Redskins mailbag: What it would take to start Kirk Cousins

Here is the Washington Redskins mailbag for Saturday:

John Keim: You left a name off that list, one that is quite important. I think they're trying really hard to see if it can work with Robert Griffin III. They've clearly done all they can in the offseason to restore confidence (he says he never lost any) and make him comfortable. I was a big believer in having an open competition, but also know that would have led to the circus returning to town. Kirk Cousins looked sharp Thursday, albeit vs. backups. Griffin had ups and downs vs. the starters; loved the bootleg and his ability to throw deep off play-action. But I liked the way Cousins handled the pocket most of the time. I'll be curious to see what happens if Cousins clearly outplays Griffin in the preseason -- and then Griffin struggles early in the regular season. If they don't make a move after, say, a couple games then you have to wonder what else is at play. The problem for Cousins remains: interceptions. They'll have to build up that trust that he'll improve in that area. And they'll have to convince others in the organization it would be a good move.

John Keim: I don't see that happening yet, no. I heard a lot of good things about Spencer Long in the offseason, but in camp you have to give coaches reasons to play you more. I haven't seen it yet. Kory Lichtensteiger is just better at center so that wouldn't make sense. And Long hasn't looked better than Shawn Lauvao.

John Keim: If they're using more of their nickel offense, then yes Jordan Reed would start. But until we know who else is there, then I have no idea who would start. The problem is, tough to find anyone right now. Tight end is a difficult spot to fill for some reason and the Redskins likely will need two (to replace Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen). To find one of starter quality? Good luck. There are name players available, but those names are free for a reason.

John Keim: Good question. Put yourself in the Redskins' shoes and strip away any emotion you have toward Chris Cooley. Forget the name and look at the situation: Here's a player who last played in 2012 and was injured when he left. Do you sign that guy? They want someone who has been playing and that's a lot of time away. I will say, Cooley is as smart as they come and has really studied the game a lot since he last played. For what it's worth, Zach Miller is not an option, either. And was told trading for Vernon Davis is not an option.

John Keim: That would make sense in some packages. Obviously if Tom Compton's in the game, the Redskins would be almost certain to run the ball. Doesn't have to be the case, but for part of the game he can play the position. Obviously you'd like to have someone who is at least a nominal pass threat, but it is a spot Compton can play. He needs to make the roster first, but his versatility -- he's working at guard and tackle -- could earn him that spot.

John Keim: That's hard for me to say; I haven't studied them and when I'm watching these games, my focus is primarily on the Redskins and what they do. If they're going against someone of note, that's when I focus on the opponent. But as far as his pocket presence, I don't have enough evidence to say it was much better. You don't see him making the sort of move Cousins did on one of his completions, when he slid from the pocket and backpedaled away from pressure, then reset and hit running back Matt Jones. But Griffin's strength will never be pocket presence; just has to be better and then complete some deep balls.