FedEx Field will soon be one of the 10 oldest NFL stadiums

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FedEx Field will soon be one of the 10 oldest NFL stadiums

While perusing an NFL.com article on stadium construction I ran across a table that listed NFL stadiums by their age and I was mildly surprised to see that that FedEx Field, which opened in 1997, is moving into the group of the older stadiums in the NFL.As of right now 13 stadiums, ranging from Lambeau Field in Green Bay (opened in 1957) to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (1996) are older than FedEx Field. But that will change in a few years when the 49ers move out of Candlestick Park (1960) to their new digs in Santa Clara and the Vikings abandon the Metrodome (1982) for their new downtown stadium.And sometime in the next several years a team, perhaps the Chargers (Qualcomm Stadium 1967) or Bills (Ralph Wilson Stadium 1973), is likely to bolt for a sparkling new stadium in Los Angeles. There is a lot of buzz that Atlanta will replace the Georgia Dome (1992) well before the decade is out.If those moves are indeed made the place the Redskins have called home for just 15 seasons will fall into the group of the 10 oldest stadiums in the NFL.That brings up the question of if a new stadium is in the Redskins future. The answer is yes, but it is likely that a new home is more in the distant future than something that is right around the corner.Some have talked of a big stadium with a retractable roof, a facility that could attract big events like a college basketball Final Four, college conference championship games, and big-time concerts in addition to providing a home for the Redskins for 10 games per year. There has been talk that the team should move back to D. C. but there is no serious proposal for doing so on the table.But a new home for the Redskins may be a pipe dream. It will be a challenge to get any sort of modern stadium built at all. The price tags for the two newest NFL stadiums, MetLife in New Jersey and Jerry Jones palace in Dallas, were 1.6 billion and 1.15 billion, respectively. Cowboys Stadium has a roof while the stadium in the Meadowlands does not.In comparison, FedEx Field cost about 250 million to build. By the early 2000s, the cost of building an NFL stadium had gone up into the 300 million range. A decade later, there was the massive jump to the price tags we saw for the stadiums in Texas and New Jersey. The Santa Clara stadium is slated to run 1.2 billion and the Vikings building will cost something in that neighborhood.Given that rate of inflation in construction is not hard to see the cost of a new stadium approaching 2 billion towards the end of the decade, which is the earliest the Redskins could realistically expect to put a shovel into the ground for a new building. Coming up with that kind of money would be extremely challenging.The days of taxpayer-funded NFL stadiums are long gone. Team ownership is expected to provide at least half of the cost of a new stadium. With the Redskins among the most profitable teams in all of sports the expected owners contribution could go higher. It would be extremely difficult for Dan Snyder to economically justify stroking a check for a billion dollars or more for new digs, even if he could. It would take a very long time to make enough additional profit to cover that mount.Even if Snyder could kick in his share its hard to see any of the government entities making such a financial commitment. Virginia governor Bob McDonnells staff was grilled for the state giving the Redskins a grant of 4 million towards the renovation of Redskins Park. Unless the political distaste for being accused of subsidizing billionaires changes anytime soon it is hard to see anything approaching what the governments tab would be for a new Redskins stadium getting approval.FedEx Field has undergone various additions, improvements, and renovations since it opened. The latest, the installation of standing area where some of the less-desirable end zone seats used to be, is just being finished for the upcoming season. It is likely that the stadium will undergo several more rounds of repairs and upgrades before a new building is seriously considered.Chances are that FedEx Field will be much older than the 10th oldest stadium before it is replaced. If the current atmosphere persists, FedEx will be approaching its 30th birthday before a new stadium is in the offing.

Kirk Cousins is comfortable taking 'ownership' of Redskins' offense now

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Kirk Cousins is comfortable taking 'ownership' of Redskins' offense now

A year ago at this time, Robert Griffin III was the Redskins’ starting quarterback and Kirk Cousins was an afterthought, relagated to taking second and even third team reps.

Now, Cousins is The Man in Ashburn. And it’s changed everything, especially how he leads in the huddle, team meetings and the locker room.    

“Well, you have permission now to take ownership,” Cousins said Wednesday after the second of 10 OTAs practices at Redskins Park. “As a backup or as a guy competing for the spot, it doesn’t get received really well when you start to try to take ownership. It looks like you’re trying to jockey for the position and be one of those guys. You just try to handle it the right way.”

Last offseason, Griffin received all of the first team reps throughout the spring and summer, while Cousins and Colt McCoy split the second and third team snaps. In fact, Jay Gruden didn’t hand Cousins the keys until late August. 

