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Need to Know: The Redskins get back to work

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Need to Know: The Redskins get back to work

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 7, six days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins get back to work in Ashburn today with a 1 p.m. practice. Here are five things I’ll be keeping an eye on this week at the team gets ready to head to Dallas.

The release of John Potter a week ago indicates that there is a high degree of confidence that Kai Forbath is recovered from his groin injury and he should be good to go. Potter wasn’t awful filling in, hitting three of four field goal attempts and having the fourth-best net kickoff average in the NFL. But Potter isn’t the guy you want looking over a 48-yard game-winning field goal try. That’s Forbath and he’ll be back.

Two other players, both rookies, were inactive due to injuries against the Raiders, tight end Jordan Reed (thigh) and linebacker Brandon Jenkins (ankle). Reed’s return is more important; he is the team’s fourth leading receiver and the Redskins are going to need all of the offensive weapons they can muster if they are going to beat the Cowboys. With Rob Jackson back from suspension, Jenkins will have to battle with Darryl Tapp from week to week to be on the active list even if he is healthy.

Speaking of Reed, we should find out more about the status of Fred Davis. In the last three games he played a total of 22 snaps while being inactive with an ankle injury in one of them. When he played only six snaps against the Raiders there were a lot of questions about whether or not he was in Mike Shanahan’s doghouse. Although Shanahan said that Davis was still hobbled with the ankle injury the situation bears watching.

As noted, outside linebacker Rob Jackson is back from suspension. He started 14 games after Brian Orakpo was injured last year and although he wasn’t a consistent force he did make some key plays including a game-saving interception in the season finale against the Cowboys. With Orakpo healthy, it remains to be seen just what Jackson’s role will be.

Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins also returns from suspension. Jim Haslett said that Jenkins “is our starter” so look for him to be in there at the beginning of the Dallas game although it is likely that Kedric Golston will spell him frequently as he gets into game shape. Jenkins’ presence improves depth and he will help against the run.

Stat of the day

—The Redskins have 16 first downs rushing, putting them on pace to have 64 on the year. Last year they got 144 first downs on the ground

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 6; Bears @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Broncos 20

—Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Players available briefly coming off of the field after practice (approx. 2:30 p.m.)

In case you missed it

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

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. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

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Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all 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!

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

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!