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Redskins practice report, Day 5: RG3 sharp in 2-minute work

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Redskins practice report, Day 5: RG3 sharp in 2-minute work

RICHMOND—It was hot again today as the Redskins end a stretch of five straight practice days. Here are my observations from the afternoon practice:

—The Redskins practiced in true full pads for the first time today, including pants with the mandated pads in them. They picked probably the hottest afternoon so far to so that.

Bill Callahan got into Arie Kouandjio during position drills, not happy with the rookie’s technique. He’s a rookie, it happens.

Matt Jones, who has a sore knee, was observing practice today, standing on the field. Although you never know, that indicates to me that his injury isn’t too serious.

Alfred Morris caught a short pass from Robert Griffin III just past the line and quickly turned it upfield for a nice gain. If he can develop into at least an average back in terms of catching passes he could earn himself a nice free agent contract next spring. But he often looks like a good receiver in the summer and we don’t see it in the fall.

—Working with the second team offense, Silas Redd found nothing on a run to the left side as Preston Smith led a group of defenders in knocking him down for a loss. On the next snap, he found the going easier on the right side as he quickly popped through the hole on the next play.

—A few plays later in the same full team session, Kirk Cousins stepped up in the pocket and fired to Pierre Garçon. The receiver got it between the “8” and the “8” on his jersey for about 20 yards

—Smith had a good day after some tough ones in the one-on-one pass blocking drill. On one play he pushed back Takoby Cofield, who looked like he was on roller skates, back to the quarterback. A few plays later the same two matched up and Smith dismissed the tackle with a quick inside move. Smith displaying both power and quickness.

Stephen Paea also has tremendous power and good moves. He easily shook off Tom Compton in the pass block drill with a quick move and burst to the quarterback.

—Overall, the blockers held their own and then some. That drill strongly favors the defense since there is no deception on the play and no double teams are allowed.

Chris Thompson made a nice red zone run. He took a handoff and went up the middle, zigzagging his way through defenders for about 10 yards.

—Thompson does have some work to do in pass protection. Keenan Robinson blew past him and chased Griffin to the right. The quarterback was able to get rid of the ball, throwing an incompletion downfield.

—Griffin and DeSean Jackson had one chance to connect deep but David Amerson was with the receiver step for step. The pass traveled about 55 yards downfield but it was a bit too long. Amerson, though, tumbled to the ground and appeared to injure his shoulder. He left practice and did not return.

—In a two-minute drill in the last session of practice, Griffin went eight for eight, although it should be noted that it looked like he was past the line of scrimmage on a shovel pass and Ryan Kerrigan could easily have sacked him on another. But he was sharp, hitting Niles Paul for a long gain inside the 10. Griffin finished off the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant.

—Cousins was not sharp initially when the second-team offense went into the two-minute drill. He went to throw a deep out but his eyes gave the pass away and he wound up for it too much. That enabled Chris Baker to get a hand up and bat it away.

—But a few plays later he fired a pass to Jamison Crowder on the sideline. It was just beyond the reach of a defender and Crowder snatched it out of the air for a long gain.

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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.