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What I Want to Know From the 'Skins' OTAs This Week

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    What I Want to Know From the 'Skins' OTAs This Week
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    'Skins QB Kirk Cousins against the Panthers in December. I know what I'd ask him at OTAs media day. I also know what he would say. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    We plan and plan and plan, yet sometimes scheduling isn’t ideal. That’s the case this week as other life factors are keeping me away from Redskins Park on Wednesday where the Washington Redskins will be participating in the first of three weeks of Organized Team Activities* (OTAs).

    Other opportunities will follow, but here are four questions for four specific folks -- including quarterback Kirk Cousins -- I would hope to ask if there.

    (* Each OTA week runs Tuesday-Thursday, but Wednesdays are media days.)

    For: Redskins coach Jay Gruden

    Question: In light of general manager Scot McCloughan’s exit, were you more involved with the various off-season matters, namely free agency and the NFL draft?

    The matter might be different going forward as the Redskins ponder help for the front office and this isn’t a new question, but it’s worth asking. Why? Because when one gains power, one rarely gives it up easily. Washington didn’t replace McCloughan after firing the GM just as free agency kicked off. By that point, McCloughan’s days appeared numbered, but the business of football moved on. Team President Bruce Allen shepherded the process and again during April’s NFL draft. Yet it would be only natural for Gruden, who signed a two-year extension a few days before McCloughan’s official departure, to exert more control or input after directing Washington to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 20 years. Does that mean he pushed for towering wide receiver Terrelle Pryor in free agency? What about drafting Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round or letting veteran defensive lineman Chris Baker walk? Let’s ask and find out.

    For: Redskins cornerback Josh Norman

    Question: Josh, how are things?

    There are some players, nay humans, who don’t need much direction when it comes to sharing their opinion or expressing thought. No. 24 for the Burgundy and Gold, the self-proclaimed “best cornerback on Earth,” is one of them. Sure, we could get into specific topics like his older brother working out for the Redskins during rookie camp, his latest overseas soccer excursion, his rivalries with NFC East receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant or what he thinks of the defense following several changes on all three levels. No doubt, some or all of those matters will come up. Start with a simple question and see where the cover corner’s mind goes. That’s the good stuff.

    For: Redskins receiver Josh Doctson

    Question: How's that injured Achilles?

    Sure, Washington signed Pryor and Brian Quick in free agency. Yes, Jamison Crowder returns as a havoc-causing force from the slot. Yet the most interesting aspect of the Redskins’ receiving corps involves the 2016 first round pick. Doctson appeared in only two games last season after an Achilles injury suffered during offseason workouts impeded his campaign. Gruden told reporters Monday that the 6-foot, 2-inch target is “full for everything” including individual and unit drills during the upcoming practices. Good news. Let’s see Doctson say as much and note his level of confidence when doing so. We essentially never dealt with an upbeat version of Doctson last season seeing as questions about the injury started quickly. If he’s truly good to go, Gruden and Cousins will be upbeat over having the red-zone threat at their disposal.

    For: Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins

    Question: I don’t really want to ask about your contract situation because you’re probably not going to say anything of note. So is there a topic we can discuss instead, where you’ll provide an interesting response that will make my readers and boss happy?

    Fine, that phrasing wouldn’t come out of my mouth, but the thought lives in my brain. We all know the deal: Washington slapped the franchise tag on the starting quarterback back in March for the second straight year. That means Cousins is set to earn just shy of $24 million for the 2017 season if a long-term deal isn’t reached before the NFL’s July 15 deadline. Without a multi-year contract, Cousins once again becomes a free agent next season. The Redskins can go for the franchise tag hat trick, but the cost – no less than $28 million – becomes unwieldy. If Cousins signs with another team and the Redskins let him go, they’ll receive squat in compensation.

    The thing is, none of this is breaking news but rather information discussed at great length in various forms all over town and the NFL. The team remains hopeful. Cousins typically says squat. Holding your breath for a positive resolution seems unwise. So, rather than bring up contract talk for the umpteenth time, how about another topic? Kirk, you pick.

    Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.