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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Chiefs

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Chiefs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 4, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Chiefs matchup:

1. Alex Smith is a pretty good game manager. He averages 6.2 yards per pass attempt, among the lowest in the NFL. He is completing less than 60 percent of his passes and his passer rating is a mediocre 83.2.  But he has thrown 10 more TD’s than interceptions (16-6) and the Chiefs are 9-3. A lot of NFL teams would take a game manager like Smith if he could help deliver those results.

2. Smith is not a mad bomber by any stretch of the imagination. Their leader in receptions is running back Jammal Charles, who has 55 (452 yards, 8.2 ypc). The Redskins really haven’t played a team with such a productive pass catcher out of the backfield this year so it will be interesting to see how they handle him.

3. Kansas City is ninth in the league in scoring with 24.8 points per game. But before you go patting Smith, Charles and the rest of the Chiefs offense on the back, consider that their defense and special teams have scored an average of 4.7 points per game. They have scored eight touchdowns on returns. You also have to think that their 26 takeaways also have helped the KC offense start out in pretty good field position.

4. The Chiefs has what the Redskins would like to have—a pair of outside linebackers who rack up good sack numbers. Justin Houston, who lines up on the left side, has 11 and Tamba Hall has nine. The Redskins may catch a break as it looks like Houston will be out with an elbow injury. Still, Washington has given up 19 sacks in the last four games and even the presence of one threat like Hall is cause for concern.

5. The Redskins’ coverage teams have tightened things up lately but they face another dangerous returner this week in Dexter McCluster. He averages 9.7 yards per punt return and he has brought one back 89 yards for a touchdown. Look for a lot of angled kicks by Sav Rocca to prevent a big return.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins are being outscored by an average of 7.8 points per game (scoring 22.4, allowing 30.2). In 2009, Jim Zorn’s second and final year as the coach of the Redskins, they were outscored by an average of 4.4 points per game (scored 16.6, allowed 21.0).

Timeline

—Days until: Chiefs @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Falcons 11; Cowboys @ Redskins 19

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 2:00)

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Orakpo feels like he’s getting back to his old self

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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