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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

This week I got your questions not only from Twitter but also from the Real Redskins Facebook page (go there to Like it) for the first time. Since the Facebook aspect is new we'll start from there.

Well, Troy, nothing has been covered in the media because nothing is happening. What many fans don't seem to realize is that Jackson is on his third strike in the NFL's substance abuse process. He served suspensions of four games and then one year while he was with the Bucs. His current suspension is indefinite. Jackson was eligible to apply for reinstatement after a year but the NFL is under no obligation to reinstate him or even hear his case. So there is no news and there won't be until the league decides that he has been out long enough to get the message. A year apparently didn't do it last time so maybe they figure he needs to sit out longer this time. When something happens, you'll hear about it. But there is no point in the media "reporting" that nothing is new on a regular basis.
@Rich_TandlerCSN if the #Redskins face a Dallas team like the one who just played Denver, How will they be able to stop them? #RedskinsTalk

— Don (@don1964a) October 7, 2013
The simple answer is they won't be able to stop the Cowboys if they play like they did Sunday. But it's not certain that they will play like that. I went over a lot of the reasons in my post yesterday but the simplest way to look at it is that a week ago Sunday the Dallas offense put up 14 points against a Chargers defense that is ranked 27th. The Cowboys are not exactly a model of consistency and it remains to be seen if they can put up two stellar performances in a row.

The key against Romo is to mix things up. Last year they brought anywhere from three to seven rushers after him. There will be plenty of blitz packages and times they drop eight back into coverage in either a zone or a single high safety look. It will very by down, distance, game situation and Jim Haslett's gut feeling.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Are the Skins secondary woes primarily the culprit of poor CB play or safety play? #RedskinsTalk

— Derek Childress (@Poker_Donkey) October 7, 2013
If I had to pick one factor, I'd say that the secondary woes are due to poor tackling. That issue appears to affect primarily the safeties but that's only because they usually make more tackle attempts. It's across the board. I think it's something that will work its way out, the sooner the better. But to get back to your question, I don't think the corners are markedly less talented than the safeties or vice versa. The whole secondary just needs to get its act together when it comes to getting the guy with the ball to the ground.

Sometimes it takes the rest of the media world a while to catch up to what's being written here so I'm used to that (pardon the humble brag). But the fact of the matter with Griffin is that we just don't know. It would surprise me if he didn't continue to improve from week to week. Whether or not he will make a "leap" like Peterson, who went from averaging 97 yards per game in the first half of the season to averaging 165 in the last eight games remains to be seen. The media can't watch practice so we have no way of knowing how he is doing during the week. We find out during the games just like everyone else. My gut is that we'll see more steady progress. I don't see him all of a sudden breaking out this Sunday and playing like he did in Dallas on Thanksgiving. I do think he'll play better than he did against Oakland and that could be good enough to win.

It's hard to tell how much the brace is really affecting Griffin. My guess is that it hampers him some but not nearly as much as many think it does. Remember Griffin wore one his junior year at Baylor and it didn't affect him much then. He was asked in training camp if he would wear it all year and he said he would. That's all we have to go on.

This sounds a lot like a call to "fire Haz, go back to the 4-3" as a solution to the Redskins' defensive woes. I don't know if you were around for the decade of the 90's and early 00's when the team went through a parade of defensive coordinators and regular scheme changes. The result was a consistently bad defense that held the team back. The revolving door ended when Gregg Williams arrived in 2004 and they had a top 10 defense three out of his four years. Maybe they can find another Williams, maybe they can't. Perhaps there is a better option out there than Haslett but there are no sure things. Change for the sake of change rarely yields good results. The same applies to the defensive alignment. Personally, I would not look forward to another two years of acquiring the right personnel for a new alignment and going through the adjustment pains when the existing scheme will work fine if executed properly.

That's it for today. You don't have to wait for a call for questions to ask me something; hit me up anytime on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or on the Real Redskins Facebook page.

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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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