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Need to Know: Is Barnett London's successor?

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Need to Know: Is Barnett London's successor?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 31, nine days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park:

1. It’s cutdown day, the day of the Turk and news of who has been released will trickle in all day today. If you’re the type who doesn’t like to rely on news from “sources” preferring instead to wait for the official word you’ll have to wait a while. Since Mike Shanahan has been the head coach the press release announcing who has been cut has come out after the sun has started to set. The time stamp on the email last year was 9:10 p.m.

2. I think that seventh-round pick Jawan Jamison will be one of those players asked to see the coach and bring his iPad today. He just didn’t do enough in camp to earn carries in the preseason games and without those, Shanahan has said many times, he can’t really judge a runner. Jamison looked pretty good in minicamp when nobody’s wearing any pads. That makes me think that maybe he needs to get stronger. If he is cut I think he makes the practice squad and after a year there and, just as important, a year in the weight room he can come back next year and have a solid shot at the 53.

3. The Redskins got 10 sacks in four preseason games so that would be the equivalent of getting 40 in a 16-game season. That would have been good for ninth in the NFL last year. Of course you can’t project their 2013 performance like that because many of those sacks were by guys who won’t be around or won’t play regularly going up against opponents in the same boat. But what you saw was a decent level of pass pressure and if they can duplicate it in the regular season they should be pretty happy. By comparison, the Redskins’ 32 sacks last year were 24th in the league.

4. As the contradictory reports and text messages fly around, just remember one thing—all of this is process. A week from today few will remember that it took an extra three days for Shanahan to name Griffin the starter due to some nebulous, disputed “concerns”.

5. Nick Barnett got into the swing of things yesterday playing 25 snaps with four tackles. I still think he might be inactive for a few weeks while he gets fully into football shape. It’s possible (just my speculation here) that he could be a one- or two-year stopgap at Mike linebacker if London Fletcher retires at the end of the year. It doesn’t look like Keenan Robinson, who the Redskins drafted with the idea of having him replace Fletcher some day, will be ready and if he is you have to wonder if injuries will be a concern. They could stick with Robinson or draft another potential replacement in the middle rounds next year.

Stat of the day

Final preseason stat leaders

—Rushing: Roy Helu Jr., 27 carries 157 yards (5.8 average)
—Receiving : Receptions, 3 tied with 7 (Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Nick Williams); Yards Dezmon Briscoe 113 (4 rec., 28.3 avg.)
—Passing: Rex Grossman 31-58 for 423 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 INT, 87.0 rating
—Sacks: Ryan Kerrigan 2
—Interceptions: Kerrigan and David Amerson tied with 1

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Timeline

—It's been 234 days since the last Redskins game; there are nine days to go until the next on

—Today is the day that the “days until” line starts counting down to nothing but actual football games that count.

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Packers 15; Lions @ Redskins 22

—Today’s schedule: Team is scheduled to have a light practice, no media availability. Final cuts due to league office by 6 p.m.

Thompson talks about his punt return

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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.

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