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Redskins rookie camp practice report--afternoon session

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Redskins rookie camp practice report--afternoon session

The Redskins finished up the open portion of their 2015 rookie camp under mostly cloudy skies in Ashburn. In my report from this morning’s session I focused primarily on the offense. Here is a look at their afternoon session (which was shortened somewhat by impending storms) with a focus on the defense.

—Kyshoen Jarrett lined up at both free and strong safety. He showed some good instincts at free but he’s a step too slow.

—Preston Smith is very active when the ball is snapped. On one snap from right OLB he got to the middle of the line fast enough to clog up a quick-hitting inside run. On a pass he charged in and nearly was in position to knock down a pass that was thrown to the defensive left side (another defender did bat it down). It should be noted that this was in shorts and helmets against an offense mostly comprised of players who will never play a down in the NFL. But it was fun to see such an active defender who probably will take snaps all over the defensive front.

—Martrell Spaight was in at inside linebacker and dropped back in coverage. The pass went deep over his head and tight end Je’Ron Hamm caught it. It didn’t look like Spaight should have been that deep but he did something wrong because Joe Barry gave him an earful. “That's a hard lesson to learn, Spaight,” the defensive coordinator yelled as he jogged back towards the huddle. “That's a hard lesson to learn.” Perhaps he needed to get a jam on the tight end but whatever it was made Barry very unhappy.

—Tryout linebacker Abraham Kromah out of Duke made a nice play on a quick out pass intended for undrafted free agent tight end Devin Mahina. Kromah timed his move well and knocked the ball down before the tight end could get his hands on it. Mahina perhaps could have had a shot at the ball if he had come back to it a bit and used his body to shield off the defender.

—I won’t swear that Tevin Mitchel played exclusively at slot corner but I didn’t see him line up anywhere else. He was good in coverage and blitzed on occasion. Now that we know what his role is we can see how well he performs it.

—They broke out into special teams drills about 45 minutes into the session. Rasheed Ross, Reggie Bell, and Jamison Crowder fielded punts. Tryout punter Keith Kostol out of Oregon State put them through a good workout, booming some punts with good hang time. He got some congratulations from other special teamers as he came off the field.

—The camp ends tomorrow; the rookies will convene at Redskins Park for film work and meetings.

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

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.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!