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Need to Know: Do the Chiefs give the Redskins a blueprint?

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Need to Know: Do the Chiefs give the Redskins a blueprint?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 8, the day the Washington Redskins host the Kansas City Chiefs.

Do the Chiefs give a blueprint?

A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were just about where the Redskins are now. At 2-10 after 12 games, they had been eliminated from realistic playoff contention for quite some time. They lost their last four games to finish 2-14.

With Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn sharing the quarterback duties—the each had a 1-7 record as a starter), the Chifs scored 211 points (13.2/game), last in the NFL and 39 fewer points than the next-worst team.

The defense had four members selected to the Pro Bowl but it wasn’t much better than the offense. They allowed 425 points, (26.6/game), 26th in the league.

If you do the math you’ll see that Kansas City was outscored by a margin of more than two to one. That cost head coach Romeo Crennel his job after just one full season in charge (he was the interim coach there for the last three games in 2011).

Andy Reid was hired and things are very much looking up with the Chiefs at 9-3 and close to wrapping up a playoff spot. There were no wholesale lineup changes. The most important change came with Alex Smith at quarterback. The Cassel-Quinn duo threw 8 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. Smith’s TD-INT is 16-6.

With just a few new starters on defense, the Chiefs have flipped the script under coordinator Bob Sutton. They have gone from 20th to fourth in yards allowed and from 25th to fourth in points allowed.

I’m sure you can see the point here. A team does not necessarily need a massive infusion of new talent in order to turn its record around. A key fix here and there can do wonders for team chemistry and results on the scoreboard.

A new head coach is not a necessity for dramatic improvement; the Lions have gone from 4-12 last year to 7-5 by staying steady under head coach Jim Schwartz. But others like Reid’s old team the Eagles have found regime change to be a very positive action.

We also see other teams that were hoping to build on 2012 playoff success struggling this season. One of those teams, the Texans, has already moved on from Gary Kubiak. The Falcons are unlikely to get rid of Mike Smith, who took them to the NFC title game last year. We don’t know about the ultimate fate of Leslie Frazier, whose Vikings made the postseason at 10-6 last year but are now struggling at 3-8-1.

Mike Shanahan may survive the Redskins’ rocky season. He may not. But either way the team does not necessarily face a massive, lengthy rebuilding project. Washington fans need look no further than the sideline opposite the Redskins’ today for proof.

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

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. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

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Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

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Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all 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!

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

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!