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Need to Know: Can Kouandjio push his way into the Redskins’ starting lineup?

May 19, 2016, 5:09 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 19, five days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.


—The Redskins last played a game 130 days ago. It will be 116 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: OTAs start 75; Redskins training camp starts 70; Preseason opener @ Falcons 84

Hot topics

—Can Arie Kouandjio push his way into the starting lineup? We haven’t seen him on the field yet this year but I’ve been told he’s up to about 325 pounds, up from 310 last year. He has the power and the nasty attitude that the team likes to have on the line. Did he use his year on the 53-man roster to polish his technique enough to possibly push past Shawn Lauvao and push Spencer Long over to center? We will have to wait until training camp to really get a handle on where Kouandjio is; he is one player who needs to be evaluated with full pads on.

—The Redskins over/under for wins has been put out by some offshore books and it is 7.5. I see three games being critical for them in hitting the over—Week 2 against the Cowboys, the game in London against the Bengals and at the Bears in Week 16. If they win two or three of those they should finish with eight or more wins. A 1-2 or 0-3 mark in these key games will make it hard for them.

—Looking back on it after two weeks I’m still kind of surprised that the Redskins got an extension with Jordan Reed hammered out. I figured it would happen eventually but I had fallen into the trap of thinking I had the front office figured out in terms of timing. Last year they got a deal done with Ryan Kerrigan just before the start of training camp and with Trent Williams a few weeks later. So extensions were a late summer thing for this group. In addition, there was no word that that Reed and the Redskins were close to a deal. So in my notes a Reed extension was supposed to come onto the radar screen starting in mid July. But each negotiation is on its own timetable and when it’s done, it’s done.

—I was at Redskins Park yesterday to tape my weekly appearance on Redskins Nation. One thing I noticed is that they are starting the process of installing the new practice bubble. It’s been down since the big snowstorm caused irreparable damage last winter. I’m not sure how long the process will take, it might be a stretch to have it inflated by the start of OTAs next week. Certainly, it will be ready when they return to Redskins Park in August after training camp is over.

— Oh, and Kirk Cousins, the guy who signed a contract that guarantees him $20 million this year over two months ago, still is driving the conversion van he bought from his grandmother to Redskins Park. Ryan Kerrigan’s Chevy Tahoe, the same car he has been driving for years, was also in the parking lot. Something tells me that we won’t hear about either one of these guys filing for bankruptcy after their playing careers are over.

In case you missed it 

  1. colorofmyskinz - May 19, 2016 at 6:07 AM

    Arie is going to be a beast and he would be a great guard. They need to start the center conversion now because I want him in the field.

    I say Cousin contract in 75 days or less prior to those OTAs. Cousins will want his every 15 minutes training plan mapped out over the next 3 years on his spread sheet before that offseason work. He is anal that way and a team player that wants to give Scot the ability to get some other key pieces. He wants a championship too not just a big check. I say before June 15.

    FWIW: we saw a direct quote from Shanahan yesterday of him calling out RGIII and Snyder collusion. I knew it was not just speculation. Again, thank god Snyder realized his faults and turned the keys over to Scot and crew. He was a disaster for our franchise. Kudos to Snyder for his humility to step aside.

    • kenlinkins - May 19, 2016 at 7:29 AM

      The Shanahan quote may have been a reaction to RG3’s statement in Cleveland after the Browns OTA’s. RG3 said he believed that the Browns new head coach will take him a better football player (not QB, not leader, not passer). It seems that every time RG3 talks to the press coach Shanahan has some reaction. It is almost as if Coach Shanahan thinks that him not getting a head coaching job some how is RG3’s fault. Rich: Could Coach Shanahan really think that?

      • troylok - May 19, 2016 at 7:38 AM

        Wow, that’s some interesting insight. You very well could be right since Shanahan’s ego wouldn’t allow for the possibility that he has fallen behind the times as a head coach and has always had a problem relating to his players.

