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Need to Know: Redskins’ Gruden on commanding respect, Paea, Lauvao

Aug 5, 2016, 5:48 AM EDT


RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 6, six days before the Washington Redskins open their preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice approx. 3:00

—The Redskins last played a game 208 days ago. It will be 38 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason vs. Jets @FedEx Field 14; Final roster cut 29; Cowboys @ Redskins 44

—Second-year Redskins linebacker Martrell Spaight was born on this date in 1993.

Read and react: Jay Gruden

Here are some excerpts from Jay Gruden’s press conference on Thursday followed by my reaction to them.

On DL Stephen Paea

“Stephen’s showed up a lot lately, the last couple days. He’s showing his strength. He’s a very, very strong human and he’s showing that power once we put the pads on . . . So he feels good. I know he’s looking good, and we’re hoping he has a good year.”

I assume that “showed up” means that he looked good on film. I mean, as far as I know every player has reported to the facility for every practice. Even at that, this doesn’t sound like a very enthusiastic endorsement of Paea, who is entering the second season of a four-year, $21 million free agent contract. Difficulty adjusting to a new defense and an injury derailed his first season in Washington. It looks like he is going to get a second year but if he is going to get a third he needs to do more than show up.

On G Shawn Lauvao

“Shawn is doing good. He had his first couple days here and it looked like he never left, really. As far as how he’s feeling, I think he’s still a little rusty a little bit, I think you can tell. He’s got to gain full confidence back in his strength on both feet. Once he does that, he’ll be fine.”

Lauvao was not worked back into the lineup gradually; he was taking snaps with the first team as soon as he was off of the PUP list. I now have to make him the favorite over Spencer Long, who has been sharing snaps with the ones, to be the starting left guard against the Steelers on Sept. 12. That’s a long road back from eight months ago when he needed a scooter to get around Redskins Park.

On his coaching style

“That’s the most important part is commanding the respect and getting the most out of them. That’s my whole goal is to get the most out of each individual player. That’s the only thing I really care about. Obviously you want their respect, but my ultimate job is to get the most out of each guy and win as many games as possible.”

The thing is that it’s hard to gain the respect of players by just yelling at them all the time. There are other issue such as trust and fairness that come into the picture. It doesn’t mean that Gruden can’t have some fun with the players but he can’t be buddies with them. I think that Gruden has done a pretty good job of gaining the respect of the players while remaining approachable.

On emergency quarterbacks

“We are talking about that right now. We will put a package together for somebody. It’s either going to be Jordan Reed or [Jamison] Crowder, most likely.”

This is the scenario where both of the active quarterbacks are knocked out of the game and somebody has to take the snaps. It is the football equivalent of the Secretary of Commerce coming up in the line of succession after a disaster. Although, the last time the Redskins had to use an emergency QB in the infamous Body Bag game in 1990 Brian Mitchell went 3 for 6 for 40 yards and ran it in to cap a touchdown drive. That is a big legacy that either Reed or Crowder would have to live up to should the emergency arise.

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In case you missed it 

  1. colorofmyskinz - Aug 5, 2016 at 6:19 AM

    Rich thanks for keeping it real and I have some questions:

    – do we have Breeland for 2 more years on his contract? We are going to be dealing with some big cap issues to keep him with players like Kirk, DJax, Garcon and many more looming. We know we are only keeping one if any of DJax and Garcon, but many other contracts needing renewed. Breeland could quite honestly be our best corner. After this year his price tag will be through the roof. No way to keep him and Norman in my opinion. Thoughts?

    -is there any data on east coast and southern teams dealing with more training camp injury issues due to the heat they have to battle vs. all other teams that do not have to deal with the combination of heat and humidity? It has got to be much harder to keep hydrated and there has got to be more tendon issues in this type of environment as compared to most other teams in better climates. Any data on that?

    Thanks! HTTR!

    • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:39 AM

      After this season, they can talk extension with Breeland — he’s under contract through next season. So depending on the team’s offer, Breeland may want to play out 2017 or not show up to OTAs or even some mandatory stuff. It will all depend on what he wants and what the team is offering. There’s really no point concerning ourselves about though as any kind of injury this season would likely make an extension moot. Basically, let’s see how THIS season goes, is the only course of action. Bree’ counts just over $800,000 against 2017’s cap and an extension would significantly increase that number while keeping 2018’s cap number more team friendly. See Jordan Reed’s cap hits for an idea of how his cap hits would look like (add one to the year and a couple million per year if he produces like you think he will):

      Reed’s Hits
      2015 $742,248
      2016 $3,406.028
      2017 $5,800,000
      2018 $10,300,000

      Bree’s Hits
      2016 $719,714
      2017 $809,714 (without an extension; a few million more with an extension)
      2018 $13,000,000 (likely if a free agent and improves as projected; significantly less if an extension is made)

      Again nothing can be done until AFTER this season.

  2. redskins12thman - Aug 5, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    I know Paea has had a difficult 12 months but he needs to improve his performance this season. I’m disappointed that he has been unable to beat out RJF, Reyes and Murphy for more time on the first team. Paea needs to be a leader, along with Baker, in getting more d-line penetration and QB pressures.

    The O-line seemed to perform better when Lauvao and Lichtensteiger were in the lineup, so until Long proves otherwise, I hope the former start.

    McCloughan talked about the need for 10 more red (not blue) chip players; I’m guessing the spots he is looking for include: RDE, OLB, LG, C, NT / DT, SS, FS, RB, WR and potentially QB.

