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Redskins rookie camp practice report--AM session

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Redskins rookie camp practice report--AM session

A band of some 65 players wearing Redskins helmets and consisting of draft picks, undrafted free agents, tryout players and a few first-year players took to the practice field at Redskins Park on Saturday for the second day of rookie minicamp. Here are some observations, most on the offensive side of the ball. I’ll take a closer look at the defenders during the afternoon session.

—Alabama quarterback Blake Sims was there as a tryout but he was not in yellow QB jersey. He wore No. 37 and was a running back, the position he started out playing as a freshman with the Crimson Tide before moving to quarterback. It appeared that it came back to him as he showed some good instincts and cutting ability.

—Fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder ran smooth routes and caught the ball well in individual drills. It’s hard to say if he’s NFL ready since he’s going against other rookies but he is pretty polished.

—Sixth-round pick Evan Spencer was observing but not participating due to a hamstring injury.

—Reggie Bell, an undrafted free agent, made a nice move to break clear of his defender over the middle but he draft a pass right in his hands. That’s not the way to surivive until OTAs.

—Tryout quarterback Anthony Neyer didn’t have a pass to his credit during his career at Southern California. He was accurate at times but wild at others. The throws that sail way over the receivers’ heads tend to stand out on film more than the accurate tosses with no pass rush. The latter is simply expected.

—Matt Jones is a north-south runner, no question about it. But he can make a move or two in the second level. He could be fun to watch in training camp.

—In one-on-one pass protection drills, they lined up Preston Smith against Brandon Scherff a few times. Scherff was a little bit ahead of Smith in this round. On one snap Scherff just stonewalled Smith and then in an immediate rematch the tackle stopped the defender again, although this time he has to get a grip on his jersey to slow him down.

—In the same drills Arie Kouandjio was aggressive trying to block his man, at times too much so. His technique is raw but his desire certainly is there.

—Austin Reiter, the team’s seventh-round pick, was a smoother operation and had more polished technique. It will be interesting to see what they have in mind for him this year.

—Undrafted free agent running back Trey Williams did a nice job picking his way through crowds and changing direction. We will see if he is as elusive when he goes up against the veterans later this month.

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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