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Need to Know: RG3 chooses to remain positive

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Need to Know: RG3 chooses to remain positive

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 31, three days before the Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Redskins Park:

1. Wide receiver Josh Morgan played just 19 of the Redskins’ 71 offensive snaps against the Broncos. He’s a bit mystified as to why his role has been reduced so drastically this year. “Nobody's happy when they get a reduced role. Whatever they ask you to do you just do,” he said. “I am healthy. I'm definitely healthier, I feel good, my body feels good. I don't ask no questions I just go out there and try to win games.”

2. Linebacker Rob Jackson may find himself covering Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who is having one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. If there are any great secrets to doing so, Jackson wasn’t talking about them. “I don't think you can stop him, you just have to kind of limit him,” said Jackson. “No touchdowns, obviously. If he does make the catch battle to the ball, get him down, tackle him, no yards after the catch, things like that.”

3. We noted here yesterday that the Chargers have twice won 1:00 games in the Eastern time zone this year. On a conference call with reporters, San Diego coach Mike McCoy said that they start their days early on a regular basis. “I firmly believe and have sold the team that this is one of 16 games and . . . it doesn’t matter what time we play. It’s an opportunity,” the first-year coach said. “We start early in morning. We have 7:20 meetings every day, so we’ve done a nice job at this point in time on the road.”

4. Mike Shanahan was asked how he keeps players “happy” if they don’t think they’re getting the ball enough. His old-school answer was predictable. “You’re not trying to keep everybody happy, you’re trying to get people to perform,” he said. It’s not my job to keep them happy, but you talk about the things they do poorly.”

5. How does Robert Griffin III cope with being the struggling quarterback of a 2-5 team? Accentuate the positive. “It’s very trying. It’s a test and you’re going to get put through tests in your life and you’ve got to decide how you’re going to react to them,” said Griffin. “You can react in a negative way or a positive way. I choose to be positive. I don’t go out there and scream at guys. We talked about this before, but my way of leading, you have to be positive.”

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Stat of the day

—After Sunday, the Redskins will have played eight games and they will have faced five of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of passer rating—Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, and Matthew Stafford

Timeline

—Days until: Chargers @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Vikings 7; Redskins @ Eagles 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett news conference 12:00; Practice 1:00; Kyle Shanahan and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00; all news conferences streamed live on CSNwashington.com)

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

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“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

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“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

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Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

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What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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.