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Redskins' Kehl is ready for anything

Redskins' Kehl is ready for anything

As an NFL backup player, Bryan Kehl knows that the more he can do, the better his chances of making the team are. The self-described “special teams demon” is a “Jack” inside linebacker by trade but he also keeps an eye on the other positions.

That paid off on Saturday when about 20 minutes before the afternoon practice started, the coaches informed Kehl that they were going to give London Fletcher the day off so Kehl would need to play Mike linebacker with the first team at practice that day.

His experience playing the Mike was minimal. “I've never really done it until my second or third year in New York and I did it just a little bit,” he said.

The difference is much greater than moving over a few yards. “On every play, he's [the Mike] got to set everybody up,” said the five-year NFL veteran. “And if he messes it up the defense is messed up. You’re the quarterback of the defense.”

The thing is, on the other side of the ball, quarterbacks have many months, even years, to prepare to take practice snaps. Kehl barely had enough notice to get nervous.

Kehl saw the fact that the coaches dropped whole Mike linebacker thing on him with such short notice as a good sign. “I think there's a lot of players where they wouldn't feel comfortable telling them 20 minutes before practice, ‘hey, you're going to play this position,’” he said. “I like that they have the confidence in my that they know that I can handle that.”

Backup quarterbacks generally have a good idea when they might get another chance to call the signals. Not so with backup Mike linebackers.

“I guess [I’ll play it again] just if London's not practicing, or, I don't know what their plan is,” he said.

Kehl’s prospects for making the team improved after Keenan Robinson suffered a torn left pectoral muscle that will sideline him for a substantial part of the season, if not all of it. As all the players are saying, it’s “next man up” and that is Kehl.

The 29-year-old was in camp last year and was one of the stars of summer. He intercepted a pass in a preseason game and had his hands on a couple more. But when it came time to pick the final 53-man roster, Kehl was released.

The Chiefs picked him up but cut him after he played in just a few games. After Robinson was injured last year (same injury, other arm), the Redskins brought Kehl back into the fold.

Learning to play the Mike position could help Kehl avoid the fate that he suffered a year ago.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

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. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the 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!