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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Rams

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 40, the day the Washington Redskins host the St. Louis Rams.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Rams

—Although Jordan Reed is listed as questionable, technically meaning that there is a 50-50 chance that he will play, I would say there is an 80 percent chance that he will suit up. Not only does his team need him given how thin the tight end situation is and that they already are missing one passing threat in DeSean Jackson, but he needs to play for the sake of his own reputation. If he is going to shake his well-deserved reputation for being, well, let's say it, soft, he needs to get out there. Reed may be hampered somewhat but he should be out there.

—The Rams’ defensive front is getting a lot of attention for the six sacks they got against the Seahawks. But Seattle did run against them some, picking up 125 yards on 32 carries. The Redskins probably need more rushing yards than that to have a chance and they will only accomplish that if they stick with the run.

—One reason the Rams got six sacks was that Russell Wilson dropped back to pass 47 times in a game that his team trailed by more than one score for just less than seven minutes. If Kirk Cousins drops back anywhere near 50 times the Redskins likely are doomed. He should keep it closer to the 32 he had against the Dolphins. If that happens it could be another game down to the wire.

—I think that the Redskins defender who has the best chance of getting multiple sacks is Jason Hatcher. He had a good game last week with a sack, four tackles, and a pass defensed. The veteran will line up against Rodger Saffold, one of the more experienced members on a young line. The best way to pressure Nick Foles is up the middle and Hatcher should have some success.

—Neither Joe Barry nor Jay Gruden was forthcoming with information on how the cornerbacks will line up with Bashaud Breeland back and Chris Culliver taking his place on the suspended list for a week. Justin Rogers, who was the nickel corner last week, also is out with a foot injury. I think we’ll see DeAngelo Hall and Breeland starting. In nickel situations it should be Breeland moving into the slot and David Amerson covering outside. The just-acquired Will Blackmon will come in in dime situations.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Rams @ Redskins, 1 p.m., FedEx Field, FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 4; Eagles @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Falcons 21

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!