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Need to Know: Bye is coming at the right time for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Bye is coming at the right time for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 27, 12 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Tandler’s Take Two Tuesday: Into the bye on a high

One of the topics that is bound to come up in the afterglow of the Redskins’ remarkable, improbably, historic comeback win over the Bucs on Sunday is that it’s a shame that the Redskins are taking a bye after such a big rally to win. Taking a week off will blunt their momentum, this line of thinking will go.

Well, in reality it doesn’t quite work that way. Momentum from game to game is not necessarily a reality in the NFL, at least not in terms of building off of a comeback win. Let’s look at the three times the Redskins came back from 21 points down to win:

—In 1999, they overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the Panthers in Week 4. They have a bye in Week 5 and beat the Cardinals 24-10 upon returning.

—The Redskins visited the Lions in 1990 and were behind 35-14 in the third quarter. Jeff Rutledge came in at quarterback and led a rally to an overtime win. If any win should build momentum it would be that one. But they went to Philadelphia the following week and lost 28-14. If you’ve been following the team for a while, you’re familiar with that game as the Body Bag Game.

—They followed up Sonny Jurgensen’s greatest comeback, a rally from 21 down to beat Dallas at what was then D. C. Stadium in 1965, with consecutive losses to Browns and Giants.

Yes, that is a small, limited sample size and Sonny and Rutledge don’t play for the 2015 Redskins. But whatever momentum advantage the Redskins might have will be outweighed by the need for the team to return to good health, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Here are some players who have missed multiple game who could return after the bye:

—WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) seems to be the most likely to return for the Redskins game against the Patriots. He didn’t really have a setback prior to the Jets game, he just had some tightness due to breaking up some scar tissue. He has missed six games since going out in Week 1.

—Nobody is quite sure what is up with Chris Culliver (knee). Jay Gruden has said that an MRI on it was negative and that the issue is not structural. If rest is the prescription he could be ready as he will have missed three games plus the bye week. This will be something to watch when practice resumes a week from tomorrow.

—CB DeAngelo Hall missed his fourth game after what Gruden said was a toe injury that would have him out three or four weeks. But some wiggle room was left in the timetable so it could be longer. In any case, the extra week should help.

—C Kory Lichtensteiger is another injury surrounded in some mystery. Gruden said it was a disc issue and that there is concern about strength on his left side. We never have been given a timetable for his return so it’s also wait and see.

And then there were a couple of injuries that two key defenders suffered during the Bucs game.

—LB Ryan Kerrigan has had surgery to repair his broken right hand. If there was a game on Sunday there is a chance he would have to miss it. There seems to be a pretty good chance he will be back to play New England, although it's too early to know for certain.

—The most troubling injury of all could be CB Bashaud Breeland’s hamstring. He strained it while he was in the process of chasing down the Bucs’ Doug Martin to make a game-saving tackle. The second-year player has been the glue that has held the back end of the defense together with Hall and Culliver out. He might need to remain that even after the veterans return. We don’t know how severe the injury is but certainly an extra week for it to heal will help.

The Redskins coaches could also use the bye to revamp, or at least tweak, the rushing attack that has been so anemic for the last month or so. Gruden said the coaches would do some self-scouting to clean out some tendencies that other teams have figured out.

In other words, it’s time. The players and coaches have been grinding since training camp started in late July. Even the few players who don’t need a physical break from the game need some mental time off.

We won’t stop grinding here, though. Check here and on CSNmidatlantic.com for some looks back at the first part of the season and some articles looking ahead not only to the final nine games but to the 2016 offseason as well.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 10 a.m.; player availability after practice

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 12; Saints @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Panthers 26

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Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field

While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.

“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”

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Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.

Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.

“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.

“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”

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Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.

Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.

“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”

Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.

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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Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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