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Need to Know: Shanahan says it's too soon to judge NFC East

Need to Know: Shanahan says it's too soon to judge NFC East

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 1, 12 days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

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Five key quotes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference:

1. The Redskins went to a no-huddle attack a couple of times during the game and it was pretty effective. One no-huddle drive led to a field goal and their first touchdown drive started with the quick tempo.

It’s always good when you use something that nobody has ever seen before, so you do catch people off-balance a little bit and I think that’s what we did. We caught them a little off-balance. The pace was a little bit different, and I think it’s a good changeup.”

2. Some Redskins didn’t particularly like having the bye so early in the schedule. Shanahan pointed out that the Redskins have played eight games counting the preseason so a break is welcome at any time.

I don’t even think about that because when you’ve got your bye, it’s your bye. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the season, toward the end of the season or in the beginning. You can use excuses that it’s the perfect time for any bye week. At the end of the day, we have got a chance to heal up a little bit. We have got a couple of guys banged up which is a positive for us to get these guys healthy.

3. Shanahan thinks it’s too early to make any grand pronouncements about the state of the NFC East where the teams are a combined 4-12.

Remember, this is a long season. Don’t get carried away with things that happen very early or very late. Just stay the course. Understand your objective and your goals and try to get better each day. A lot of those games can go either way and people get healthy or they get injured and there is a lot that goes into it.”

4. Brandon Meriweather played a decent game, mostly lining up at free safety while Reed Doughty was at strong.

The one thing about Brandon, if he’s deep or he’s in the box, he can tackle, he’s going to make some plays. I think he’s getting in better football shape. You can see each game he’s playing better and he’s getting healthier. You need reps to be good no matter what, and those reps are helping him.”

5. As I noted yesterday, Robert Griffin III has been flagged for intentional grounding six times in his 19 NFL starts including one in a key situation yesterday. Shanahan was asked what can be done about this tendency.

“We go over the things with Robert. If you do get put in a situation like that, and someone might miss an assignment, they may have an all-out blitz, which side do you throw it to? Do you throw it to the side with no wide receivers or the side with three wide receivers? All of a sudden, as time goes on, the process slows down a little bit, and with repetition, you get better.”


Stat of the day

—The Redskins were called for just three penalties for 29 yards against the Raiders. In their first three games they had averaged 7.7 penalties and 66 penalty yards.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 12; Bears @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Broncos 26

—Today’s schedule: Availability with assistant coaches and players 10:30; Mike Shanahan news conference follows, approx. 11:30.

“The sky is not falling”

In case you missed it

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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!