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Redskins practice report, Day 8: Rookie Crowder shines

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Redskins practice report, Day 8: Rookie Crowder shines

RICHMOND—J. J. Watt and the Texans were in town today for the first of three days of joint practice. Watt did some, well, Watt-like things as will be noted in today’s Redskins practice report.

—The Texans don’t have any logos on their helmets or names on the back of their jerseys. The look is sort of reminiscent of Penn State, where Houston coach Bill O’Brien coached for a few years.

—A Houston rookie picked a bad time to muff a kickoff in the end zone. O’Brien was watching and came over and stood about five feet away from undrafted rookie Chandler Worthy. “You’ve got to field that [expletive] ball,” said O’Brien. The coach continued to stand there for a few minutes. Worthy had one of those “wanna get away” moments from the old Southwest commercials.

—The “experiment” of playing Brandon Scherff at right guard and moving Morgan Moses in at right tackle continued today. We will see if this continues in the future or if it is merely an evaluation and preparation in the event of injuries.

—Yesterday Jay Gruden said that Chris Thompson was developing in to quite a third-down back. Usually that means a player is a good receiver out of the backfield. But he was impressive running the ball today, showing great burst on a few runs. If he can keep that going he could get some carries on first and second downs, too.

J.J. Watt is not only big, he’s fast. The Redskins tried to run to the left, away from him, but he was over there in a flash. He just tagged the runner but it could have been a highlight-type of tackle for a three-yard loss in a live situation.

Jamison Crowder was one of the offensive stars of the session. He caught several passes working against the Texans’ first-team defense and he drew a flag when a defender had to grab him on a deep pass. We should tamp down the expectations meter since it’s early in training camp but the fourth-round pick is looking like quite a find.

—Wide receiver Rashad Ross became a fan favorite last year with a few good catches in camp and during the preseason. He made another nice grab today, going deep and taking Kirk Cousins’ pass away from cornerback A.J. Bouye.

Robert Griffin III got off to a rocky start in one set of full team work. His first pas was batted down by Watt. His second one was deflected by end Jared Crick. The offense did finish up the series with good run by Alfred Morris and a Griffin pass to Andre Roberts so it wasn’t all bad in that session.

Terrance Knighton was back to work today after missing yesterday’s practice with the flu.

Bill Callahan was having some words with Moses after Griffin had to scramble on a play. I’m not sure what it was about but Moses didn’t do much of anything after Watt shifted over and rushed against Scherff. Perhaps Callahan was suggesting that Moses should have picked another assignment.

—It’s a joint practice in early August so why not a fake field goal pass from Kai Forbath to Moses about 30 yards away from the goal line. There were regular NFL officials working and the one in the end zone called it an interception. The play happened right in front of me and it looked to me like Moses wrestled the ball away before they hit the ground. Replay may have overturned the call on the field.

—They finished off practice with a goal to go drill. Starting at the 10 the Redskins’ first-team offense couldn’t get into the end zone in three snaps. A third-down draw play by Thompson came up short. The Texans ones got into the end zone against the Redskins’ defensive starters on a pass to the corner of the end zone from Brian Hoyer to DeAndre Hopkins.

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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