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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—Will things start to click for Cousins?

Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—Will things start to click for Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 23, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice, noon; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay press conferences, player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Ravens 16; Eagles @ Redskins 24

Thoughts from around Redskins Park

—Will things just suddenly click for Kirk Cousins like they seemed to last year? If I had to bet I’d say yes but it’s no sure thing. There is a concern that defenses have figure out what he does well and are taking that away. That makes some sense but it doesn’t account for plays like the overthrow of the pass to Crowder on the first drive or firing a pass right to the safety when he should have thrown it into the stands. It doesn't seem to be anything that can’t be fixed but he needs to hurry up and fix it.

—Will the Redskins be able to run the ball against the Giants? Based on the small sample size so far this year, probably not. David “Snacks” Harrison has done a good job of shoring up the middle of what was a soft defense last year and the Giants have given up just 77 yards per game. For their part, the Redskins have rushed for 68 yards per game, 26th in the NFL. But Washington is seventh in the league in yards per carry at 4.7. Perhaps if they actually try running the ball—they are dead last in the league with 29 attempts—they just might have some success.

—So who starts at nose tackle now that Kedric Golston is out for the season? According to the unofficial depth chart it’s Cullen Jenkins, who is backed up by Ziggy Hood (who is the co-starter at right DE along with Ricky Jean Francois). But they haven’t really started a nose tackle in either of their two games so far. Against both the Cowboys and Steelers they opened in nickel with two defensive linemen. The identity of the starting nose tackle seems to be something of an academic point. According to Jay Gruden, Hood, Jenkins, Chris Baker, Francois, and rookie Matt Ionnidis all can play the nose. But with the Giants being a predominantly passing team they are likely to open in nickel again.

—It doesn’t look like there are any personnel changes in the secondary on tap for Sunday. The word around Redskins Park is that David Bruton will remain the starting strong safety and Dashaun Phillips is going to stay at nickel cornerback. It’s tough to draw the line where you stop giving a guy a chance to get his feet under him and when you just have to move on a try somebody else. At 0-2 the Redskins are close to that line but they don’t think that they are there yet.

—It will be interesting to see if Josh Doctson continues to get more snaps. He played 12 against the Steelers, many of them in garbage time after the outcome was decided, and then 19 against the Cowboys in a game where every snap was meaningful. And as Doctson’s playing time goes up, whose will go down? It could be Pierre Garçon, although his snaps increased from 40 to 49 from the first game to the second. But between Garçon and Jackson the former seems to be the least likely to return and if they are going to start getting the receiving corps ready for next year they might as well start now.

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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