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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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Report: Redskins to interview former Raiders defensive coordinator

Report: Redskins to interview former Raiders defensive coordinator

The Redskins have set up another interview with a candidate to fill their vacant defensive coordinator position.

According to the Washington Post, Jason Tarver, the defensive coordinator of the Raiders from 2012-2014, will meet with the organization. The date of the interview is not known.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

Before joining the Raiders, Tarver coached in college for five years before the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. He worked his way up to become the outside linebackers coach, a position he held from 2005-2010. Scot McCloughan was the GM of the 49ers while Tarver was coaching there.

After a year as a defensive coordinator in the college ranks at Stanford, Tarver was hired as the Raiders’ defensive coordinator. He was a defensive assistant for the 2015 49ers and he was out of football last season.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

The Redskins have announced interviews with former Browns head coach Mike Pettine and ex-Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. It was reported earlier today that they also will meet with Rob Ryan, most recently the Bills’ defensive coordinator.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Plenty of Redskins fans wanted the team to interview Rex Ryan for defensive coordinator.

Well, a report shows they aren't talking to Rex, but instead, his brother Rob, according to Albert Breer of MMQB

Rex Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is very impressive.

Rob Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is, uh, less impressive. 

In 12 seasons as a coordinator, first in Oakland and then with Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans, Rob Ryan has two Top 5 finishes in yards allowed. He also has finished 31st out of 32 teams in the league in yards allowed three times.

Below is a chart from Pro Football Reference showing his defensive ranks from 2004 when he became coordinator in Oakland all the way through his last job as a coordinator in New Orleans in 2015.

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The results aren't pretty.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

It should be noted that in 2016, Rob Ryan served as assistant head coach in Buffalo on his brother Rex's staff.

That team's defense finished 19th in yards allowed. 

Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine have interviewed with the Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator opening.

Washington is also reported to have reached out to Wade Phillips, who took the same position with the Rams, and Steve Wilks, who took the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Internally, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky also seems to be under some consideration for the position, and a report last week linked former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula with the Washington defense.

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