training camp still will start the last week in July. The season opens the week after Labor Day weekend. That gives rookies two fewer weeks to get up to speed.

“Yeah, that is an issue and that’s a negative of moving [the draft] back,” said Gruden on Saturday. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Some teams like the Giants and Bengals decided to do away with rookie camp altogether. They will bring their draft picks and undrafted free agents right into their offseason programs OTAs with the veterans over the next few weeks. The Redskins considered that approach to deal with the shortened post-draft schedule but decided against it.

“We wanted to have a rookie camp so we could see our draft picks and we could bring in some undrafted guys and let them compete and hopefully find a sleeper or two that we didn’t know about to come in and compete for the roster,” said Gruden.

The decision was to deal with the schedule in a couple of different ways. One was to target players they believe can get up to speed in a hurry.

“We drafted smart guys,” said Gruden. “We try to draft smart guys that are football smart and played in good systems and hopefully they’ll be able to learn fast.”

The organization also tried to take some of the pressure off of the rookies by making sure that they had veterans capable of starting this season in place.

“What we did in free agency, we’re not necessarily having to draft guys that come in and play 70 snaps a game right away,” Gruden said. “They can come in and be a backup and play situationally and then learn and learn and develop, and that’s the beauty of what we did in the free agent market this year.”

“So they’re going to come in and compete, and how much they can handle will be determined after training camp and preseason.”

Of course, every team wants to draft smart players and it’s always good to have veteran players who are capable of starting at every position, especially when you don’t have a first-round draft pick. So the organization’s plan isn’t rocket science. Still, it seems to be a conscious plan to deal with the shortened time frame. We will see if they can take advantage of it and get their rookie class contributing during games sooner rather than later.

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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).

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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.

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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

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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!