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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Lions—Detroit less pass happy than usual

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Lions—Detroit less pass happy than usual

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Detroit to play the Lions.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:30; Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 3:30 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Lions 4; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 11; Vikings @ Redskins 25; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 37

First thoughts on Redskins vs. Lions

—It’s probably good for the Redskins that the Lions were able to beat the Eagles and Rams in the first two games. They’re human and it would have been hard for them to get too excited for a 1-5 or 2-4 Lions team. But as it is they are playing a team that is just a game behind them, and they should remember that the Lions made the playoffs just two years ago.

—Are the Lions a passing team? They have that reputation, having finished in the top five in passing attempts in four of the last five seasons. But this year Matthew Stafford has attempted 212 passes, 15th in the NFL. They are, however, not really a running team; they're 21st n rushing attempts. The offense just isn't getting many snaps.

—A look at the defense tells you why. They can't get off the field. Remember when the Redskins were last in the NFL in defensive third down conversions? Washington has improved somewhat over the last couple of weeks and now it’s Detroit bringing up the rear at 49 percent. The Redskins also could find the territory near the goal line to be friendlier than it has been so far this year; Detroit’s defense is also last red zone defense.

—Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know—Lions QB Matthew Stafford, the top pick in the draft in 2009, is only about six months older than Kirk Cousins. Sunday will mark Stafford’s 100th career start. Although he “owns” a losing record at 45-54 the Lion’s record can’t be blamed predominantly on Stafford. That is due to problems that date back to long before Stafford was born. I’ve always liked him as a player although he perhaps has been a little more of a gunslinger that I’d prefer in my ideal QB. The Lions haven’t lost in any of his three career starts against the Redskins.

—The Lions are dealing with some injuries at running back. They picked up Justin Forsett after the Ravens let him go but last week their feature back was Zach Zenner, who came to Detroit as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Against the Rams last week he had 14 carries for 58 yards. Ameer Abdullah was supposed to be their lead dog at running back but he is on injured reserve with a foot injury. Theo Riddick is their leading rusher this year but he sat out the Rams game with a hip injury and his status is up in the air.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

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. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run 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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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

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!