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Need to Know: 5 Redskins thoughts including O-line competition

Need to Know: 5 Redskins thoughts including O-line competition

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 21, six days before the start of OTAs.

Nickel coverage

With the draft and rookie minicamp in the rear view mirror and the start of OTAs almost a week away, here are five thoughts on the Redskins.

—With the exception of Shawn Lauvao, who just got here, every member of the starting offensive line has had his job handed to him for the past two years. There was not any serious training camp or in-season competition for any of the jobs during the four years that Mike Shanahan was the head coach. This year Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus will be pushed by Mike McGlynn, Spencer Long, and Morgan Moses. We will see how they respond.

—It’s easy to connect a few hypothetical dots and see the addition of DeSean Jackson will help Robert Griffin III rack up some solid passing stats. But then I look at the case of Griffin’s fellow class of 2012 quarterback Ryan Tannehill. As a rookie Tannehill averaged 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Prior to the 2013 season the Dolphins added receiver Mike Wallace, who was supposed to add the same deep-threat dimension that Jackson should bring to Washington. But last year Tannehill’s average per attempt actually fell, down to 6.7 yards. There isn’t necessarily cause and effect there but the addition of a fast receiver doesn’t mean an automatic boost to the QB’s numbers.

—It’s the turnovers, folks. The Redskins turned the ball over 34 times last year; only one team, the Giants, turned it over more often. They had only one turnover-free game the entire year. If they are going to turn their record around, they need to change that situation.

—I think that the NFL Players Association should be able to approve of any expansion of the playoffs. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why they wouldn’t approve it. They shouldn’t need a “concession” in return. The additional revenue will expand the salary cap and 106 more players per year will get a chance to play for the Super Bowl title. That’s the concession.

—Back to Griffin—if he plays better than he did last year, the Redskins will not necessarily be an improved team. But they will not be better if he doesn’t play better.

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Timeline

—It’s been 143 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 109 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.

Days until: OTAs 6; Training camp starts 63; Redskins @ Eagles 123

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!