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Can the Redskins contend for the NFC East title?

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Can the Redskins contend for the NFC East title?

Can the Redskins contend for the NFC East title?

We’re just two games into the season and there is a long, long way to go. But, at this moment, things are shaping up nicely for Washington.

Consider the following:

—The Cowboys, the defending division champs and current leaders at 2-0, will play for at least half of the season without perhaps their best player, Dez Bryant, and quarterback Tony Romo.

—Eagles coach Chip Kelly is looking less like a genius and more like a guy in over his head. He took over personnel controls and three of his high profile additions look like expensive mistakes. DeMarco Murray has rushed for a total of 11 yards in two games, cornerback Byron Maxwell looks lost, and quarterback Sam Bradford has two TD’s, four interceptions and a 72 passer rating. They are 0-2.

—The 0-2 Giants are choking away games in historic fashion. They are the only team since 1925 to lose its first two games after leading by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter.

—Meanwhile the Redskins are 1-1 and they had their chances to be 2-0. They are doing things according to their plan, leading the NFL in both total defense and rushing yardage. They are flying well under the radar.

As long as we’re here, let’s take a look ahead. The Redskins have the Giants and Eagles in the next two weeks. If they can keep those two teams reeling and the wounded Cowboys split against the Falcons and Saints, the Redskins will be tied for first place a quarter of the way through the season.

Then there are 12 games to go and a lot will happen. Instead of parsing out possible results of games that will be played after Thanksgiving, let’s leave it at this. Is it out of the question that this Redskins team could work their formula of running the ball and playing good defense into eight wins? Is it possible that the Eagles and Giants will go no better than 8-6 the rest of the season? Might the Cowboys, who are 6-9 when they have played without Romo, struggle while he is out for perhaps as many as 10 weeks and end up with just eight wins?

One more warning that there is a long way to go. But now there is a glimmer of hope—just a glimmer—in a Redskins season that appeared to be headed to its familiar destination of nowhere just 24 hours ago.

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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 24, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 78 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 23
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 70

The Redskins week that was

Pressure Points: Focus is on Jay Gruden like never before—So you lost two coordinators and your top two wide receivers? Well, the Redskins gave him a two-year contract extension because they think he can deal with problems like those. Gruden will be cut zero slack.

Post-minicamp 53-man roster projection, offense—Sure, there will be plenty of lip service about everyone having a chance of making the 53-man roster. But this cake is very nearly baked. But the real competition in training camp will be for the 10 practice squad spots. I picked 25 offensive players to make it and I’m confident that 23, maybe 22 of the picks will be right. There seems to be more questions on defense (roster projection here) but even on that side of the ball, few jobs are truly up for grabs.

Redskins in a no-lose situation with confident Galette—We haven’t seen Junior Galette practicing in the spring before. Two years ago, he wasn’t with the team yet and last year he was held out so he could rehab his torn Achilles. That means we don’t have much comparison to make but he did look good. Next step is to do it with the pads on.

Snyder 'THRILLED' with ruling that should protect Redskins name—The legal part of the fight to get the Redskins to change their name is over after the recent Supreme Court ruling. They will not lose their trademark protection, which would effectively force them to change the team. However, it seems likely that the political and social battle will go on.

Is a Redskins-Cousins deal not only possible but probable?—One analyst thinks that the Redskins have too much to lose to not get a deal done by July 17. I think he’s right but I’m not sure if I’ll go along with his odds. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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