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Need to Know: Third-quarter turnovers have been a problem for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Third-quarter turnovers have been a problem for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 6, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five numbers you need to know for Redskins vs. Cowboys

8—The number of third-quarter turnovers committed by the Redskins this year. They are the nexus of the third-quarter problems the Redskins have suffered from this year; opponents have scored after all eight of the takeaways (6 TD, 2 FG, 48 points).

7—The number of touchdowns on third down the Redskins have scored through 11 games this year. In 2014 they scored just three third-down touchdowns all year. For comparison, the Redskins scored 14 touchdowns on third down in 2012, the last time they made the playoffs. This year, the Cardinals lead the league in third-down touchdowns with 11.

111.5—Kirk Cousin’s passer rating over the last five games. He has completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 1,367 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

2.6—Cousins’ interception percentage for the season. That’s 15th best among qualifying quarterbacks in the NFL and just above the league average of 2.4 percent.

1—The number of fumbles recovered by the Cowboys this year, the fewest in the NFL. They have forced only five fumbles this season.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Bears 7; Bills @ Redskins 14

In case you missed it

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line, and tight ends, under the microscope. Today the focus turns to quarterback.

2016 final game starter: Kirk Cousins

Has started all 32 games in two seasons since he was named the starter. Cousins played every offensive snap last year.

Departures: None

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starter: Cousins

Trade talk that was all over the place in February and early March is all but gone. It appears that Cousins will be the starter for 2017. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

2017 reserves: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

For a while in 2014, McCoy was ahead of Cousins on Jay Gruden’s depth chart, starting three games over a healthy Cousins. McCoy is under contract through 2018 and it will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at starting if Cousins leaves as a free agent. But for 2017 McCoy will continue his role as an insurance policy.

Sudfeld will find out a lot more about his future in burgundy and gold in the next several days. Former general manager Scot McCloughan was very high on Sudfeld’s potential as a future starter. If others in the building were as convinced as McCloughan was they likely will bypass the position in the draft. Taking a QB, especially somewhere in rounds three or four, would be a sign that they don’t like Sudfeld nearly as much as McCloughan did.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often  

Where can the quarterback position find improvement?

Cousins had another big statistical year, breaking his own team record by passing for nearly 5,000 yards. But he can improve in the red zone, where his completion rate plummeted to 47.5 percent after completing 64.1 percent in 2015. Cousins also saw his third-down completion percentage drop from 69.2 percent in 2015 to 61 percent last year. Not surprisingly, the offense struggled in both areas.   

Locks and bubble players

If no quarterback is drafted all three are locks. If one is taken, Sudfeld should start looking at how he can break his lease.  

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

How plausible is a draft day trade? Could the Redskins move up? And what to do about all those 'diluted samples'? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler break it all down.

<<<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!