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Need to Know: Haslett makes case for 'elite' Orakpo

Need to Know: Haslett makes case for 'elite' Orakpo

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Thursday's press conferences.

1.Nothing against former Denver center J. D. Walton, who the Redskins claimed off of waivers yesterday. But this transaction makes no sense. “No, I think this is for the future. He would not play this week or next week,” said Mike Shanahan (complete news conference transcript). That might be fine except that Walton’s rookie contract expires after this season. So he will be a Redskin for two games. And he gets to walk in to an environment where distractions are many and playoff possibilities are zero. Strange.

2. I was one of the few who didn’t object when Kyle Shanahan (complete news conference transcript) called a play-action out of the Redskins’ end zone. Even though it ended up being picked off, I liked the aggressive style. “I always feel if you punt when you’re backed up, I look at that as we as an offense just gave the other team three points. All they need to do is go about 10 yards after they catch that punt and they already have a field goal, so I feel it’s very important when you’re backed up to get a first down. We’re not just going to play conservatively to not get a safety.

3. Jim Haslett (complete news conference transcript) made the case that Brian Orakpo is an elite pass rusher. He made a valid point that while he doesn’t have the sack numbers that others do he doesn’t rush the passer on every down. “I don’t know what you’re calling elite, but I’ll say sack-wise, numbers-wise, he’s got 10, and you’ve got [Green Bay linebacker Clay] Mathews has 16 who rushes every down, [Rams defensive end Robert] Quinn who has 15 I think, he rushes every down — I don’t know who else is in between — but I would say that’s fair because he doesn’t rush every down. He rushes every time on third down or nickel, but he does drop into coverage.”

4. Aldrick Robinson has been more productive in the last two games than he was in the first 12 combined. Kyle hopes he can use his speed to open up other things. “Aldrick, everybody knows he’s our fastest player and you usually like to send your fastest player deep over your slower players, but there’s not really a play in our offense that just says we’re throwing it deep. I kind of want them to cover Aldrick deep. Please cover him so we can throw it to open people underneath, as long as we’re sucking up the linebackers on a play-fake.”

5. It seems that most of the players have picked up this message from Mike Shanahan; the effort from all but a few has been solid. “No, it’s not really, not if you’ve got the right guys, you’ve got the right character. You’re getting full-speed effort. They understand that this is their profession and if they don’t handle it that way, then the chances of them being around for any length of time is not very good.”

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Stat of the day

—On first and 10 this year the Redskins have run 179 times for a 3.6 average per play and they have passed 191 times for an average of 7.2 yards.

Timeline

—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Giants 9; Opening Sunday 2014 262

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:15)

In case you missed it

Haslett talks about Romo 

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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

lucky-whitehead.jpg

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