This offseason, it's all different. Griffin is gone and Cousins is coming off a record-breaking season. And, if Cousins doesn’t sign a long-term deal in the coming weeks, he'll play for almost $20 million in 2016. Either way, Cousins is expected to be the highest paid player on the team...in addition to being the most important player on the team.

“Now as the starter, you really can take ownership,” Cousins continued. “And it feels like it did back in college when you were the starting quarterback and you had the chance to really assert yourself.”

Cousins added: “I enjoy being able to do that, and I think it helps me as a quarterback to have ownership because at the end of the day, I’m the one holding the football in my hands.”

No brawl, just competition between Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins

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No brawl, just competition between Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins

Before the public knew him as the NFL's best cornerback of the 2015 season, Josh Norman was best known for getting in a scuffle with quarterback Cam Newton at the Carolina Panthers training camp last August.

While it's crystal clear that Norman brought his gift of the gab from Charlotte to Washington, D.C., a potential dustup between the brash cornerback and star quarterback Kirk Cousins is probably not on the horizon.

"Well, you know, " Norman said with great laughter following Wednesday's OTA. "What can I say? Kirk and I are just a little bit different."

The dust up between Newton and he was all the talk of 2015 training camp, and while it looked bad on the surface, it wasn't much more than two incredibly competitive players, both of whom also enjoy talking smack, refusing to back down. 

The dynamic between he and Cousins is different. Not bad or not positive, just not what it was with Newton.

"There are limits to my madness," Norman said, again, with a great big smile across his face. "But, umm... yeah I think it will be just a bit better," Norman quipped, with the entire group of reporters and personnel laughing. Kirk's my guy. He's great."

But that's not to say Cousins isn't going to make it a competition.

Norman noted that the quarterback was a bit more lively under center on Wednesday, throwing playful jabs at the defense.

 "I was like, 'I don't want to go there yet. I want to be cool,'" Norman said, smile always present. "He looked away a couple times and he didn't throw no balls so I got a little jubilant, ya know? I was like, 'alright, what are you gonna do about it?' Just a little competition."

"I think, on the last play with the ones, he threw a ball, and completed it, and Kirk got all excited again. I was like 'Kirk, I'm gonna whoop y'all butt today."

While no one wants to see teammates fight, Norman brings a level of competitiveness the Redskins can definitely use. While the scuffle with Newton was a hot-button issue, the fact remains that the Panthers' team chemistry was as good as it ever was. The team's cohesiveness was one of the main reasons the Panthers were in San Francisco for Super Bowl 50.

Norman is hoping he can provide competition needed to take the Redskins to the next level, albeit without a fight. 

"It's all fun and games," Norman said to media members.

"We make each other better. We just have to keep challenging each other."

RELATED: TEAMMATE BELIEVES JORDAN REED IS NFL'S BEST ROUTE-RUNNER

Redskins teammates already putting Jordan Reed in elite class

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Redskins teammates already putting Jordan Reed in elite class

Jordan Reed is expected to be front-and-center for the Redskins' offense in 2016, and with good reason.

The athletic tight end had his best season as a pro in 2015, hauling in 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Reed was also the healthiest he's been since he entered the league in 2012.

The organization has made it clear that Reed is a key cog in their machine, signing him to a five-year, $50-million contract extension earlier in the month

Simply put, Reed is a matchup nightmare. He is part of the new breed of tight ends: Physical freaks with uncanny athleticism and unparalleled agility for someone of that stature.

But where Reed really stands out is in his route-running.

Reed's route-running isn't just good, it's great.

Former Maryland standout and two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis was signed by the Redskins this offseason to provide guidance and depth to the position. He's had very little time to work with Reed, but it's clear to him that Reed's ability to run routes isn't just the best among tight ends, but the best among every pass-catcher in the NFL.

"I think Jordan Reed runs routes better than the best wide receivers in the National Football League," Davis told reporters following OTAs on Wednesday. "Route-running is his super power."

It may be hard to fathom given the type of season Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown had a year ago, or just how easy Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Atlanta's Julio Jones makes it look. On top of that Reed has to be compared to Seattle's Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. But the praise coming from a standout tight end like Davis should be evident to just how good Reed is. But Davis isn't the only teammate effusive in praise.

Kirk Cousins looked Reed's way often last season, and very rarely did the decision to do so end up in an incompletion. During the last four games of the season, in which the Redskins went 4-0 and locked up an NFC East championship, Cousins threw to Reed 31 times, and Reed caught all but two of the passes. 

When asked if Reed still needs to improve, Cousins was quite honest. "Does he have to improve a lot?" he quipped at the pool of reporters at the Redskins' facility.

"Well, he was pretty good last year."

RELATED: WHEN WILL DESEAN JACKSON SHOW UP?