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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins can learn from last weekend's games

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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins can learn from last weekend's games

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 14, 114 days from the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

Five things the Redskins can learn from the divisional playoff teams:

1. Give your young QB a solid D—The two veteran QB’s remaining, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the AFC side, play on teams that have suspect defenses. Denver’s ranked 19th and the Patriots are 26th. The two future Hall of Famers can carry the load. But the NFC contestants have young QB’s and tough defenses with top-ranked Seattle facing 5th-ranked San Francisco. Those teams can survive an uneven game by their QB’s like Russell Wilson’s 9-18 effort against the Saints. If the Redskins’ defense improves it will be amazing to see how much Robert Griffin III will improve.

2. But give your young QB weapons to work with—Three of Wilson’s completions were to Percy Harvin and Colin Kapernick has Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Oh, and both have super stud running backs to hand the ball to. Griffin has a good start with Pierre Garçon and Alfred Morris. But one more weapon certainly would help.

3. Be prepared—One of the most underrated clutch performances of the weekend was the job done Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski—as a punter. When Ryan Allen went out with an injury, Gostowski ended up punting five times with an average of 41.8 yards. You have to think that Gostowski practiced punting, at least occasionally, probably frequently. When you watch other kickers pressed into duty as punters you get the impression that most don’t practice it at all. Score (another) one for The Hoodie. Hopefully Jay Gruden

4. Don’t be predictable—Twice in the first half the Panthers drove deep into 49ers territory. On seven plays from inside the four yard line they tried to run the ball up the middle. Seven times the 49ers knew what was coming and stuffed it. Too bad they didn’t have an athletic QB who could roll out and stress the defense. Oh, wait, they had Cam Newton. Gruden’s Bengals were the best in the NFL in goal to go situations (TD’s 84% of the time) so it appears that he knows how to keep the defense off balance in the compressed area near the goal line and knows how to utilize his weapons.

5. Don’t be afraid to be a copycat—The Redskins have an opportunity to rebuild their secondary with so many of the defensive backs being free agents or relatively inexpensive to release. The Seahawks built their intimidating secondary on the cheap. Safety Earl Thomas (1st-round pick) is the only top-100 pick in the group. They started cornerbacks Richard Sherman (5th) and Byron Maxwell (6th) and safety Kam Chancellor (6th) along with Thomas. The Redskins have a start on such a secondary with 6-1 David Amerson. They just need a few more pieces.

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Timeline

—Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was born on this date in 1984.

—It’s been 15 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 236 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 36; NFL free agency 56; Offseason workouts start 83

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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys that can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.