        • kenlinkins - May 19, 2016 at 9:39 AM

          Well after further review it would seem that any Mike Shanahan remarks had nothing to do with RG3’s Cleveland OTA’s presser. It seems that Jason Reld had a story out on Wednesday and IMO it was written over the last few weeks and timed to come out at the end of The Brown OTA’s. So I am taking Mike Shanahan off the hook in this case. While there seemed to be a few more details about a RG3 / Shanahan meeting in Feb 2013, I really did not seem much new information other than some reactions by Moon and ex redskins players. Interesting reading, but nothing more then Jason Reld read on RG3’s fall from ROY to Browns QB.

        • ET - May 19, 2016 at 11:55 AM

          I’m no Shanny Superfan, but I feel like he’s tried to be accurate when assessing both Griffin and Cousins. Does he have his own agenda? Sure. But Shanahan is least his ego-driven self when assessing personnel. He’s had mostly good things to say about Robert as an athlete and QB, while also pointing out his very real shortcomings when it comes to running a pro-style offense as a drop-back passer. And, even though it’s wise to take Shanny’s view with a grain of salt, it’s a fascinating window into what *might’ve* happened behind the scenes with Robert.

    • troylok - May 19, 2016 at 7:44 AM

      I’m looking forward to seeing Arie Kouandjio play some this preseason before we anoint him the starter. I thought he would get some starts last season when LeRibeus was struggling at center. They could have moved Long to center and brought up Arie, but there was something lacking that kept the team from pulling the trigger. I think his pass blocking needed some polishing.

      BTW, it’s exciting to have these conversations about the offensive linemen, replacing a good guy with a better guy. For the first time in a long time we have quality depth and some real prospects coming up the ladder. Callahan and McGloughin know their offensive linemen.

  2. babyteal1 - May 19, 2016 at 7:47 AM

    Lets hope he starts…two nasty guards on the line would be fantastic!!! HTTR

  3. kenlinkins - May 19, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    IMO both Long and Kouandjio should be able to push for a starting position in training camp. Both are 3rd round picks and In his 2nd year, Long did play / start 13 games covering for Lauvao. IMO Long, Kouandjio and LeRibeus could be the Starters and Back up for LG and Center, but I do not think the Redskins can Cut both Kory L and Lauvao in the same year, one of them should make the team.
    Rich: It was great to hear that both Cousin and Kerrigan have shown a good working knowledge of compound interest and not spending every penny you make within weeks of earning it. They have a very limited window to make the big money the NFL offers and after Agents, Taxes, taking care of Mom, lawyers, and finding a investment person you can trust. $10 million turns into $3 million real fast. By the way, what is TE Reed driving these days?

    • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 10:04 AM

      I think the only way Spencer long start if he can develop as a center but jay gruden doubt that will happen… Kory L. Don’t look big enough to play center last time I seen him…I believe arie kouandjiou will be solid at left guard I believe he’s the kinda guy that will improve week to week unlike Spencer long did last year…he struggle in all the games played in run blocking…I don’t think jay gruden was to concern about Morgan moses and Brandon Scherff…. I think he was really concern about Spencer long development week to week and that’s why we kept seeing the predicting play calling when when jay gruden realize we could win the division that’s when the play calling started to get really aggressive

  4. bk70 - May 19, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    Rich, when are the players actual weight corrected on the Redskins Roster? After training camp/start of season?

    Arie Kouandjio – “I’ve been told he’s up to about 325 pounds, up from 310 last year.”; Earlier article concerning Niles Paul on his weight changes following medical recovery. Austin Reiter with his gains as we head into OTA.
    Much publicity about Trent Murphy’s additional pounds with movement to DL. No way do I believe that Kirk Cousins is only 202 pounds.

    • ET - May 19, 2016 at 11:59 AM

      Good question! It doesn’t seem like the height and weight data for any players gets updated often. Disinformation or just better things to do? Maybe a little bit of both.

