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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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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198

Friday quick hitters

What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.

McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.

Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or sufferig from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him. 

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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.

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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

RELATED: DeSean Jackson wants to play for an elite QB

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

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