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Need to Know: Redskins accountability in action

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Need to Know: Redskins accountability in action

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 6, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.

More accountability in action            

My CSN colleague Tarik El-Bashir wrote a fine column yesterday of how accountability is becoming a real, tangible thing at Redskins Park. You can read the post right here. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll be right here when you’re done.

Welcome back. As you just read, Tarik uses four examples of how your draft status, tenure with the team and size of your free agent contract just don’t matter as much as they used to. Robert Griffin III and Andre Roberts are on the bench and Kai Forbath and David Amerson are unemployed because they just didn’t get it done as well as others.

But there are plenty more examples of accountability at Redskins Park that Tarik didn’t address. You see, he has to craft a concise column so he only touched on the major points. I am paid to ramble on and go into minutia, so let’s take a look at other players who learned the hard way.

—A few hours before yesterday’s game I ran into Tom Compton in the tunnel outside the locker room. He said his strained calf, which we thought had kept him out of the first two games, was feeling fine. A short time later Compton, who started nine games last season, was on the inactive list. Ty Nsecke, a street free agent who was a surprise member of the 53-man roster, was the only backup offensive tackle active. Since Compton says he’s healthy, he must have been inactive for performance reasons.

—Jeron Johnson was signed to a free agent contract with the idea that he would be the starting strong safety. But the former Seahawk battled with Duke Ihenacho for the job in the spring and lost it to him during training camp. That was not a big surprise. But when Ihenacho went out for the year just eight snaps into the season with a wrist injury it was Trenton Robinson who took his place, not Johnson. We are four games into the season and Johnson has yet to take a single snap on defense.

—Chris Baker was moved up into the starting lineup over free agent pickup Stephen Paea. He already was taking on a larger role.  In the first four games he has played 100 snaps, more than any defensive lineman besides Jason Hatcher. That’s more than free agent acquisitions Terrance Knighton (93), Paea (68), and Ricky Jean Francois (58).

So it doesn’t seem to matter if the player came in before Scot McCloughan arrived as GM or if he was one of his acquisitions. There are no “safe” players, they must perform or an alternative will be found.

Honestly, this really shouldn't be a big deal. It's not really something that should be noted and celebrated by fans. It's the way that most successful teams operate. But the Redskins haven't operated like the better organizations for quite some time. This is no guarantee that they will turn it around but it's a step in the right direction.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 5; Redskins @ Jets 12; Bucs @ Redskins 19

In case you missed it

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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