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Need to Know: Redskins need to contain Bucs' Martin

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Need to Know: Redskins need to contain Bucs' Martin

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 21, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs Bucs

—The Redskins are favored in this game by three and a half to four points, depending on where you look. Last year the Bucs came into Fed Ex Field on a five-game losing streak and were 7.5-point underdogs. They won 27-7, one of their two victories on the season. The game was the beginning of the end for Robert Griffin III, who threw two interceptions and drew the pubic scorn of Jay Gruden for his play.

—In 2012, many Redskins fans were upset when Bucs RB Doug Martin was chosen to the Pro Bowl as an alternate ahead of Alfred Morris. They were both rookies and while Morris rushed for 1,600 yards, Martin had 1,450 on the ground and another 450 receiving. After two injury-plagued seasons, Martin is rounding back into his rookie form. In five games (the Bucs are coming off of their bye) he has 405 yards rushing, seventh per game in the NFL, and another 94 receiving. The Redskins have had trouble with Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory in the last few weeks and if they don’t turn things around defensively, Martin could go off and Washington will have a tough time winning if that happens.

—Without doing any advanced statistical analysis, I’d guess that Jameis Winston is probably the quarterback most statistically similar to Kirk Cousins in 2015. In five games as opposed to six for Cousins, Winston has one pick fewer than his counterpart on Sunday and has thrown one more touchdown pass. Cousins has a better completion percentage by about 10 percentage points but Winston averages a yard and a half more per attempt. Cousins has a 77.4 passer rating compared to 77.6 for Winston. It’s a pretty even matchup at QB.

—One thing Cousins has been able to do well this season is stay upright in the pocket, with help from the revamped (and, against the Jets, re-revamped) offensive line. He has dropped back 235 times and has been sacked just seven times, a sack percentage of 3.0. Something will have to give this week as the Bucs have sacked quarterbacks on 9.2 percent of the dropbacks, fourth in the NFL. Tackle Gerald McCoy leads the team with 4.5 sacks, followed by end Jacquies Smith, who has 4.

—If the Redskins are going to get their rushing game back in gear, this could be the week. The Bucs are giving up 120 yards per game on the ground and they have played only one team, the Panthers, better than 16th in the league in rushing. Of course, the Redskins fancy themselves to be one of the better rushing teams in the league but their dismal rushing performances in the last two games (85 yards combined) have dragged them down to 17th in the league with 107.2 yards per game.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Patriots 18; Saints @ Redskins 24

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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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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