1) Theabsent-minded head coach: It's all good now according to Mike Shanahan, but last Monday's accidentalcollision at practice with cornerback Brandyn Thompson that knocked the head coach to the ground also knocked him loopy for a time.Those guys didnt think I could take a hit at 59. I proved I can take a hit," Shanahan said during his Thursday post-practice press conference. "I did talk to the team afterward, which was about 10 minutes after I got hit. I do not remember the conversation I had with the team. I really dont. It took me probably about 20 minutes, 25 minutes, to recover because I hit my head pretty good on the turf. I was fine, really, about 20 minutes afterward. I was fine.Shanahan addedthat during his38 yearsroaming practice fields he's been pushedor brushed against a time or two, he's "never taken a shot like that.2) Participation report: I wrote about this here, but those who did not practice on Thursday included Leonard Hankerson (hip), Brian Orakpo (pectoral), Adam Carriker (foot blisters), Steven Bowen (knee), Jonathan Goff (knee) and running back Tim Hightower (knee surgery). Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) participated in individual and unit drills only. Barry Cofield and Tanard Jackson were both absent, but Shanahan said both were excused. During the two weeks of OTAs, Shanahan said, "Weve got 100 attendance. If a guy has missed, its been an excused absence.3) Random RG3 things: The latest sign the kid gets it came when he described his plan for rewarding his offensive lineman during the season. "My familys from New Orleans, Louisiana. I know how to cook beignets. For every no-sack victory, theyll get beignets and I think theyll love those. As for how the rookie is handling the second week of OTAs, I wrote about that over here.4) Safety dance: While there was plenty of mixing and matching with the first and second unit, Reed Doughty continues to primarily work with the reserves. As for the absent but excused Jackson, Shanahan said the original planwas forhim to return today. until it wasn't. "He was going to practice for the first day today, but over the last couple weeks with his shoulder and his legs, he wasnt ready to go. But hes approved to practice and he should be ready for tomorrow or Monday.5) Tight end watch, part one: Regarding Chris Cooley, Shanahan said, Hes been doing fine. No setback with his knee. I think he strained his groin a little bit two days ago, and hes fine today. Theres no swelling on the knee, no setback there. Thats a good sign because hes been working for the last few weeks pretty hard. Thats a positive sign.6) Tight end watch, part two: I'm always fascinated when someone wants to make declarations about player X having a breakout practice, especially this early in the process when nobody is wearing pads. My goal is toneverbe that guy.With that said, one player who did turn some heads was Niles Paulafter flashing his deep threat on multiple plays down field, including a scoring pass from Rex Grossman.In the modern NFL, having tight ends that are built and run like wide receivers isbecoming the norm so any indication that the second-year player can be that type of option is interesting. Seeing how he handles the blocking side of things when the pads do come out is another andarguably more important matter.7) Don't blame the pancake social: Orakpo did some individual and unitwork, but waskept off thefield during 11-on-11 drill because ofhis left pectoral muscle, which he originally injured late last season. "He kind of had it get pushed back a little bit," Shanahan said. "We did an MRI on it, and it was no problem. It was just a little bit sore, probably some scar tissue in there from the surgery. We just kept him out of team drills, but he did all individual drills so he should be fine.8) Offensive line: Another practice, another day talking about Jammal Brown's yoga habits. Fine, the media were the one's asking the questions about it, but they came up after he practiced with the first unit at right tackle. Both the player and head coach continue to believe yoga is indeed helping the flexibility in his surgically repaired let hip. Let's see where we are with this in training camp, which is when Lichtensteiger believes he will be active practice participant. With Lichtensteiger sitting out during team drills, Tyler Polumbuslinedup at left guard with the first unit.9) Brian Banks: Shanahan said he called and spoke with Banks, aformer USC linebacker recruit who had his football career cut short in 2002when he plead no contest to a schoolmate's false accusation of rape at the age of 17. Banks spent his next five years in a jail cell and is now seeking an opportunity in the NFL. One is expected to come next week when he visits Redskins Park for a workout. "I think when somebody goes through the situation that he went through, he deserves an opportunity to try out for somebody," Shanahan said. "This kid deserves a chance."
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
Will the Redskins make a change at left guard?
Tandler: When looking at the key plays that were responsible for the Redskins missing the playoffs you don’t have to go too far down the list to find the one in Arizona when Calais Campbell blew over left guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Kirk Cousins for a sack-fumble that was critical in Washington’s loss.
You don’t replace a starter based on one play but Lauvao did not have a good year. The sack was one of three allowed by Lauvao, the most in the interior line, and the 32 QB hurries he allowed were the most on the entire team. His run blocking was inconsistent. It’s clear that the position could use an upgrade.
Lauvao missed two games due to injuries and Arie Kouandjio filled in for him. Kouandjio was better in his second start than he was in his first, but he showed that he still has work to do. He is going into his third season and he has some room to improve but it remains to be seen if he can reach the point where he is a viable option as a 16-game starter.
The crop of free agent guards looks spotty (Chris Chester, anyone?) and there isn’t a guard worth of a first-round pick (for which Jay Gruden probably is grateful). Perhaps a second-round guard like Dan Feeney of Indiana or Taylor Moton of Western Michigan could start right away but other draft needs may have higher priorities.
It looks to me like they may get through 2017 with Lauvao and Kouandjio and perhaps find a mid-round pick who can develop into the 2018 starter.
Finlay: Points to Tandler for the guard jab. He likes that one. As for Lauvao, he drew the ire of many fans last season. Some of it was deserved, though he was playing with a variety of injuries in the second half of the season, but most of the offensive line was. It gets largely forgotten that he played very well early in the year.
If the 'Skins, and namely Bill Callahan, determine Kouandjio is ready to start, Lauvao could be in trouble. Cutting him would save $4 million against the salary cap. That will certainly be considered in this equation. That will take a big leap from Kouandjio this offseason though, as he needs to significantly increase his upper body strength and footwork.
More offseason questions:
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!
Rumors. Speculation. Repeat.
While the Redskins work to figure out their plan with quarterback Kirk Cousins, the buzzsaw of conversation surrounding what will happen next between the team and the passer continues to escalate. For weeks, folks have connected the dots between the Kyle Shanahan era in San Francisco and the Washington QB. Cousins, remember, was drafted by the Shanahans here in D.C. before Mike and Kyle Shanahan were ousted in 2013.
Now, with Kyle Shanahan in place as the head coach of the Niners, plenty of thought has been given to the new coach trading with the 'Skins to grab his former player. Shanahan runs great offense throughout his career, and many expect that Cousins could play well in the system.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said that there is a good chance that trade could go down next week at the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis. All 32 NFL teams will be in attendance, and many deals and contracts get worked out in the process.
"I would not be shocked at all if we saw a Kirk Cousins to San Francisco trade go down at that point in time," Jeremiah said, speaking to San Diego's Mighty 1090 radio station.
The offer, Jeremiah concluded, would include the Niners No. 2 overall pick, but might mean the 'Skins send back their own 17th pick. From there, Washington could turn to Colt McCoy or look for a passer with the second pick.
Either way, it's hard to see a path for Cousins to be the 'Skins long term QB for Jeremiah.
"I don’t think they’re going to be able to get a long term deal done," he said. "I would say greater than 50 percent chance he’s not with the Redskins next year."
There's not a lot of knowns in this contract saga, but the list of unknowns grows by the day.
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!