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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

The Redskins held their final practice of the offseason under cloud cover with some light rain in Ashburn. Here are my observations:

—Trent Williams and Jordan Reed were playing catch off to the side while special teams drills were underway. Williams has a decent arm but Reed, who went to Florida as a quarterback, had better form.

—Trey Williams mishandled a pass and and went to the ground and did about half a dozen pushups.

—Matt Jones was on the field with the first unit early and often. I think they have major expectations for the rookie.

—Among those who lined up with the second unit defense were Kedric Golston, Ricky Jean Francois, Jackson Jeffcoat, Tevin Mitchel, Adam Hayward, Tajh Hanson, Justin Rogers, Duke Ihenacho, and Trenton Robinson.

—It appeared that Colt McCoy got the majority of the second-team snaps with Kirk Cousins working with the third. It was the opposite arrangement on Tuesday.

—On one snap, Preston Smith lined up to defend slot receiver Andre Roberts. It looked like Smith stayed with the receiver but the ball was thrown to the other side. That’s something to keep an eye on in Richmond.

—In a red zone drill Robert Griffin III hit Logan Paulsen with a nice toss on a fade route. Paulsen was very close to the sideline and the defense claimed that he was out of bounds. From where I was it was hard to tell. Still a good pass either way.

—Still in the red zone a bit later, Roberts had a well-placed pass over the middle bounce out of his hands. Justin Rogers nearly came up with the ball after tipping it a couple of times. It would have been a nice play but Rogers probably should have made the interception.

—On the first snap of seven on seven in the red zone, Griffin took his time looking around for a receiver. Jay Gruden did not appear to be happy with him.

—A few plays later Griffin got rid of the ball quickly. Although the pass was incomplete Gruden stepped up to his QB and gave him some praise.

—McCoy came in and threw a bad, late pass into the end zone that rookie Tevin Mitchel intercepted.

—The kickoff return unit that took the field first had Evan Spencer, Kyshoen Jarrett, Matt Jones, Will Compton, and Trenton Robinson along the front line. Among those playing deep were Adam Hayward and Akeem Davis. There was no returner for this particular drill.

—Arie Kouandjio jumped on a hard count, turning a third and three into a third and eight. He ran a lap. Gruden seems determined to reduce such mental errors this season.

—Trent Murphy had a very good day, spending a lot of time in the offensive backfield. He beat both Brandon Scherff and Tom Compton on multiple occasions.

—Matt Jones got just a few yards on a quick hitter up the middle before what would have been a heck of a collision between him and linebacker Adam Hayward, who was in perfect position to lay on a big hit had they been wearing pads. Gruden pointed out after practice that Jones was running upright because of the non-contact nature of the practices.

—Jamison Crowder had a bad drop on Tuesday. He made it up at least in part with a nice, leaping catch of a Cousins pass in the end zone.

—Ran in to Scot McCloughan on the way down to the practice field. He mention that he was very happy with the rookie class “both on and off the field.” The GM likes the way they pay attention in meetings and generally how they conduct themselves. The coaches have been paying similar compliments to the rookies.

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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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In case you missed it

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. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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