Mike Shanahan looked at his team after 10 OTAs and two minicamp practices and said enough.Word that the third minicamp practice scheduled for Thursday might get called off filtered around Redskins Park on Tuesday. With the team having posted near-perfect attendance during the OTAs and with about a dozen players being spectators for all or part of Wednesdays practice, Shanahan decided to pull the trigger on that plan.Tomorrow, what were going to do is when the players get in, theyll get in around 7:30-8 a.m., well work out until about 9 a.m. and well run and well lift, Shanahan said after Wednesdays practice. Then, well have a couple hours of film, but were not going to practice tomorrow afternoon.Were a little banged up. Weve done a heck of a job throughout the offseason, all these OTAs. Tomorrow will be more of a workout, running and lifting, more of a meeting, but we wont go through what we did today.The players were not available for comment by the time Shanahan made this announcement but the decision undoubtedly got unanimous approval from the team.Well, make that a near-unanimous thumbs up. Robert Griffin III was not sharp at all during the two-hour Wednesday practice and he probably doesnt want to go into the six-week break between today and training camp with that performance to stew on.The next football activity at Redskins Park will come when Griffin and the other rookies report there in July 16. Its not really an early start to training camp, which will start on about July 26.Its just more a review of film, just going over the installation schedule, getting in a good lift, a good run, maybe a couple hours, not to overdo it, but to get some added time in meetings, a chance to ask any questions over the next month or five weeks, said Shanahan.Sometime between now and then, Griffin plans to get together with his receivers for at least a few days to get in some work.At least, thats what Shanahan has heard. I just read about it in the newspaper to be honest with you. Weve been going pretty hard here over the past five weeks, and these guys are going to work out over the next five weeks, he said. A lot of these quarterbacks and receivers will get together on their own, but you know the key is if they dont have the ability to get together, theyre working out and keeping on top of their business.
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.
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:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!
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 looks ready pic.twitter.com/opUrNtdInQ— ceroy (@ceroy16) February 23, 2017
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.
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!