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Need to Know: Are yardage stats for losers like Haslett says?

Need to Know: Are yardage stats for losers like Haslett says?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 15, four days before the start of the NFL Combine.

Nickel coverage

Earlier this week, Jim Haslett told ESPN 980 that he didn’t pay much attention to the number of yards his defense gave up. “That’s kind of for losers,” he said. Let’s put that to the test by taking a look back through Redskins history. Here are the five (plus three) Redskins teams who have ranked the highest in yards given up since the NFL merger and how those teams fared during the season.

1974, ranked 2nd—George Allen’s team went 10-4 and lost to the Rams I the first round of the playoffs. The defense featured Pro Bowl seasons by Hall of Famers Chris Hanburger and Ken Houston and a part-time farewell season for Deacon Jones.

1985, ranked 3rd—Under Joe Gibbs, this team wen 10-6 and missed the playoffs on tiebreakers. No Redskins defenders made the Pro Bowl even through Charles Mann (14.5) and Dexter Manley (15) combined for 29.5 sacks. Darrell Green was also in his prime.

1991, ranked 3rd—I’m sure I don’t have to tell you much about this team, probably the best in Redskins history. Green and Mann were among the eight Redskins Pro Bowlers. To be sure, it wasn’t all about the defensive yardage stat. They led the league in yards gained, turnover ratio, point differential and yardage differential.

2004, ranked 3rd—In the first year of Gibbs 2.0 the Redskins went 6-10 and finished well out of the playoffs. Gregg Williams was in charge of the defense and his unit got the job done in spite of having only one member selected to the Pro Bowl, linebacker Marcus Washington.

The Redskins of 1971 (lost first round of playoffs), 1972 (lost Super bowl), 1982 (won Super Bowl), 2000 (8-8, no playoffs), 2008 (8-8, no playoffs), all finished ranked 4th in the NFL in yards given up. The three teams that made the playoffs finished ninth or better in turnover ratio; the two 8-8 teams finished 16th and 17th in that category.

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Timeline

—It’s been 48 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 204 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 4; NFL Free agency starts 24; Offseason workouts start 51; NFL Draft 82

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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!