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Redskins OTA observations: RG3 sharper than last week

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Redskins OTA observations: RG3 sharper than last week

There are my observations from Wednesday’s OTA practice at Redskins Park.

11:15—Brian Baker is teaching the outside linebackers the best route to the quarterback. He has it painted on the grass, an arc that goes from the offensive tackle to the quarterback (as you can see in the picture to the right). There was one dummy set up as the tackle, another back as the QB. In between, Baker was there with some big padded arms. The onrushing linebackers needed to stay in that optimal path to the quarterback while dealing with the dummy and Baker’s attempts to knock them off stride. As one might expect, the player who was the quickest getting there was Brian Orakpo.

11:20—The defensive line is working nearby with Jacob Burney. They are practicing getting to the quarterback quickly and then stripping the ball away. I’ve seen that drill before. What was different was Burney emphasizing the recovery and securing the ball with both arms. “This is a running back,” said Burney, holding the ball as a back would in the open field. “This is how you hold it if you touch it once a year,” he said, this time with both arms wrapped around the ball.

11:50—On the first play of team drills, Robert Griffin III stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep pass that Jackson turned and caught. Now it needs to be said that Griffin probably would have been sacked and the ball hung up in the air for a long time.

A few plays later Adam Hayward was stride for stride with Logan Paulsen going down the middle. The linebacker didn’t see the ball coming but he saw when Paulsen was tracking it in a knocked it away.

The QB on that play was Kirk Cousins. Shortly after that he went down the middle again, this time to Andre Roberts on a crossing pattern. This one was good for a nice gain.

11:55—Chucky is in the house. Jon Gruden is on the sidelines talking to his former GM in Tampa, Bruce Allen, while watching his brother’s team go through OTAs.

12:00—Griffin and the offense got into the no-huddle look. There was lots of movement and pre-snap verbage but not much production. Griffin completed a few short passes and was sacked a couple of times.

12:05—The offense was more productive when they returned to huddling up after players. Jordan Reed got past both Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather and caught Griffin’s pass deep down the middle in stride.

12:10—Here is who lined up to field punts: Andre Roberts, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, and Santana Moss. Richard Crawford and DeSean were in the group but he didn’t field any punts.

Trent Murphy lined up to the left of the snapper on punt coverage. There’s usually a hole in front of the snapper since the punt return team can’t line anyone up over center due to safety concerns. That could give Murphy an opportunity to sneak down field sometimes and take a straight-line route to the returner.

12:20—An hour and five minutes in we got the play of the day. Griffin zipped a throw to Jackson, who was about 15 yards past the line of scrimmage near the sideline. Rookie Bashaud Breeland was in coverage but he couldn’t quite knock the ball away. Jackson grabbed it and went down the sideline for the touchdown.

12:30—Another long TD pass for Griffin. This one went to Reed who got past both Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather. Overall, a better day for the quarterback than the one he had last week. He was much more accurate and, perhaps, more in synch with his receivers.

Clark doesn’t call the defenses—that job belongs to Mike linebacker Keenan Robinson—but he is a constant stream of chatter mixing in keys and encouragement both before and after the snap.

12:35—Rookie receiver Ryan Grant got a good number of snaps with the first unit, which may or may not mean much of anything here in early June. But he did catch the last long TD pass of the day. He beat rookie free agent corner Blake Sailors and Griffin hit him in stride.

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Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

There may not be much drama when the March 1 franchise tag deadline comes around. It appears that a Kirk Cousins tag is inevitable.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, Cousins will not sign a long-term deal prior getting tagged by the Redskins. PFT cited a source with knowledge of the situation.

This is not exactly a surprising report. The situation has seemed to be destined to reach this point since minutes after the Redskins’ final game of the season when Cousins, whose one-year franchise tag deal expired when the game ended, was asked if he wanted to remain in Washington.

 “It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Actually, the ball is in his court; he could instruct his agent to hammer out the best deal he can get to stay in Washington and then sign it. But apparently, he will choose the tag, a solid business decision for a number of reasons.

For one thing, if he gets tagged and quickly signs the tender as he did last year he would guarantee a salary of $23.94 million, a 20 percent raise over the $19.95 million he earned last year. If he plays out the season on the tag he would be virtually guaranteed of never getting tagged again since such a move would give him a 44 percent raise over his previous year’s cap number. The number is designed to make a third tag cost prohibitive and it does.

For the team’s part, there have been scattered reports that some in the Redskins organization pushed for letting Cousins hit the open market and letting his value be determined there. But that changed after Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator for the first two years of Cousins’ career and a big Cousins fan, became the head coach of the 49ers. There is no question that San Francisco would make a strong play for Cousins and the most likely scenario now is that the will tag him.

More Redskins: Under the radar issues

Where does this go after Cousins is tagged? The Redskins would have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term contract. It would still take a strong offer for the team to keep Cousins around for the long term.

Team president Bruce Allen seems to be optimistic about getting a deal done eventully.

"I don’t think it’s as complicated as everyone wants to make it,” he said earlier this month. “And we’ll get together with his agent, and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement."

That remains to be seen. The only thing that seems certain in this saga is that it won’t be coming to a resolution any time soon.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 21, 16 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 8
—NFL Combine (3/2) 9
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 55
—NFL Draft (4/27) 65
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 201

Under the radar offseason issues for the Redskins

We know the top line personnel issues for the Redskins this offseason—Kirk Cousins, Jackson and Garçon, D-line, etc. Here are some other issues flying below the radar:

Who’s the backup center? Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan is a free agent. That leaves Spencer Long as the only true center under contract. Do they try to bring back Sullivan? Look for one in the draft? The free agent pool is very thin but perhaps a solid backup could get cut.

Guard depth Lichtensteiger also provided some insurance at guard to his absence hits creates a double hit on the depth chart. Right now, the only backup to Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff is Arie Kouandjio. Scherff is durable but Lauvao hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012. Unless they have more faith in Kouandjio than I suspect they do they will need depth. Perhaps they could spend a mid-round pick for depth this year and then let him compete with Kouandjio for the LG starting job assuming Lauvao moves on after his contract is up  

Need depth at cornerback The Redskins’ top two cornerbacks, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, aren’t bad. And maybe Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar are good as the No. 3 and No. 4 CB’s although they perhaps should have some stiff competition. But it’s a long season and injuries happen. They have former Seahawk Tharold Simon and Dashaun Phillips on the roster and they may re-sign Greg Toler. They probably need one or two more veterans or draft picks to compete for the last one or two spots.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

QB of the future? The most likely scenario in the Cousins saga is that he gets tagged on March 1 and if he does sign a long-term deal it will not be until closer to July 15. That would leave the Redskins in a bit of a tight sport, going through free agency and the draft not knowing if their starter at the most important position on the field will be back in 2018. What about Nate Sudfeld? Would he be ready to at least back up, presumably, Colt McCoy or another veteran? If not, do they need to look for one in the middle of draft, or perhaps earlier? If they are concerned about Cousins’ status and Sudfeld’s ability to develop into a starter this needs to be on the front burner.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.