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Game Blog Pregame

Game Blog Pregame

Although it’s not my job here to be a thoroughly objective journalist, I do try very hard to step back and take an objective look at things (which is more than I suspect that many who are supposed to be neutral journalists do). And in taking an objective look at the Seahawks I see a very good team, at times an excellent one, but not a great one. I don’t see an overwhelming edge that they have over the Redskins either side by side or man to man. For example, Shaun Alexander had a great season, but he’s only about 25 yards a game better than Clinton Portis and, while he’ll get some yardage today, he’s not going to dominate vs. a strong, tough Washington defense. To be sure, Seattle is a deserving favorite, but until they get it done in the playoffs they are deserving of being examined with a degree of skepticism.

Don’t get me wrong here. If I had to bet my house on the outcome of this game straight up I’d put it on Seattle, but I’d be scared to death.

Back to the future

A lot of what’s happened in the past is part of the discussion in this game and some of it is relevant and some of it isn’t. The game the two teams played in October, for instance, is of little relevance (see 36-0. Giants and then 35-20 Redskins with a shorter gap between the games). Seattle’s 13-3 record and 8-0 home field mark is very relevant.

So is Joe Gibbs’ record of 17-5 in the playoffs. Yes, as Gibbs will tell you, the game is decided by the players on the field. But he’s not pulling down five million bucks a year to be a spectator on the sideline. He’s paid to prepare his team for moments like this and few have ever done it better.

And it’s fair to take a shot at Mike Holmgren’s 9-8 postseason record. All nine of the wins were accomplished with one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Brett Favre in his prime, pulling the trigger. Holmgren, too, gets paid to prepare his team to win. That’s a delicate balance in the playoffs. You have to find a way to crank up the intensity while at the same time not making your players so tight they can’t perform. In the past two seasons, Holmgren’s two key players, Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck, may or may not have been tight, but they have come up small the past two years in Seattle’s one and done playoff appearances. Alexander averaged just 2.4 yards a carry in those losses to the Packers and Rams and Hasselbeck threw the game-losing pick in Green Bay.

Still, by far, the Seahawks’ 2005 record is the most important thing to look at when evaluating this game. But how Gibbs’ and Holmgren’s teams play in January is far from irrelevant.

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Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 26, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.


The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 46 days.

Today’s schedule: Players report to training camp for physicals and conditioning test. Jay Gruden news conference 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 15
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 38

Five pre-camp questions for Jay Gruden

RICHMOND—The media portion of training camp gets underway on Wednesday as Jay Gruden holds his pre-camp presser at 2 pm at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center (that’s probably the last time I’ll use the full name of the facility).

Here are some questions we will ask of Gruden as he enters his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.

Will Kirk Cousins’ contract situation be a distraction? This must be asked, even though we know that the answer will be no. Yes, Cousins handled a similar situation just fine last year. But a quarterback playing on a second franchise tag is unprecedented. Certainly, Gruden has to guard against things getting out of hand if the season starts to turn sour.

In his fourth training camp, what is he doing now that he wishes he would have done in 2014? One very visible change has been a reduction in the amount of contact that takes place on the field. Will this continue to decline or, give the issues the team had tackling last year, will it ramp up? What used to be the morning practice and afternoon walkthrough were flipped a couple of years ago. Has there been any thought to changing it back?

How has the adjustment process to having so many new coaches gone so far? The Redskins have new coordinators on both sides of the ball and several new position coaches. As happens when any group of co-workers gets added to a workplace, there is an adjustment period. In the NFL, the coaches have to get up to speed with each other in a hurry.

Will Gruden use the season-ending loss to the Giants as a motivational/learning tool or just bury it in the past? It’s a fine line between learning from past mistakes and dwelling on them. While Cousin should make sure that he doesn’t throw another late-game interception like the one he threw in that game, he can’t have it spook him to the point where he can’t pull the trigger on a pass late in a close game. How Gruden handles the 2016 finale could have a major effect on how 2017 unfolds.

After having one of the highest pass ratios in the league, will Gruden look to run the ball more often? Last year, Sean McVay called passes on 62.4 percent of the Redskins’ snaps. The Redskins drafted a fourth-round running back in Samaje Perine and they may team him with starter Rob Kelley and call to keep the ball on the ground a few more times per game.

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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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

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

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 


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