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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins need to do to beat the NFC East

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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins need to do to beat the NFC East

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 17, 111 days before the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins went winless against the NFC East last year and have finished last four out of the last five years. Here are five things the Redskins have to do compete in their division.

1. Stop speedy receivers—They have done pretty well against bigger, more physical receivers in the division. Players like Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have had their moments against the Redskins but players like DeSean Jackson on Philly (32 receptions, 17.9 yards/catch, 5 TD’s in 11 games) and Victor Cruz (23/15.6/1) have burned them. Their lack of speed on defense really shows here.

2. Stop tight ends—The big wide receivers have been held in check but the big tight ends haven’t. Jason Witten and Brent Celek along have gained almost 1,500 yards and have scored 10 touchdowns against the Redskins. This is a general issue for the Redskins but it gets exposed in division games because of the presence of players like Witten and Celek.

3. Make a special teams play—Yes we know this was a major problem in 2013 in general and during the loss in Dallas in particular. But prior to that six of the Redskins’ division losses were by a touchdown or less and none of those games featured a big, positive play by the Redskins special teams. A return TD, a blocked kick, just about any play from the kicking game could have turned the tide.

4. Contain scrambling QB’s—Every week before facing Romo, Vick or, last year, Foles all the talk is about keeping contain and not letting him beat you with his feet. And almost always the quarterback finds a way to beat the Redskins with his legs. It’s always easier said than done, for sure, but they need to do a better job.

5. Make clutch plays—Yes, that is straight from the keyboard of Capt. Obvious. But this has been a particularly acute problem in the division. You don’t have to look back any further than the Dallas game in December for evidence of that. It’s always the other team scoring the late touchdown (@NYG in 2012) or kicking the late field goal (Dallas 2X in 2011) to grab the win in the late going.

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Timeline

—It’s been 19 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 233 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 33; NFL free agency 53; Offseason workouts start 80

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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 who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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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.

 

RELATED: COWBOYS WR LUCKY WHITEHEAD'S DOG REPORTEDLY HELD FOR RANSOM