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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 22, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens

Small sample size

Please do not interpret this post to be an attempt to blow sunshine, well, you know where. It is simply an attempt to bring some perspective to the game on Thursday. I am well aware that there are plenty of issues with the team.

But those issues were not necessarily identified during the game against the Lions on Thursday. Kory Lichtensteiger said it best. He was asked if this game was a measuring stick for the offensive line.

“I think it’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter,” he said.

Griffin and the first team offense were on the field for 16 snaps. Every Sunday during the regular season teams struggle during the first quarter. But they adjust, they make counter moves and eventually they find their footing.

In fact, offenses almost never play as poorly as Griffin and the Redskins did over the course of an entire game. If you project Griffin’s stats out over 64 snaps he would be eight of 20 (40 percent completions) for 32 yards with 12 sacks. No quarterback since 1974 has attempted at least 20 passes in a game for 32 or fewer yards with a completion percentage of 40 percent or lower. If that’s too much to plough through, suffice it to say that history says that Griffin and the offense would not have played that poorly for an entire game.

That doesn’t mean that they would have played great, or even competently. There would have been improvement over the course of the game but we don’t know if it would have been enough to be competitive.

The whole point is, we don’t know. It’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter. And even if you add in the 18 snaps Griffin and the starting offense played in Cleveland you have 34 snaps, a total of about 30 minutes of play. The Redskins offense has a quarter of OK work (Browns) and one of bad work (Lions) in the book That is really not enough to make even a, well, snap judgement.

I will inject one more thing to think about here. Scot McCloughan is building the Redskins to be a tough, physical team featuring power run blocking and an attacking defense. That style of football is designed to wear teams down over four quarters. In the preseason, with players shuffling in and out from beginning to end, the physical nature is less of an advantage.

To be sure, there is concern among fans that what we saw on Thursday was a continuation of what we have seen for the past two seasons, when the team combined to win seven games. There is some validity to that; however that ignores the addition of McCloughan, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, and about 15 draft picks and free agents that should upgrade the team.

We won’t see the Redskins’ best football until the regular season starts. Again, their “best” may still not be good enough to be a competitive NFL team in 2015. But it is not going to be revealed over the course of just 16 snaps.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Closed practice at Redskins Park

—It’s been 237 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 22 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 7; final cuts 14; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 33

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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.