    • Trey Gregory - May 20, 2016 at 2:52 AM

      This question gets asked all the time and the answer is always the same: they don’t get updated. I’m pretty sure they use the players combine weight and leave it for their whole career. These guys go up and down in weight all the time. Do you really think they have someone weighing them every couple months to update their profile?

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 19, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    The knock on Arie going into the draft was for lack of agility/stiffness:

    If he’s improved his technique, he’ll be good to go….always had the attitude and the muscles.

    • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 9:51 AM

      I’m sure he will be a upgrade from Spencer long who couldn’t help the run game last year

  6. Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    I want arie kouandjiou to get the job but I gotta feeling that they gonna give that job to another player and arie kouandjiou gonna get over looked…I’m not sold on Spencer long…Brandon scherff and Morgan Moses looked better then Spencer long and they was better in the run game…every time they run the ball Spencer long way he got pushed back and we will get negative yards

    • bangkokben - May 19, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      If the running problem was a Spencer Long problem, why was running the ball to the right equally ineffective?

      • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 10:06 AM

        They had more problems running Spencer long way because he couldn’t get to the second level multiple games sometimes he even got pushed back into the runner

        • bangkokben - May 19, 2016 at 10:14 AM

          I saw Scherff get pushed back initially off the ball just about everytime. He seems to be slow to react to the snap count because after contact he’d eventually control his man but often that was too late in the run game.

          My point, however, is not that Long didn’t struggle. HE DID. But the entire line was BAD in the run game for the last 3/4 of the year.

          According to:
          The Redskins were dead last in the league in rushing yards on first down. Conversely, they were 2nd in passing yards on first down.

        • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 11:32 AM

          That’s crazy because profootballtalk had Brandon scherff ranked high among guards in the NFL he couldn’t have been that bad to be ranked high…most of the problem came from the left guard and center position Idk what games you was watching Brandon Scherff was solid as a rookie

        • bangkokben - May 19, 2016 at 1:13 PM

          Scherff WAS solid just slow off the snap. Watch the first few snaps of each game last year. His man beat him off the line of scrimmage and plows into him. Scherff does a great job anchoring and then getting the upper hand but his reaction time is slow. The average human being takes .25 seconds from the time they hear go until he moves. Scherff has to be .30 to .35. Even in the article from Bulloch in the post ( praising Scherff, twice he is referenced in the article of initially getting beat — both in pass blocking but I remember it not just in pass blocking. Where it hurts the team if he doesn’t correct it is in short yardage.

  7. bangkokben - May 19, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    I’d take the bet on the Redskins not having a losing season. What are the other teams’ lines in the division? Any team 8 or higher?

    Kouandjio and Long have been the team’s plan (defined: desired outcome) since the beginning of the off season. Nice to see Rich get on board with this good vibration. Now it’s up to the players.

    I was equally wrong about the time line on Reed. Kudos to McC for mixing things up.

    Bubble, who needs it? There’s never inclement weather in Ashburnistan. All kidding aside, let’s get that thing up. Last thing needed is a key player slipping on a wet field tearing a meniscus.

    As for Cousins still driving the conversion van, I suppose that has MORE to do with his temperament BUT — correct me if I’m wrong — Cousins hasn’t seen a dime of that money yet. Unlike Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler and even Jordan Reed; whom had HUGE signing bonuses, Cousins doesn’t get any of the franchise tag until the games start. Then he’ll get approximately $1.2 million a week. This can be motivation for many players to get a deal done and get cash up front. Cousins, however, is content driving a conversion van — and clearly has the credit to get something NEW — and doesn’t seem to be motivated by the finer things.

    • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 10:10 AM

      They need the bubble in case of a thunderstorm they can still practice… One off-season they had to keep going to this gym to practice and players/coaches didn’t like it and that’s when they decided to build a bubble so no matter what the weather is they can still get a good practice in

  8. shermanp79 - May 19, 2016 at 11:02 AM

    I thought he(AK) would have a shot at playing last year but Moses stepped up at RT.(Sherff G) I hear some dog Long but I think he can play. He had/has some growing but didn’t get pushed around like some which is why moving him to C makes sense. I believe he played some C in College or C in the Pros was an option. It completes this line, other than some depth and they can grow together. With Williams the oldest, they can replace him first or slide Moses over. The way OL continue to thrive for years, replace one at a time as they age or the money gets too big.

