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Patience

Patience

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

It’s situation normal among the Redskins faithful, which means a state of near hysterical overreaction. The complainers are saying that coaches, including Joe Gibbs, need to be fired and that players such as Robert Royal should be cut immediately. The lack of a first-round pick to tank games for is a particular irritant to many. The franchise is doomed, doomed. A period of incompetence of Cardinal-like proportions is inevitable. Those who don’t normally complain are, of course, complaining about the complainers.

That’s what three straight close, gut-wrenching losses will do to the high-strung Redskins Nation. Patience is not a virtue under such dire circumstances. Punishment for those deemed responsible for the losses must be swift and extreme.

Patience, of course, is exactly what’s called for here.

Progress is being made. Let’s take a walk down memory lane all the way back to 2004. After 11 games, the Redskins were 3-8. They were coming off of a three-game losing streak. The losses were to Cincinnati at home by 17-10 and to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the road by 28-6 and 16-7 respectively. None of those games were as close as the final score indicated.

In fact, there is this mythology floating around that the Redskins lost close ones last year, they are losing them this year, ergo there has been no progress. That’s just silly. It is true that seven of their 10 losses last year were by seven points or less. However, you can’t tell me that the Giants game at the Meadowlands, a six-point loss, was the same as yesterday’s game, also a six-point loss. They lost to Dallas by three at home but in the end it would have taken a miracle for them to win. It would have taken just a few first downs for them to beat Oakland in that three-point defeat.

Of those seven “close” losses, only two were truly competitive at the end. Only in those last two close losses, vs. Philadelphia at FedEx and at Dallas, did the Redskins have either a possession deep in the opponents’ territory with a chance to win in the late going (as they did against the Eagles) or a late lead that was snatched away (as was the case in Texas Stadium).

OK, losses are losses and it’s not a great situation if you have to compare the quality of one variety of loss to another. So let’s talk wins. The Redskins have won four close games this year. It’s not unreasonable to predict that, given their upcoming schedule, the Redskins will improve their win total from last year by at least two games, perhaps even three. That’s progress in wins as well as in the “quality” of the losses.

The point here is not to say that being critical of the performance of players or questioning the plays called by a coach, even those of Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, is out of line. It is done in this space on a regular basis. What the doubters need to keep in mind, however, is that Gibbs is constantly evolving. He’s not going to huff, “What we do works!” and that is that. He will examine the way he is doing things and if it’s not working he will change it. If a particular player isn’t producing, Gibbs will put him in situations where he can be successful.

Those who would cut multiple players and/or fire coaches need to learn the virtues of sticking to a plan. Suppose your lawn was a mess and you worked on it and worked on it until it looked pretty good except for this one patch of crabgrass that just wouldn’t go away. Would you bring in a bulldozer and dig up the whole yard to try to get rid of the one problem area? Or do you stick with what you’ve been doing and, since it’s gotten you this far, have confidence that it will be able to take you the rest of way?

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Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

MOBILE – Jay Gruden provided a glimmer of optimism for Redskins fans freaked out about Kirk Cousins' contract situation. 

"I totally anticipate him coming back to the Washington Redskins," Gruden said. 

The Redskins coach talked from the sidelines of the Senior Bowl where he and much of the team's staff were scouting college seniors. 

Gruden explained he had texted back and forth with Cousins a few times this offseason and looked forward to watching him play in the Pro Bowl. 

Since Gruden named Cousins starter in 2015, the quarterback had passed for more than 9,000 yards and twice broken Skins franchise passing records. 

Some indications of a long term deal for Cousins land in the $120 million range, but the Washington organization also has the flexibility to use the franchise tag this season at a cost of nearly $24 million. 

MORE REDSKINS: Who else might want to trade for Cousins?

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst 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, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

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!