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Need to Know: Can the Redskins' Cousins become a top-5 quarterback?

Need to Know: Can the Redskins' Cousins become a top-5 quarterback?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 27, 32 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 77 days ago. It will be about 168 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 22; 2016 NFL draft 32; Redskins training camp starts 123

Hot topic

On Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings Jay Gruden talked about the pressure that Kirk Cousins is under now that he’s the starting quarterback playing under the franchise tag. “Now all of a sudden when as you’re trying to establish yourself as one of the top five guys in the NFL, now you have a little bit more pressure on yourself to perform and he knows that,” said Gruden.

The “top 5” part drew some attention. That seems to be a rather ambitious goal for a player who was a fourth-round pick and who a year ago was supposed to play out the final year of his rookie contract and then enter an uncertain future as an NFL journeyman. But things change quickly. With Cousins now getting paid nearly $20 million this year under the franchise tag expectations, as outlined by Gruden, have grown exponentially.

Can Cousins be a top five quarterback? He was fifth in passer rating last year and sixth in DVOA but such designations go beyond one-season numbers. When you talk about getting it done year after year and experiencing success in the playoffs, the top guys are Brady, Brees, and Rodgers followed by Wilson, Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning. Then there are others, such as Rivers, Newton, Palmer, and Ryan, who have put up a multiple very good statistical seasons but have had limited playoff success.

So that fills out the top 10 and we haven’t even talked about some other pretty good ones like Dalton and Flacco and other young payers who will be trying to move into the top five like Winston, Carr, and Mariota.

Right now, when you’re talking about career achievement, you have to put Cousins somewhere between 10 and 15, maybe a touch lower depending on how you want to rank quarterbacks like Cutler and Alex Smith. He has a very tall mountain to climb to even move into the top 10. Unless Scot McCloughan can get a Super Bowl caliber roster together and keep the group together for a few years, the top five may be an unreachable star for Cousins.

In case you missed it

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.