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Need to Know: For Redskins and Cousins no news is good news

Need to Know: For Redskins and Cousins no news is good news

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 12, 12 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Five Friday morning musings on the Redskins

—We haven’t heard much about the Kirk Cousins contract negotiations and that’s good news. It’s usually when things aren’t going well that one side or the other leaks something to the press. The expectation is that the last day to apply the franchise tag, March 1, is the deadline that will drive the two sides to get a deal done. Although they could tag him on March 1 and sign him to a long-term deal on March 2 that's not how it usually works. If the tag is supplied the team and the agent usually move on to other things and they begin to refocus on long-term deal again in July. If a tagged player does not sign a long-term deal by July 15 he must play out the season on the tag so that is the real, drop-dead date for getting something done.

—I did a post on the draft here a couple of days ago and among a group of players that had been targeted in some mock drafts I made Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland the favorite to be the Redskins’ first-round pick in April. Someone whose opinion I respect disagrees. Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris did not grade Ragland as a first-round talent and when asked about on Twitter, Norris replied, “I think the rest of the process could show that Ragland is more limited than some think right now.” It’s early in the process and this doesn’t mean that he’s right and I’m wrong but I though I should put that out here.

—USA Today put out a list of 25 payers who they think will be salary cap casualties. Four Redskins are on it. As we have discussed here plenty, Robert Griffin III will be cut. I’d say there is about a 75 percent chance that Jason Hatcher will either retire or get cut. Dashon Goldson is more likely to take a cut in his $8 million salary than he is to leave. The one player on the list that I don’t think is going anywhere or redoing his contract is Pierre Garçon. Perhaps they will end up overpaying him but I don’t think they can replace him for substantially less money.

—The article I wrote about the Redskins’ low interception total yesterday was focused on 2015 but they have had issues for quite some time. Since 2010 they have been in the top half of the NFL in interceptions just once, in 2012. That was an odd year with two linebackers among the top three in interceptions, London Fletcher (5) and Rob Jackson (4). Jackson, of course, had the big one, a fourth-quarter pick of Tony Romo that helped lock up both the Redskins’ win over the Cowboys and the NFC East title. In case anyone is wondering, Jackson was released by the Redskins during training camp in 2014, and has been out of the league since.

—Colleague Tarik El-Bashir and I did a post a few days ago on how to fix the running game. He said that the top issue was talent, that the Redskins should invest either high draft pick in a running back or sign one of the top free agents available. I said that the team needed to fully commit to power blocking and put the zone scheme in the circular file except as an occasional wrinkle. I don’t necessarily disagree with Tarik. About the only thing I wouldn’t want to see happen is using the first-round pick on a running back. I could see one from the second round on or a free agent who fits the McCloughan profile, such as the Dolphins’ Lamar Miller.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 33 days ago. It will be about 212 days until they play another one.

—About 167 days until fullbacks and safeties report to Richmond.

Days until: NFL Combine 12; NFL free agency starts 26; 2016 NFL draft 76

In case you missed it

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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.

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