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Need to Know: Did Kirk Cousins over prepare for the Redskins' 2016 season?

Need to Know: Did Kirk Cousins over prepare for the Redskins' 2016 season?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 16, 41 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 29
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 55
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 86

Did Cousins over prepare for 2016?

Kirk Cousins was not as good down the stretch in 2016 as he was in 2015. The numbers don’t lie:

The difference is stark. Last year he broke most of the team’s major single-season passing records and it felt like he accomplished a lot. This year, he broke his own records but given the way he finished it feels more like he compiled empty stats.

The Redskins’ record doesn’t lie, either. They went 4-1 in their last five games on their way to the division title in 2015. Last year they stumbled, going 2-3 and missing out on the playoffs.

Perhaps we now know why Cousins seemed to hit the wall after playing very well for the first 11 games. This is what he said when asked what his focus would be during the six-week break between the end of minicamp and the July 27 start of training camp.

“My focus is to rest and recover and get my mind in a place where come Week 11, 12, 13, I’m fully energized and ready to go,” he said. “I think that’s key. I do believe that last year I remember watching film for the Steelers Week 1 and it hit me that we hadn’t played a game yet, technically. I felt like I had been going a million miles an hour since the previous end of the playoff game against the Packers. I was almost worn out, if you will, before the season started, because I had pushed so hard to be top of my game in OTA one, and training camp practice one, and preseason game one.”

It would be logical to infer that Cousins didn’t believe that he was “fully energized and ready to go” when December rolled around last year. In his first offseason where he was the starter from the very beginning of the cycle, he went at it too hard.

“I think I was treating every day like it was Monday Night Football against the Steelers,” he said. “I think if you do that 365 days a year, there’s a thing called burnout. OK, you might get it year six, you might get it year 10, but eventually, you’re going to burn out. I just realized , OK… It was like Wednesday before the Steelers game, I said literally everything I have done to this point, which I felt like was a lot, means nothing. It has no value of any kind. You know, when the season is over, I will not be measured on any of it. And, so, that hit me like, ‘Now it counts, now I’ve got to be ready, and I’m pretty exhausted.’ So, that’s all I was trying to get at.”

To remedy this, Cousins has decided to take some time off to refresh himself mentally.

“You know, just enjoying the summer, taking time to get away, spending time with family is all positive things,” he said. “Even right now, just spending time, you know, playing golf, enjoying the time off rather than going over the plays 80 times.”

We don’t see what Cousins does when he is not at Redskins Park but there was some tangible evidence of his more relaxed approach during the OTAs and minicamp that were open to the media. Last year he tended to celebrate touchdown passes and even some third-down completions as though they had taken place in the Super Bowl. This year, he let his teammates know he appreciated their efforts in a more subtle manner.

This does not mean that Cousins will completely get away from football for six weeks. He’s looking for some middle ground.

“It’s a balance. Life, you know, in the middle lies virtue,” he said. “It’s never prepare, prepare, prepare like crazy with no rest and it’s never, ‘Hey, I don’t need to prepare. I can just show up.’ Somewhere is I think the healthy medium and that is what I am always trying to find.”

We will start to find out how well his approach works starting in September. But the proof will come in December when the Redskins will need Cousins to help them win down the stretch to stay relevant in the playoff race.

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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Josh Norman just found a loophole for his illegal bow and arrow celebration

Josh Norman just found a loophole for his illegal bow and arrow celebration

That Josh Norman is one sneaky fellow, isn't he?

Earlier this month, the NFL officially banned players from celebrating big plays with a bow and arrow gesture during a game. That just so happens to be Norman's go-to move, and something he used a few times last season when he was particularly excited.

But with the league's recent announcement, it was assumed that he'd never do it again, since it's an automatic flag and would probably lead to a fine, too. You know what people love to say about assuming, though...

So, the very first time Norman stepped on his home turf in 2017 for a game, he bow and arrow'd when the NFL said he couldn't bow and arrow. That's bold, Josh.

