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Need to Know: Who starts--and who finishes--2015 at QB for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Who starts--and who finishes--2015 at QB for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 6, four days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

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Question of the day

Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

It’s a good time to do this since we got reports saying that Kirk Cousins will be back in 2015 and Colt McCoy will not.

But let’s take it a little farther here. Let’s look at who will be behind center in Week 1, in the middle of the season and for the season finale.

We’ll do what we did when discussing the offensive line yesterday. I have a hypothetical $100 in chips to put on each of the three milestone games we’re talking about here and I’ll put down some of them on each of the possibilities to start at QB. How would I divide up the chips? Here is how my crystal ball shows it right now.

Week 1: Robert Griffin III $85, Kirk Cousins $10, the field $5—Griffin gets the snaps with the first team in OTAs, training camp, and the preseason. It’s hard for me to see him losing the job in that period of time. But if he does look as shaky during training camp practice and as bad in the preseason as he did last year, Cousins could get the nod for the season opener.

Week 8: Griffin $60, Cousins $35, the field $5—I think Gruden will give Griffin a moderately quick hook if he is taking too many sacks and not throwing the ball in rhythm. That would give Cousins a chance to show that he has overcome his turnover issues, assuming that he displayed some improvement in camp and in the preseason. I’m more confident than not that Griffin can show enough improvement to stay behind center but it’s certainly not a slam-dunk. If both Griffin and Cousins are struggling I still that the odds are slim that the third QB, whether he’s a veteran free agent or a draft pick, would be called upon at this point.

Week 17: Griffin $45, Cousins $35, the field $20—Injuries play into this all along but they really are big here because Griffin has never played 16 games (due to injuries two seasons and being “deactivated” in 2013). At this point in the season the “field” QB could be in the lineup to see if he can be the presumptive starter in 2016. Again, I’m fairly confident that Griffin can play well enough to keep the job but at this point in the season the smart thing to do is hedge the bets.

In terms of looking at it right now, who starts the season at QB is the more important consideration. But for the long term of the franchise, who finishes this season will answer more questions.

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Timeline

—It’s been 68 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 191 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 5; Redskins offseason workouts start 45; 2015 NFL Draft 55

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

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!

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

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 at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

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!