This year, Rex Grossman has no illusions of claiming the starting quarterback job in Washington.Only four days into training camp, in fact, he knows where hes likely to spend the season: on the sideline, wearing a cap, clipboard in hand, backing up rookie Robert Griffin III.The writing was on the wall a long time ago that this was going to happen, before I even signed, said Grossman, who inked a one-year extension in March. I knew what I was getting into. Im happy to be here and ready to play if they need me.Obviously, if you have a chance to compete for the starting job, there are a few less words of advice, he added. In this situation, Im all for it. Im all for Robert playing great and taking this team to the next level. And Im going to help him out as much as possible.Asked if having clearly defined roles might help Griffin, who was named the starter by Coach Mike Shanahan 10 days after he was drafted, Grossman said it does.I think for him, its probably a lot easier knowing that youre the guy, Grossman said. Thats what I would want.Grossman said he understands the importance of being a mentor. But he also said hell be careful not to overdo it.Im going to let the coaches do their thing, he said. Ive seen a lot of our plays, a lot of drop back stuff. Ive seen just about every coverage and have had a ton of reps on it.Grossman, 31, has started 16 games under Shanahan the past two seasons, so, presumably, he knows the offense better than anyone other than, well, Shanahan.Im there for him to ask questions, Grossman added, and in certain situations give him reminders of hot routes, reminders of situational plays. Im going to be there as much as possible for him to bounce things off of, if he doesnt want to go to a coach.So far, Grossman said hes been impressed with Griffins knowledge of the playbook. But hes wondering the same thing everyone else is: how will the rookie apply that knowledge on the football field when it matters.Because as Grossman said, theres a big difference between knowing it on paper and actually performing it. Hes doing a great job with it.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 25, 12 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 4
—NFL Combine (3/2) 5
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 51
—NFL Draft (4/27) 61
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 197
The Redskins week that was
Here is my take on some of the week’s top stories from Real Redskins and CSN Mid Atlantic.
Cousins trade to 49ers could happen at combine, per NFL analyst—The Redskins must decide if they are ever going to sign Kirk Cousins long term. If the answer is no, they must figure out if they are better off having him around for one year prior to losing him without compensation or trying to trade him now. It is possible to simultaneously believe that the Redskins should sign Cousins for the long term but that trading him may be necessary.
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Will McCloughan go defense in 1st round? If the best player available plays defense, he will. If he doesn’t I’m just going to have to shut down Twitter for a while. Or maybe I won’t have to since it will crash.
Under the radar issues for the Redskins—The offseason checklist has more than quarterback, D-line and wide receiver on it. The nine draft picks they have will be critical as they try to build on 2016’s occasionally frustrating results.
Why can't the Redskins sign Garcon and Jackson? That question is easy to answer—with Jamison Crowder due to get an extension next year they will run into cap problems if they bring both of them back. It does look like the numbers will work with one of them coming back, however, and if they do let both walk it will be a head-scratcher.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Can McCoy produce similar results at less cost than Cousins? With Colt McCoy under contract for $3 million and a potential Cousins tag costing nearly $24 million some at Redskins Park are wondering if Cousins is eight times better than McCoy and if he’s not, why pay him? This is kind of a silly question, like asking if Trent Williams is 15 times better than Ty Nsekhe or if Josh Norman is 20 times better than Kendall Fuller. The question is, does that player at that key position good enough to play his part in getting the team into the playoffs? McCoy hasn’t proven that he is, while Cousins has been to the playoffs once and just missed last year. The proven ability to do something counts for a lot in the form of the number of zeros in a player’s paycheck.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Redskins have cap room for a top free agent addition at safety
- Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a goo...
- Redskins offseason questions: Can Cousins take the next step in 2017?
- Good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football
- Uncertainty at QB impacts Redskins' pursuit of free agent WRs
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!