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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 31, seven days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Here are five pivotal games on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule:

Sept. 21 @ Eagles—Last year the Redskins weren’t competitive in either game against the eventual division champs. They can show that they’ve closed the gap starting here.

Sept. 26 vs. Giants—After coming back from Philly they turn around and host the Giants. It was one thing losing to Philly twice in 2013; dropping two to the Giants was a different matter. If the Redskins are even going to be mediocre they need to win games like this at home.

Oct. 19 vs. Titans—Yes, this is a nondescript game that few outside of Washington and Nashville will care about and that’s the point. Even when they’re good the Redskins tend to lay an egg at home against a team they should beat. This is a trap they need to avoid.

Nov. 2 @ Vikings—Minnesota has been every bit as mediocre as the Redskins since 2010 and they’ve met every year. The Vikings have won three of those four games. If they Redskins are indeed improved they should win this one.

Dec. 7 vs. Rams—This is similar to the situation with the Vikings. St. Louis hasn’t been very good but they still have beaten Washington in two of their three meetings since 2010

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Stat of the day

—Alfred Morris has rushed for 2,888 yards in his two seasons in the NFL. Only eight backs in NFL history have rushed for more yards in their first two seasons. If Morris gains 1,112 yards this year to get to 4,000 he will join a group of 12 players with that many rushing yards in their first three seasons in the league.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No availability

—It’s been 245 days since the Redskins played a game; in seven days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 14; Redskins @ Eagles 21; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 26

In case you missed it

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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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