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Hall says Falcons are Redskins' 'biggest test'

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Hall says Falcons are Redskins' 'biggest test'

DeAngelo Hall expects Sundays game against the undefeated Falcons to be the stiffest challenge the Redskins defense has encountered in 2012.Its also a prime opportunity for the veteran cornerback to bounce back from an uneven performance against the Buccaneers.Definitely, he said, this is the biggest test we will have faced so far this season.Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan leads the league in passer rating (112.1) and is second in passing touchdowns (11). Wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones each have three touchdown receptions, as does tight end Tony Gonzalez. And then theres 247-pound running back Michael Turner, whos 15thin rushing yards with 257.Combined, they form a formidable offense thats scoring 31 points per game (3rd).Its going to take all of us, Hall said. Their offense is rolling. Theyre clicking. At certain points in the season, it happens like that, where everything goes right.It will be our offense being to sustain drives and our pass rush being able to get in Ryans face, Hall added. It will be us in the back being able to cover. Its the linebackers dropping into zone or playing man if they have to. Its not one guy shutting someone down.That all said, Hall knows the spotlight will be on himself and fellow cornerback Josh Wilson. Not only because of big-play ability that White, Jones and Gonzalez possess, but also because both got burned by big plays on Tampa Bay scoring drives Sunday as the Bucs rallied from a 15-point deficit. You can play 60 perfect snaps, then one bad judge of a ball and the sky is falling down, Hall said. Its part of it. Wilson gave up a play, hey, go out there and make a play. I gave up a play, hey, got to go out there and make a play now. Luckily, we were able to pull the game and so it didnt feel as bad coming out with the win. You can always critique things a little easier when you win.The consensus in the Redskins locker room is that the defense took a small step forward in Tampa. But there's clearly still much room for improvement from a unit that's yielded 11 passing touchdowns (32nd), 8.8 yards per pass attempt (30th) and 30.8 points per game (27th).We have to be better, Hall said. We all know that.

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Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 24, 20 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on May 22.

Timeline

It’s been 143 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 109 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 20
—Training camp starts (7/27) 64
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 78

Is the 2018 Cousins tag threat a bluff?

On Monday, Redskins president Bruce Allen reiterated that the team is willing to use the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins for the third straight year.

“In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract,” said Allen when asked if the team would use the franchise or transition tag on Cousins in 2018. He has said something similar on previous media interviews this year.

This year Cousins is getting the tag for the second time in his career. That gives him 120 percent of his 2016 salary which comes to just under $24 million. A third franchise tag in 2018, which would either give the Redskins exclusive negotiating rights or a possible choice between matching an offer sheet from another team or getting draft pick compensation, would get Cousins a 144 percent increase over this season, or a whopping $34.5 million.

The franchise tag would give the Redskins the power to unilaterally lock up Cousins for the 2018 season. It is expensive, by design. Could the Redskins afford to wield that power? Or is Allen just bluffing?

A look at the numbers makes it look like Allen is bluffing.

According to Over the Cap, the Redskins have $127 million in salary cap commitments in 2018. Based on recent growth trends the salary cap will be an estimated $178 million. That gives the Redskins $51 million in cap room.

Cousins’ $34.5 million salary for a third tag would hit the 2018 cap all at once as soon as the tag is applied. You don’t have to be a master capologist to do the math and figure out that such a move would leave the Redskins with $16.5 million in salary cap space.

A look at the top-line number doesn’t seem that bad. Eight teams would have less cap space than Washington so others, like the Cowboys, Eagles, and Chiefs, would be worse off.

But the problem with the Redskins’ situation is twofold. First, 21 of their current players are slated to be unrestricted free agents in 2018. Not all of them are key contributors. But they would have to squeeze to bring back the likes of Zach Brown, Terrelle Pryor, Spencer Long, and Bashaud Breeland. If they don’t re-sign them they will have to go to the free agent market for replacements and that will tough to do with so little money to work with.

The other issue is that they don’t have any fat to cut from their cap. They could save from $4.5 million to $8 million by cutting one of the four players with the highest cap numbers. But they aren’t going to be better if they cut loose Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan.

Going down the list of top cap hits, they would save no money by letting Brandon Scherff go since his salary is fully guaranteed. Washington would take a net loss of cap space by cutting Morgan Moses and releasing Vernon Davis would save just $1.1 million. In fact, other than the top four mentioned above there are no players the Redskins could release who would save more than $1.6 million in net cap space.

The Redskins could create more cap room by restructuring some of their highest-paid players. But a simple restructure, where salary is converted to signing bonus, spreading the cap impact over the remaining years of the deal, doesn’t save any real money. The cap hit is merely pushed back into future seasons. Bruce Allen has been reluctant to do this and he is right to think that way. Restructures should only be used in a “break glass in case of emergency” situations, not as a regular way of doing business.

In short, tagging Cousins for $34.5 million would force the Redskins to lose quality players or to use cap management tactics that run against their philosophy, or some combination of both. While you can’t rule out the tag on Cousins, there is enough there to make the possibility remote.

Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, can look at these numbers and figure out that Allen is bluffing about a 2018 franchise tag as well as I can. It will be close to a non-factor in negotiations.

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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Redskins' draft pick Ryan Anderson just had a baby (partly) named after him

Redskins' draft pick Ryan Anderson just had a baby (partly) named after him

Here's an updated look at second-round pick Ryan Anderson's stats since the Redskins drafted him back in late April: zero career NFL tackles, one career baby named partly after him.

On Tuesday, Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt honored Anderson and fellow ex-Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster by combining their last names and making that combination his newborn son's middle name.

Everyone please say hello to Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt:

MORE REDSKINS: JORDAN REED WORKED OUT WITH AN NFL LEGEND ON TUESDAY

The gesture was not lost on Anderson, who said on Instagram that the "little guy will always hold a special place" in his heart:

One gets the sense that Anderson, who comes across as a very intense man and one whose breakfast probably consists of a bowl of motor oil, doesn't use heart emojis very often. Therefore, since he used some in his Instagram caption, you know Pruitt's decision meant a lot to him.