MORE: REDSKINS-PACKERS LIVE BLOG

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Redskins vs. Packers Preseason Live Updates: Week 2 score, stats, highlights, analysis

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CSNMA

Redskins vs. Packers Preseason Live Updates: Week 2 score, stats, highlights, analysis

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is here as the Redskins take on the Packers on Saturday night.

Following the Redskins' 23-3 loss to the Ravens in Week 1, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins starters will look to continue their development again against Green Bay. Head coach Jay Gruden plans to play the starters for at least a full quarter.

The Redskins-Packers preseason game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. and will be aired on CSN Mid-Atlantic. Redskins Kickoff begins a 6:30 p.m. ET, as Chick Hernandez, Brian Mitchell and Trevor Matich get your prepared for the game with 60 minutes of pregame coverage. (Channel Finder)

CSN Mid-Atlantic is here to provide all the live updates, stats, score, highlights, video and analysis from the Redskins and Ravens. If you have a comment about the game, be sure to leave a comment in the section below the article.

REDSKINS VS. PACKERS WEEK 2 PRESEASON LIVE UPDATES

8:36 PM - Touchdown, Packers

Jones 5 pass from Hundley (Crosby kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 3:49
Drive summary: After going three and out his first series, QB Brett Hundley heated up for the Packers. A pass to Trevor Davis got a first down at the Green Bay 44 and then he went deep to Jeff Cass for 38 yards to the Redskins six. On third down, Hundley found RB Aaron Jones wide open for an east touchdown.  

Packers 14, Redskins 3

8:32 PM - First-team defense is done for the night early in the second quarter.

End of 1st Quarter - Packers 7, Redskins 3
-Redskins' first team offense gets their first 1st down of the preseason on final play of quarter.

8:14 PM - We go down one blogger, Pete Hailey is cramping up after a slow off-season. Will try and tough it out but his return is questionable.

8:11 PM - Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers and majority of Green Bay first-team head to bench on second offensive series. Their night is done. 

8:07 PM - Touchdown, Packers

Bennett 3 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
Drive: 15 plays, 75 yards, 7:41
Drive summary: The Packers got their drive started with some Aaron Rodgers artistry. Or a cheap trick, whatever you want to call it. He went no huddle on third and five and on a replay review the Redskins were caught with 12 men on the field. One pass to Davante Adams and two to Jordy Nelson got the Packers into Redskins territory. On third and six, Rodgers scrambled for 13 yards to the 13. A hands to the face penalty set up a first and goal at the four. On second down, Rogers threw a fade to TE Martellus Bennett, who fought the ball away from ILB Zach Brown.

Packers 7, Redskins 3

7:53 PM - Redskins get caught with too many players on the field after a forcing a three-and-out. Packers get a first down.

7:46 PM - FG, Redskins  

FG Hopkins 34
Drive: 4 plays, 0:17, 0 yards
Drive summary: The Redskins had a golden opportunity after the Packers fumbled a punt and Niles Paul recovered at the Green Bay 16. But after three incomplete passes the Redskins had to go for three and Dustin Hopkins put it through. 

Redskins 3, Packers 0

7:44 PM - Morgan Moses returns to the field at right tackle.

7:42 PM - On the punt return, the Packers muff the kick, Niles Paul recovered the loose ball at the Packers 16-yard line.

7:39 PM - Morgan Moses goes down on the second offensive play. He is helped to the sideline by the trainers, replaced by Ty Nsekhe at right tackle.

7:34 PM -  Josh Norman uses his infamous bow-and-arrow celebration during player introductions. No flag.

6:50 PM - Get excited, Redskins fans:

6:45 PM - And it's official:

6:30 PM - We'll just leave this right here:

5:10 PM - Preseason games are what they are: Not all that great after the first quarter. But there's value in the games. Here are the three things you should be watching for.

5:05 PM - I implore you to follow me on Twitter. I'm great. You can also follow Our @CSNRedskins account, which is equally great. Our Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are OK too. 

5:00 PM - The 2017 NFL preseason rolls on as the Redskins take on the Packers in Week 2 of the preseason at FedEx Field. As is the case again this season, I am Troy Machir, and I will be guiding you through the live blog of tonight's preseason game.