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Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 17, three days before the Washington Redskins host the St. Louis Rams.

Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

QB Kirk Cousins—He probably has a longer leash than most people think he does. But it’s not unlimited and at some point he has to play a clean game, make plays in the clutch, and, for the first time since 2012, have the team win a game that he starts and finishes. No better time than the present, although the Rams have a tough defense from front to back. Cousins likely will appear on this list every week until he puts together a solid performance.

P Tress Way—Rarely does the punter appear on a list like this but he admitted that he outkicked the coverage on Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return on Sunday and Tavon Austin is coming to town. Way likes to let it rip but he will need precision punting if they are going to keep Austin out of the end zone. Whether he needs to go to a higher and shorter when kicking to Austin or just boot it out of bounds, he needs to execute whatever the call is.

G Brandon Scherff—Aaron Donald is not as big as Ndamukong Suh but he is quicker and more active. He will be a different kind of challenge for Scherff, who did pretty well against Suh. If Cousins is going to have a chance to get going, Scherff keeping Donald under control will be critical.

CB DeAngelo Hall—It may be unfair to put this on Hall but the veteran corner—or somebody—needs to get a takeaway or two. The Redskins had their hands on three interceptions and a fumble on the second-half kickoff. They came up empty. The last time Hall played a full season in 2013 he had four interceptions with two returned for touchdowns and a fumble recovery for a TD. If he can bring one back this week it could be contagious.

WR Ryan Grant—He is likely to get most of the snaps that will be available to the backup wide receivers with DeSean Jackson sidelined. Jay Gruden is always singing his praises so it is time for him to produce. Grant has Jamison Crowder and Rashad Ross behind him so he needs to show what he can do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 7; Eagles @ Redskins 17

In case you missed it

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

RELATED: PRESTON SMITH ENTERING VITAL YEAR

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.