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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins needs to improve performance under pressure

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins needs to improve performance under pressure

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 13, 15 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 185 days ago. It will be 61 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 2; Preseason opener @ Falcons 29; Final roster cut 52

Cousins needs to improve his passing under pressure

They say that pass defense starts with pass rush. The flip side of that coin also is true; a passing offense starts with pass protection. This was especially true for the 2015 Redskins and is likely to remain vital this coming season.

All quarterbacks are less effective when they have pressure in their faces. In 2015 putting pressure on Kirk Cousins made a huge difference in his effectiveness compared to when he had no pressure.

According to Football Outsiders, the Redskins’ passing offense was the fourth most effective in the NFL when Cousins was able to stand in the pocket unmolested (as calculated by FO’s DVOA metric; see the post for details). But the offensive DVOA dropped from 69.0 percent all the way down to minus-110 percent when he was under pressure. That drop of 179 percentage points was the second biggest among all quarterbacks who dropped back to pass at least 200 times last year. Brian Hoyer of the Texans had the biggest drop, 190 percentage points.

Fortunately for Cousins and the Redskins the quarterback wasn’t under pressure very often compared to the rest of the league. The pressure rate was 20.5 percent; only four quarterbacks faced pressure less often. As a result of the protection and his ability to get the ball out quickly Cousins was able to enjoy a very productive first season as a starter.

But there were still 119 pass plays out of 569 total (21 percent) where Cousins was under pressure and performing at a severe disadvantage. One of the knocks on Cousins has been his inability to make plays off schedule, when things break down. This stat reflects that to an extent, although it should be noted that both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, two of the games most noted improvisers, also ranked in the bottom half of passing under pressure compared to not being under pressure. Still, it’s something that Cousins to work on.

The FO article accompanying the stats doesn’t go into every QB in detail but they do a paragraph on Cousins:
Opposing teams only managed to get pressure on Cousins 20.5 percent of the time, the fifth-lowest rate in football, which certainly helped him put up a career year. Washington's weak schedule (25th-ranked by DVOA) also played a part in his drastic improvement, so it will be interesting to see whether Cousins can keep up his level of play against tougher competition.
That last sentence is particularly interesting and perhaps why the Redskins seem to be willing to gather another year’s worth of evidence before they decide how much they are willing to pay him on a long-term contract.

The more Cousins can close the gap between how he performs with and without pressure the better off he and the Redskins will be.

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Redskins activate TE Reed off of the PUP list

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Redskins activate TE Reed off of the PUP list

 

The Redskins have struggled on offense in the preseason. The good news is that they are getting one of their best offensive players back to work.

The team announced that tight end Jordan Reed has been activated off the physically unable to perform list (PUP). He was placed on the list at the start of training camp with a toe injury.

At first coach Jay Gruden indicated that the injury would be a short-term problem but as it turns out he spent 24 days on the PUP list.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' LOSS TO PACKERS

Reed made the Pro Bowl last year despite missing a total of four games with a shoulder injury and with a concussion, He caught 66 passes for 686 yards and six touchdowns.

His removal from the list means that he can start practicing with the team immediately. Reed would be eligible to play in the Redskins’ preseason game against the Bengals next Sunday. However, given how cautious the team has been with his injury and his value to the offense it seems likely that he will not take the field for a game until the Redskins’ season opener against the Eagles on September 10.

RELATED: MUST-SEE WEEK 2 PRESEASON

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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WWE icon Jim Ross really loves Redskins running back Samaje Perine

WWE icon Jim Ross really loves Redskins running back Samaje Perine

Redskins fans don't quite know what they're going to get out of rooking running back Semaje Perine, but legendary WWE icon Jim Ross certainly does. 

Ross, a University of Oklahoma fan, saw a lot of Perine when he was a star on the Sooners. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE WEEK 2 PRESEASON

Ross recently went on CSN to let the people know what, exactly, they were getting from the Oklahoma product. Here's the list of accolades, in no particular order, that Ross has for Perine:

- Restaurant quality running back

- tougher than a 2$ steak 

- a man's man

- all man (which is different than being a man's man, somehow)

- a yard wide (?)

You can see the whole thing here, with Ross coming in at the 1:22 mark. 

RELATED: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM REDSKINS-PACKERS