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Five Takeaways: Bruce Allen At NFL League Meetings


Here's five takeaways from Redskins President Bruce Allen's sitdown with CSN Mid-Atlantic's JP Finlay at the 2017 League Meetings in Phoenix.

1. The Redskins have already accomplished some of their offseason goals.
While free agency has died down quite a bit from its apex on the first day of the new calendar year, Allen likes where the Redskins currently stand entering the month of April.

Washington has been able to re-sign quite a few impact players on both sides of the ball, including tight end Vernon Davis, tackle Ty Nsekhe and defensive end Ziggy Hood among others.

Additionally, the team brought in some young, talented free agents and they were able to place the exclusive franchise tag on record-breaking quarterback Trent Williams.

"We added nine people in free agency when you include re-signing Kirk and more of our own players," Allen said. "I think we added four new starters to our team and now have started to focus on the draft."

2. Kirk Cousins is penciled in as the starting quarterback for the 2017 season.
Speaking of Cousins, even though the franchise tag is essentially a one-year deal, and there have been outside rumors about the Redskins exploring other quarterback options, Allen reaffirmed that the Michigan State product will be the starter in 2017.

In fact, the Redskins are still hoping to lock up Cousins – who earned a nod to the 2017 Pro Bowl – to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.

Cousins, of course, has been the full-time starting quarterback for Washington over the last two seasons, leading the Redskins to a 17-14-1 regular season record.

He finished the 2016 season with 4,917 yards – 15th most in NFL history -- and 25 touchdowns along with 12 interceptions. He also compiled a season passer rating of 97.2 and earned NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors in November.

"We have had a lot of dialogue, he signed his tenure and we have an option for the 2018 season," Allen said. "Our goal from the beginning is to get him signed long-term. We know July 15th is the league-wide deadline to get that done, and I am hopeful and confident we will do it."

3. As he continues to grow as the head coach, Jay Gruden earned his contract extension.
Earlier this month, the Redskins announced a contract extension for Gruden after just his third season in Washington.

Check out these photos of Head Coach Jay Gruden from 2016.

Despite a 4-12 season in 2014 – Gruden's first as a head coach -- the Redskins experienced a breakthrough season in 2015, as Gruden led the team to a 9-7 record.

Washington had a 5-7 record entering the final quarter of the season, but registered four consecutive victories including a 38-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 26, to win the division.

Gruden became the sixth coach in team history to lead the Redskins to a playoff berth within the first two years at the helm, joining Ray Flaherty, Dutch Bergman, Dudley DeGroot, George Allen and Joe Gibbs.

Washington's back-to-back winning seasons the last two years – the franchise's first since the 1996-97 seasons – proved that Gruden is trending upwards as a head coach.

"After the season [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan after we made some coaching changes following the season," Allen said. "Dan really likes the direction Jay is going and is really excited about where his career is going. He gets better every year and his creativity with the offensive game plan is obvious. His leadership skills and honesty with the players is unique and a special relationship. I think it bodes well for our future."

4. The Redskins like the size of their restructured wide receivers corps.
Allen admitted that he is going to miss Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson donning Redskins jerseys and how they conducted themselves both on and off the field, but he's looking forward to seeing what a younger – and taller – group can do in 2017.

On the second day of free agency, the Redskins made a splash with the signing of converted wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr.

The 6-foot-4 Pryor recorded 77 catches and more than 1,000 yards in 2016 despite constant change at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.

"I think his future is going to be better than anything you have seen in the past, and he has flashed elite skills at the wide receiver position," Allen said. "He is a great young man, and obviously having so much quarterback experience he understands the game from a quarterback's perspective and he is ready to get to work."

The Redskins also announced last Friday the signing of 6-foot-3 wide receiver Brian Quick, who played for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams for five seasons.

Quick is coming off the best season of his career and is only 27 years old.

"We rated Pryor very high and Brian Quick was the 33rd pick in the [2012] draft," Allen said. "We measured up our college notes on him to make sure it was what he was doing in the pros.  He is another good young man when he came in to visit and he wanted to sign."

5. As they continue to seek talented additions, the defensive line will be in good hands with Jim Tomsula.
The Redskins were able to get one of the best defensive position coaches in the NFL today with the hiring of Tomsula.

Tomsula joins the Redskins with more than three decades of coaching experience, including nine seasons at the NFL level.

During his eight seasons working with the 49ers' defensive line, they ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game (98.4) and second in rushing average (3.72).

"I think that is a really good addition for us," Allen said. "We have to get the players that he is looking for to mold. Our defense when it comes to stopping the run the last few years isn't up to par. You can talk about anything you want with the Dallas Cowboys, but they led the division in rushing and they led the division in stopping the run. You don't need an analytics team to point that out to you."

The Redskins, of course, hold the No. 17-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. A lot of mock drafts currently have them taking a defensive lineman.

If the top-rated player on the draft board is a defensive lineman, Washington will use the pick on him to join fellow newbies Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee among others.

"Every person here at the league meetings tell you they go by the grade unless they draft an 'X' in the first round, they will not draft an 'X' in the second round, third round, fourth round and fifth round," Allen said. "You go by the grade."

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