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Need to Know: Haslett takes the heat

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Need to Know: Haslett takes the heat

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 20, two days before the Redskins play the Lions at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. An injury concern has popped up along the defensive line. Kedric Golson has an abdominal strain that he sustained during the Packers game. Apparently he didn’t think much of it at the time but it has lingered to the point where he was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, Chris Baker and Phillip Merling with both see increases in their playing time against the Lions

2. Maybe the Redskins just need to loosen up. If it takes RG3 doing a hip hop number in the huddle, so be it.

I’ll do whatever we have to win the game. That’s always been my mindset. I’m the quarterback, so if I have to create that energy, if I have to spit a rap line in the huddle, sure, whatever, I’ll do it. Just whatever it takes to get that energy, I’ll do it.

3. Jim Haslett apparently wants to take the pressure off of his players. His responses to five of the questions asked him at his Thursday press conference somehow involved him saying that he’s responsible for the problems the defense has been having or that he need to be the one to work harder to fix them.

4. Brandon Meriweather is likely to be listed as questionable for the Lions game when the injury report comes out this afternoon. I really want to see what he can do for a whole game. Hopefully the combination of the concussion and the $42,000 fine will get him to focus in on tackling in the prescribed target zone rather than in the helmet area.

5. I brought up this number is my post on Haslett’s presser yesterday but it’s worth pointing out again. In two games this season the Redskins have missed a total of 30 tackles. In four preseason games, the missed only 28 tackles and eight of those misses were by players who are no longer on the 53-man roster. I think it’s reasonable for Haslett to say that the tackling was a problem that the did not expect.

Stat of the day

—The Redskins have 35 rushing attempts in their two games. Last year they had 43 rushing attempts in the season opener and 72 combined in their first two games.

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Timeline

—Days until: Lions @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Raiders 9; Redskins @ Cowboys 23

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50 (early portion open to media); Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability (after practice, approx. 1:30)

Redskins-Lions Two-Minute Drill

In case you missed it

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!