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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster bubble ready to pop for many

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster bubble ready to pop for many

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 28, six days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day, no availability

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 231 days ago. It will be 15 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 21; Browns @ Redskins 35; Redskins @ Ravens 42

The Redskins week that was

NTK: A look at five Redskins on the roster bubble—This was written prior to the game on Friday and before the Redskins made their first 10 cuts on Saturday. And all five remain squarely on the bubble. Perhaps one, OLB Houston Bates, can breathe easier now because one player thought to be among his main competition at his position, Willie Jefferson, got cut. But the rest are still sweating it out and probably will keep doing so until the final 53 is settled next weekend.

Should Redskins look, what's available in trade market for RB?—This was before Keith Marshall suffered a sprained elbow against the Bills. We’re still not sure how serious that injury is or if Marshall was going to make the team even if he didn’t get hurt in light of how well Robert Kelley played. In any case there has been zero trade talk when it comes to running backs. If the Redskins are going to acquire an additional back it looks like they might wait until teams start making cuts and bolster their running back corps.

Gruden makes late decision to sit Cousins, other starters—This is from after the Jets game but it's still relevant because of how Cousins and the offense looked out of sync in the early going against the Bills. Did the decision to sit Cousins and other key starters on both sides of the ball leave them rusty? And, perhaps more importantly, is 54 snaps of action in the preseason enough for Cousins, commencing his second year as a full-time starter, to get ready for the season?

Projecting the Redskins roster: First cuts approaching—I’m happy to say that none of the final 53 I picked for this article got the ax on Saturday. It’s never easy to do this but there probably are more bubble players this year than there have been in recent years. The most difficult issues this year were fitting CB Greg Toler onto the roster and figuring out just where to count Su’a Cravens. Still, I'm pretty confident that I'll hit on 50 of the 53.

NTK: 5 things we've learned about the Redskins so far—I’m most confident about what I said about DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman here. I think they both will have big seasons.

Tandler on Twitter

The news that the Redskins are likely to face Dak Prescott when the Cowboys come to town in Week 2 brought up this discussion of the Redskins' record against rookie QBs. Here's the link if you want to see details of the Redskins vs. rookie QBs since 2010.

In case you missed it 

 

 

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!