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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins must do better in 2014

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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins must do better in 2014

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 5, 65 days before the start of free agency.

Offense or defense? How about neither?

Here are five numbers the Redskins’ new coach is going to work to improve in 2014:

1. Defensive passing yards per play: Redskins 7.58, NFL average 6.65—This means that every time the other team drops back to pass it gains almost a yard more than the league average (this number takes yards lost by sacks into account) and over two yards more than the Seahawks and Bengals.

2. Punt return average allowed: Redskins 16.8, NFL average 9.4—We’ll just let this represent all of the special teams woes since this entire post could be made of kicking game performance that were well below the NFL average.

3. Offensive interception rate: Redskins 3.11%, NFL average 2.77%--This could be an anomaly due to Robert Griffin III’s struggles and Kirk Cousins appearing in garbage time earlier in the season and then having some issues in NFL starts number 2,3, and 4. But the turnovers have to stop.

4. Fumbles lost: Redskins 15, NFL average 9.75—The other element of the turnover equation didn’t look too good either. They didn’t have particularly bad luck in recovering fumbles; they put the ball on the ground 30 times and a 50 percent recovery rate is right around the NFL average.

5. First quarter scoring differential: Redskins minus-79 points, league average 0—The Redskins were last in the league here and one of the five worst in NFL history. A team that has to play from behind from the very beginning game after game is not going to be very successful.

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Timeline

—On this date in 1991, the Redskins beat the Eagles 20-6 in a Wild Card playoff game. The win was revenge for the “Body Bag” game in Philadelphia two months earlier.

—Days until: NFL free agency 65; Offseason workout start 92; 2014 NFL Draft 123

In case you missed it:

Sunday 12.29

Monday 12.30

Tuesday 12.31

Wednesday 01.01

Thursday 01.02

Friday 01.03

Saturday 01.04

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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In case you missed it

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

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

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