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No QB controversy for Cousins

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No QB controversy for Cousins

Before the contrived quarterback controversy that percolated on sports radio Monday morning gains more momentum than it deserves, lets listen to what Redskins rookie Kirk Cousins said last week about life as one of Robert Griffin IIIs reserves.

Cousins, asked how he reconciles the fact that he hopes to someday become a starting quarterback in NFL with playing behind a touted 22-year-old first rounder, said Thursday: I have the long view in mind, and Ive said it from the start: if Im someday going to be as good as I hope to be, Ill get an opportunity.

Cousins completed 18 of 23 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears second and third string defense Saturday night at Soldier Field.

Griffin, meantime, completed 5 of 8 pass attempts for 49 yards against seven-time Pro-Bowl selection Julius Peppers and the rest of Chicagos starters. Griffin was also sacked three times for minus-19 yards and lost a fumble.

If Im not good enough, then I wont, Cousins added, referring to becoming a starter, somewhere, in the future. But I shouldnt get that opportunity if Im not good enough.

So the way I see it, I need to develop day in and day out, get better and better and if, at some point, the coaches here or the coaches elsewhere feel like they see something in me that merits being a starting quarterback, Ill get that opportunity, the 24-year-old continued. But Im not going to sweat the day-to-day, what my role is. I need to have the long view in mind, and if I do that, I think good things will come.

Cousins is battling veteran Rex Grossman for the Redskins No. 2 job.

As for his relationship with Griffin, Cousins said its great.

Its been a great relationship, he said. Ive said all along that Robert is a likeable guy. Theres no reason it wouldnt be a great relationship. Neither of us are difficult people. Neither of us have difficulty relating to people. Not only would I say its been a good relationship so far, but I would say I have great expectations going forward that, as quarterbacks, well be spending a lot of time together over the next months, years, and I expect it to grow into a tight relationship.

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Need to Know: What they're saying about the Redskins righting the ship

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Need to Know: What they're saying about the Redskins righting the ship

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 22, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and Matt Cavanaugh press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 10
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 31
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 37

What they’re saying about the Redskins

Jerry Brewer, Washington Post, on Redskins building an identity

The Washington football team — your most persistent headache, the squad whose light hadn’t even flickered during the preseason and the first game — awoke Sunday with a kind of performance that can bring a team together, that can be called upon in difficult times throughout the long year.

This is a good, one paragraph summary of what we saw on Sunday in Los Angeles. It wasn’t any reason to throw a party or anything but it was a sign of life. They avoided getting crushed by fans and the media for being 0-2. At 1-1 they have life, especially with the rest of the teams in the NFC East experiencing some struggles as well.

ESPN power ranking

Washington can be a force when its rushing attack gets going. Over the past three seasons, the Redskins are 15-2-1 when rushing for at least 90 yards as a team (3-13 when they don't). The 229 rushing yards Sunday against the Rams were Washington's second most in that span.

They jumped from No. 24 to No 17 in these rankings, more of a reflection of the overreaction to the loss to the Eagles than any actual improvement in the team. I think the Redskins belong somewhere in the middle of the pack right now and that is where most have them now.

CBS power ranking

They ran all over the Rams, which is a good sign for the offense. Now they have to amp up the passing game.

This is a good point on ramping up the passing game. Even a moderately efficient performance throwing the ball would have meant a dominant win for the Redskins. They won’t be able to run for 229 yards every week and Kirk Cousins has to get it going.

MMQB, Mystery in DC

I suppose most will explain this in one of two narratives:

1. Cravens was never committed to football, and Washington needed to move on rather than letting him continue to be a distraction.

2. The bumbling Washington brain trust committed another blunder, this time blindsiding a player who was trying to right his life off the field.

The reality is probably somewhere between those two sentiments. Coaches need to know who is on their roster going forward, and the 22-year-old can use the time to chart a clear path forward. Remember, a Washington legend once took a year off because his heart wasn't in the sport.

The Cravens story remains a puzzle with many missing pieces. The key may be in the 15-minute conversation he had with Doug Williams on the sideline before the Texas-USC game the night before the Redskins played the Rams. Perhaps the talk convinced Williams that Cravens is not in the proper frame of mind to return to the team and that the additional two weeks they could have taken before putting him on the reserve/left team list would not make any difference. It seems like too much of a coincidence that two days after Cravens talks face to face with a member of the Redskins brass for the first time since he left the team a week before the season opener.

That’s just speculation but that’s all we have at the moment. By the way, the legend who once took a year off was John Riggins, although his 1980 absence was more of a contract holdout than it was his heart not being in the sports, although there was an element of the latter involved.

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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Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Some NFL players ooze confidence. They thrive on emphasizing what they do well and not speaking about weaknesses. In a game as tough and physical as pro football, some players need to feel bulletproof to survive.

Chris Thompson is not like that. He was one of the stars in the Redskins’ 27-20 win over the Rams on Sunday. He rushed three times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 29 yards. And while he enjoyed the win, he did not revel in his performance as he made a glaring mistake.

RELATED: JAY GRUDEN NOT INCREASING THOMPSON'S WORKLOAD

In the third quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw him a perfect pass over the middle. The speedy Thompson had nothing but green grass and white stripes in front of him. But he dropped the pass, turning what likely would have been a 62-yard touchdown into an incompletion.

That play stuck with him despite his touchdown runs of 61 and seven yards.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “On the plane ride, getting dressed after the game, this morning watching film, when I was outside at practice, I was thinking about that one play. My first thing I wanted to do when I got out there in individuals with the quarterbacks was to run that route again and catch the ball.”

FANTASY: TO START CHRIS THOMPSON OR NOT?

Instead of reliving his glory, he went to work to correct one mistake.

This is not a lone instance of Thompson focusing on negative plays that he made. He said that mistakes stick in his mind more than good plays. During a few minutes talking to reporters on Wednesday, he recalled going the wrong way on a choice route against the Dolphins in 2015, costing a possible touchdown, making a similar mistake against the Browns last year, and errors that led to sacks of Cousins last year and of Robert Griffin III a few years ago.

“All of those things that I look back at that I did wrong, it helped me become a better player this year,” said Thompson. “I’ve been able to go back and look at that and see what went wrong and fix it now. As of late as I’ve become more confident in what I’m doing and more confident in my abilities I’m able to play better.”

Whatever Thompson is doing to become a better player is working. He signed a two-year contract extension earlier this month. Jay Gruden sings his praises whenever he’s asked about him. His teammates almost universally admire and respect him. In his fifth NFL season, many analysts around the league are starting to recognize him as a main cog in the Redskins’ offense.

It is unlikely that he will change his approach.

“I had to mess up a lot in order to get where I am now,” he said. Thompson will continue to perfect his game by putting his imperfect moments under the microscope. 

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE UNDER PRESSURE VS. RAIDERS