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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins thinks he missed an opportunity vs. Falcons

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins thinks he missed an opportunity vs. Falcons

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 15, four days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 8:35 in Richmond; player and Jay Gruden availability after practice. The session is not open to the public.

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 218 days ago. It will be 28 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 seaTson opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 19; Cowboys @ Redskins 34; Browns @ Redskins 48

Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden read and react

Cousins on competition in training camp:
When they come in with 90 guys and they cut it down to 53—but really in my mind, it’s 46 because those are the only guys who can dress on game day —you’re literally cutting the roster in half.
That is an interesting way of looking at it. I don’t quite see it that way because the inactive seven get a full NFL salary and have the chance to be active the next week if they aren’t in Week 1. And at $6,000 per week the practice squad beats driving for Uber. But players like to do mental tricks that make the odds against them seem to be longer, sort of a self-motivation technique. It’s along the lines for Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first you’re last”. If you’re not on the 46 you’re unemployed.

Cousins on possibly leaving a play on the field vs. the Falcons:
We want to be able to run in favorable situations against advantageous fronts. I know for sure that one of those runs the other night was a run that I easily oculd have audibled out of and gone to a pass, but I decided to leave the run play on. It didn’t work, and after the fact you’re thinking maybe the next time go to the pass. By no means is it bad play calling or we’re not running the ball well, sometimes it’s just that I can get out of the play and get us to a better play. That’s the kind of thing people on the outside may not realize.
When you see a play called that goes right into the teeth of the defense it isn’t always the fault of the play caller. The quarterback does have the option to change many plays at the line to one that may be better suited to beat the defense. After the game Gruden mentioned in passing one of the issues with the running game was that the quarterbacks could have bailed out of some runs that were doomed from the start. This must have been one of the plays that he was referring to.

Cousins on the lack of drama in training camp:
I’ve told my teammates that I’d like to be the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL, be super boring and maybe people at the end of the season just go, ‘Wow, they really had a good year and no one really talked about it’, I don’t need to promote myself. I don’t need to promote what we’re doing.
“I don’t need to promote myself.” Hmm, I wonder what he’s referring to here. Perhaps an ex-teammate? In any case, the players and coaches have to like the “boring” nature of camp so far. That doesn’t mean that so-called distractions are an excuse for losing—the Broncos had a ton of them last year with the fading Peyton Manning at the helm—but all other things being equal it’s better not to have them than have them.

Gruden on the penalties committed on Thursday:
“Yeah, penalties are an issue, man. It’s a very important part of the game – offense, defense, special teams and penalties, man, and turning the ball over. We looked at them extensively today and make sure we get them corrected because those things—you can be as skilled as you want to, be as prepared as you want to, but if you commit penalties, you’ve got no chance.
The penalties give you no chance theory was true last year. The worst eight teams in terms of penalty yards taken per game all missed the playoffs. But in 2014 the two Super Bowl participants, the Seahawks and Patriots, finished 25th and 26th in penalty yards. So it’s not a hard and fast rule. Gruden's team does have difficulty winning despite penalty issues. In 2014 they were penalized for more yards than all but one NFL team and they finished 4-12. Last year they were eighth best in terms of penalty yards assessed and they went 9-7 and won the NFC East.

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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