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Need to Know: Redskins coaches have learned to deal with uncertainty

Need to Know: Redskins coaches have learned to deal with uncertainty

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 27, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Nickel coverage

Five quotes and notes from yesterday’s head coach and coordinator news conferences:

1. In the likely event that Mike Shanahan departs from the organization, the films from practices will stay behind. Shanahan said that he put those to use to evaluate the players who were already on the team when he got here four years ago. “I know when I came here I took a look not only at the last games – the three last games of the season – I looked at how they practice, the practice squad players over the last three weeks,” he said. “I think you can tell a lot about somebody when they’re not necessarily playing for a playoff spot.”

2. Even after two starts, fans haven’t seen a whole lot of Kirk Cousins but Kyle Shanahan thinks he has a pretty good handle on his abilities. “We’ve been around him a lot,” he said. “I got a lot of work with him last year and in the game he started, that week. Got a lot of work with him this offseason since he was our starter throughout OTAs and training camp. He’s played like we expected him to, so nothing really surprising.”

3. Kyle did admit that what could happen after the game on Sunday is starting to weigh on his mind a bit more because there is not another game to look forward to when the clock hits 0:00. “You always have a bunch of games to go forward so you can’t think about it too much, but with this being the last one and nothing after it for sure, it is a little bit different but we’re getting through it,” he said.

4. Mike Shanahan has been through a firestorm of criticism before and he’s learned to deal with it. “We’ve been in it for a while. I think when you’re a little bit younger and it’s your first experience, you see how it affects everybody – not that it doesn’t affect you when you’re older, but you’ve been through it before,” he said. “You understand the highs and lows of the profession and you deal with it. If you deal with it too much then you’re not in the profession very long. But it comes with the territory.”

5. Jim Haslett has been through worse storms than this one—literally. He was the head coach of the Saints when Katrina hit in New Orleans, making them a team without a home for the season. “But back then, my first [job] as a head coach I was 41-years-old, it was a little different than it is now,” he said. “I went through Katrina and all that stuff, so things are a little different – still ugly, but that’s part of it.”

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Stat of the day

—This year the Redskins scored 30 points or more in two of their games. In 2012 they scored 30+ in seven games.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Giants 2; NFL free agency 74; 2014 NFL opening Sunday 254

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

In case you missed it

3 and Out: Shanahan’s last stand?

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Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

All signs point to the Redskins starting Arie Kouandjio at left guard this weekend against the Eagles, and the coaching staff knows it's a big chance for the second-year man.

Incumbent starter Shawn Lauvao injured his groin last week against the Cardinals, and has not practiced all week. Assuming he doesn't play, this would mark Kouandjio's second start this season. He also got the start against the Browns in Week 4.

Washington coach Jay Gruden did not speak glowingly of Kouandjio's play against Cleveland, but it wasn't a negative review, either.

"He’s played one game, he played OK," the coach said. "He has another great opportunity for him. He’s waited his turn, done what’s asked of him. Practiced hard, played hard, and it’s a great opportunity.”

With center Spencer Long currently in concussion protocol and backup John Sullivan started to go in the middle of the Redskins offensive line, the group will have a number of new faces against the Eagles. The right side of the line, with guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses, will be the same as its been all year, though both of those players are nursing ankle injuries. 

"We have confidence in the guys that if some of those guys that are backups need to step up and be ready to roll," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. 

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!

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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!