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Need to Know: Redskins special teams still adjusting

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Need to Know: Redskins special teams still adjusting

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 17, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park

1. As one might expect, special teams were a big topic of discussion on Wednesday at Redskins Park. Here is what two core special teams players had to say about the situation. First, this from Niles Paul; you’ll notice a theme in his remarks:

Keith Burns, he's a different individual than Danny. Everybody here loved Danny. Having Danny here was very beneficial to everybody. Keith is a different guy with a different scheme and everybody has to get used to that and believe in the coaches. At the end of the day, we just have to make plays. That's what Danny allowed us to do last year was go out and make plays. It was a simple as that and that's what we're missing this year. We just have to go out there and make plays. You need five or six guys rallying to the ball instead of one or two making the tackle.

2. Reed Doughty had similar thoughts when it came to making plays but he was not inclined to place much of the reason for the special teams issues on the change in coaches:

[The scheme is] definitely a little bit different. But at the end of the day we get paid to go out on Sunday and make plays. Whether it's because of the system or in spite of the system, what ever your feelings are, it really doesn't matter. It's still a reflection of us if they scored a touchdown on Sunday and had another big return.

3. Pierre Garçon was asked about how much pressure Robert Griffin III is putting himself under:

You always want to put pressure on yourself as a football player because you never want to think that you've arrived. I put pressure on myself, he puts pressure on himself. But this year is different from last year. As you get older in this league you have to be able to adjust and keep your head in the game. We're just finding out game . . . I don't think he's putting too much pressure on himself.

4. And here is Robert Griffin III talking about the pressure that Robert Griffin III faces:

“There’s just an expectation. Whenever you play the way we played as an offense in general – not just myself – moving the ball, making big plays, putting points on the board, whenever you play like that and you come back the next year and you don’t play like that and your quarterback has a significant knee injury in the offseason, the scrutiny is going to be there. But I think for a lot of guys in this locker room, nothing has ever been easy for us as far as in life. It’s never been given to us. Some guys in this league get a break and some guys don’t. With all the scrutiny going on with our team as far as the name, my knee injury, the way we started the season – all that stuff can pile up.

5. Mike Shanahan talking about how, well, stuff happens:

We missed a handoff on a draw. That’s what happened. Sometimes those things do occur . . . Robert went a little further back than he should have. Those things, sometimes we fake a little bit of a pass and sometimes the timing is not perfect, but we have been doing a pretty good job on that. That was one of those times we didn’t do a good job.


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Stat of the day

—The Redskins average 5.3 yards per rushing attempt, second in the NFL. The league average is  4.1 yards per attempt.

Timeline

—Days until: Bears @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Broncos 10; Chargers @ Redskins 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett news conference 12:00; Practice 1:00 (open to media for first 30 minutes); Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00), available streaming on CSNwashington.com.                                        

In case you missed it

Tandler on Redskins Nation

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!