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 5, 2016 at 6:58 AM

      I think we have strong safety locked with Sua once they convert him over. QB is locked with cousins studfeld combo. All the others I completely agree with. DHall and Blackmon are a combined patch at FS that won’t last a number of years so completely agree here. I am really hoping Murphy opens out eyes this year on this conversion. All info points toward an impact player there. He has size, length, huge strength, and speed. Once he locks in at this position he will be a beast. I watched him in college and he is talented. This guy is a cowboy that worked out by wrestling cattle. If DJax thinks his 6 lbs of muscle build are impressive, think about 30 lbs of muscle added. He will be a beast.

      • colorofmyskinz - Aug 5, 2016 at 6:59 AM

        I call breakout players to be Jones, Breeland, Murphy, smith.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 5, 2016 at 7:44 AM

        He said he wanted ten red chips so perhaps he wants two at some positions (in lieu of any at SS and QB). I think Su’a will have a primary role on the Redskins, but I’ve heard he’s not fast for that position (although he has a lot of other great attributes). As for QB, most require 3/4 years to develop, and if at any point they don’t view Sudfeld as the answer, the will begin to look for someone else to replace Sudfeld.

    • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:47 AM

      “I’m disappointed that he has been unable to beat out RJF, Reyes and Murphy for more time on the first team.”

      What are you talking about? What is the first team right now? How can four guys be on the first team in the same position? Reyes wasn’t on the team last year and Murphy was at a total different position. What is there to be disappointed in RIGHT NOW? I get last year but now? Now, we’re in training camp (first week) and there are a lot of guys to get looks at in full pads. Let’s give this a couple of preseason games before we make our snap judgements.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 5, 2016 at 1:09 PM

        So far, Paea wasn’t getting as many first team reps as those other players. That could change by the end of camp.

      • abanig - Aug 5, 2016 at 1:15 PM

        Yeah, it’s hard to say he’s going to start opposite Baker right now at RDE.

        Cooley projects RJF to start at RDE because of his burst and ability to get in the backfield.

        Chris Russell projects Murphy to be the starting RDE. I’m not sure why, I saw this on Twitter though.

        Reyes and Paea have also seen time with the starting unit.

        To me the starting RDE position is kind of irrelevant. All of these guys will be rotated in and out of the game and some of them will play LDE & NT as well to give Baker and Golston a break. There are plenty of snaps to go around.

        • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 2:31 PM

          “To me the starting RDE position is kind of irrelevant. All of these guys will be rotated in and out of the game and some of them will play LDE & NT as well to give Baker and Golston a break. There are plenty of snaps to go around.”

          That’s the crux of this. It is irrelevant who starts and there will be guys rotated in. Murphy and Paea are locks to make the team due to the team’s investment in them. RJF is going to make the team as well. Paea’s salary is 2.89% of the total cap. How are we hurt that other guys are getting looks? How are we hurt if he doesn’t start? Next year, he could be Andre Roberts but again, it’s not that much of an investment and as long as SOMEBODY is getting the job done. RJF has been getting the job done.

  3. kenlinkins - Aug 5, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    It will be interesting to watch Tevin Mitchel of the Colts play this Sunday in the Hall of Fame game to see just how he has progressed. To think the Redskins may have had 2 starting CB’s types (Amerson and Mitchel if he can gain the nickel back spot) on the roster this time last year and let them both walk and still won the NFC East after all the injury problems with DB’s. The Redskins seem to still have a very good group of DB’s in camp right now, maybe the Redskins GM has a real talent at finding DB’s! I wonder if Amerson had worked out here and Mitchel made it to I/R if the Redskins would have signed Toler and Norman?

    • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:52 AM

      Toler? No. Norman? Probably still. The important thing to realize is the the corner back unit is better off now than it was with those two and is better of now than if both were still on the team. Ask the Raiders if they rather have Amerson or Norman. Ask the Colts if they would rather have Mitchell or Fuller. Mitchell was poached by the way. Not let go to walk.

      • kenlinkins - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:28 PM

        Not sure that I would call Mitchel poached, he was not protected and the Redskins took a gamble that didn’t work out. As for your other points, I would agree.

        • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:36 PM

          The same thing can happen to Stephen Daniels who will miss the season with a torn laburnum. Either cut him and hope he clears waivers or keep his spot for 25 days. Mitchel was definitely poached.

  4. troylok - Aug 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    Before every Eagles game the coaches should show the body bag game to the team – including the laughing and joking on the Eagles sideline. If that won’t get a Redskins player fired up, nothing will.

    I have always felt like a team should have a running back as the emergency QB. They can get a few QB snaps and maybe when the regular QB’s are healthy they can sneak the running back in behind center in the wildcat formation.

    Regarding Paea, maybe he is just in the wrong system. He sounds more like an “occupy your blocker” kind of defensive lineman (Jim Haslett’s version), than a “shoot the gap” kind of defensive lineman. He also sounds more like a 4-3 defensive tackle than a nose or end in a 3-4. Maybe they should trade him for someone who is a better fit…

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:04 AM

      Jordan Reed was recruited as a QB by Florida, although he never appeared in a game as one.

  5. rtcwon - Aug 5, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    I’ve always felt Long is more likely to be cut than start.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 6, 2016 at 6:44 PM

      I don’t think Long will be cut, but I am not encouraged that he’s been unable to win out versus Lauvao. He’s a solid two on the depth chart and will play if Lauvao is unhealthy enough to go.

      • rtcwon - Aug 7, 2016 at 12:03 AM

        Lauvao is fine. My point is Long was not a good back up last year, they need to find someone better. Archives

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