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Redskins' Cousins passing more often and more effectively on first down

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Redskins' Cousins passing more often and more effectively on first down

Kirk Cousins is having his issues this season but passing on first down is not one of them. Passing on third down, however, has been an issue.

The Redskins have run 85 offensive plays on first down this year (stats via Pro Football Reference) and Cousins has passed on 50 of them. Last year through three games Washington had 87 total first-down snaps and Cousins passed 40 times.

In this case, more is better. Here is a comparison of Cousins’ first-down passing results between this year and Weeks 1-3 last year.

If you want a sign that Jay Gruden and Sean McVay are getting more pass happy, this is it, albeit in a small sample size. But if you are going to gain 9.2 yards per pass attempt on first downs, why not try it more often? The Redskins are averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per first-down rushing attempt so running isn’t futile but if you can gain more than twice as much, passing nearly 60 percent of the time is not a bad option.

However, Cousins and the Redskins aren’t getting it done on third down. Cousins’ third-down passer rating this year is 72.5 compared to 84.9 through three games in 2015. That’s a major reason why the Redskins’ third-down conversion rate is 39.5 percent, 17th in the NFL. For the 2015 season they ranked fifth at 43.5 percent.

The Redskins should think twice before changing their approach. They are averaging 6.5 yards to go on third down; the league average is 7.3. Cousins and company are in a position to succeed; they just need to execute a little better.

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Terrelle Pryor issues polite but firm request to Rams safety to avoid hitting knees

Terrelle Pryor issues polite but firm request to Rams safety to avoid hitting knees

Football players prefer to regulate their sport without fines and penalties, and in 2017, social media can be a platform for any and all declarations.

After Terrelle Pryor took a direct hit to his right knee in the Redskins win over the Rams, the receiver reached out to L.A. safety Cody Davis via Twitter with a polite, but firm, message. 

RELATED: WEEK 2 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Standing 6'6", Pryor is one of the tallest receivers in the league. It makes sense he doesn't like getting hit in the knees, as any skilly player doesn't, but particularly with the increased height that could mean more safeties are coming in low on him.

Through two games Pryor has eight catches for 97 yards. The season hasn't started particularly strong for Pryor, though the 6-foot-5, 240 lb. wideout remains confident that his production will increase. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden did not go as far as Pryor, but does believe his team's pass game is "very close" to firing on all cylinders. QB Kirk Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards last season, but through two games this year, his statistics have been subpar. 

To beat the undefeated Raiders, the Redskins will need a dominant performance from Pryor. He sounds like he's up for the job.

 Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Early NFC East picture, Cravens fallout and setting over/unders vs. Raiders

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Early NFC East picture, Cravens fallout and setting over/unders vs. Raiders

JP Finlay and Rich Tandler put a bow on the trip to Los Angeles, then look at the early NFC East picture, talk adjustments post-Su'a Cravens and set over/unders vs. Oakland.

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!