    • bangkokben - May 19, 2016 at 11:19 AM

      Williams is under contract until 2020 — when he’ll be 31. The younger guys may need to be replaced first. Moses and Long are under contract through next year. Kouandjio and Scherff through 2018. Then the Redskins have to decide if they want to pick up the 5th year option on Scherff for 2019 which will likely be around $10,000,000. That’s a ton to pay an RG. Bottom line, let’s enjoy this o-line while it’s here.

    • Mr.moneylover - May 19, 2016 at 11:47 AM

      I thought arie kouandjiou was gonna play last year too but like rich said he struggle to get his block on the second level… if he improved on that area of his game I believe he will definitely get a shot at playing this year…they normally will have O-linemen sit out a year before giving them a shot just like Spencer long but I don’t think he did enough to keep that job its gonna be a competition and if he improved like Morgan moses did in his second year I can see Arie kouandjiou line up next to Trent Williams …if that happens you basically build a wall for Kirk cousins not to get sack at all…I actually think the sack total will go down even more…the two weak links got injured in the playoffs game against the packers it was one of the reason why Kirk cousins had to keep rushing his throws and was getting sack…I think this is the year they sure up they running game an O-line …they got the players to do it…I forgot to mention they also have Takoby Coldfield so they got options for sure this season last year they didn’t have to many options

  9. sidepull - May 19, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    I think Shawn Lauvao is your back up. He is a big fragile lineman. I dont think they can count on him for a majority of the snaps.

    • ET - May 19, 2016 at 2:39 PM

      Then it comes down to cost / benefit. Is it worth paying Lauvao’s salary for him to be mostly (entirely?) a backup? I’d argue it isn’t worth it. In that scenario, keep Arie and Spencer and drop the vet.

      (Let me be clear that I’d like to see Lauvao return if he’s in his early 2015 form, however.)

  10. John - May 19, 2016 at 1:15 PM

    The line was great in terms of pass blocking. Center and left gaurd were weak spots due to injury. Long was to slow going to the second level, but then he had trouble with quick linebackers like Kuechly and Lee. Moving him to center is going to be an issue with blitzes at the A gap.

    Regarding Kouanjo, there is no guarantee he’ll be an upgrade over Long being he has similar issues (quickness, 2nd level, etc.). Having better blocking from the tight ends is another thing that would help the running game. To many holding calls and blown assignments. Let’s hope Vernon Davis makes a difference there. Alf was also lazy last year. Let’s not forget that. It helps when your runner is not loafing or has forgotten how to run with the ball, when the blocks are there.

    • ET - May 19, 2016 at 2:46 PM

      I don’t think Alfred was “lazy” last season. He’s no layabout.

      Hesitant at the line of scrimmage? Yes. Late in hitting his holes? Yes. Missing his former field vision? Yes. Slower? Probably.

      But “lazy”? No way.

      • John - May 19, 2016 at 3:41 PM

        When the guys up front miss blocks, its on the line or just good defensive effort. When the holes are there and the back week in and week out is indecisive and not putting out the effort of past seasons, especially when not injured, that’s lazy.

  11. goback2rfk - May 20, 2016 at 1:52 AM

    Snyder and Rg3 ruined Mike Shanahan, I feel bad for the guy. I totally understand Mike Shanahan’s comments regarding RgKnee. . Thats OK.. We will see you week 4 RgKnee so I hope you learned how to slide.

    • John - May 20, 2016 at 10:35 AM

      Perhaps some of the RGme fan club will read the Undefeated article and learn the truth about their hero and realize he was a one hit wonder and get over their anti-Gruden, anti-Shanahan sentiment. Archives

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