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State of the Redskins, Week 9: Getting healthy

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State of the Redskins, Week 9: Getting healthy

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 9 of the NFL season.

Record: 3-4, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 3-2
vs. AFC: 0-2
Home: 3-1
Away: 0-3

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 340.3 (25th)
Defense (yards/game): 360.4 (17th)
Passer rating offense: 84.7 (21st)
Opp passer rating: 97.9 (24th )
Yards/rush attempt: 3.7 (28th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.9 (30th)
DVOA through Week 8 (Football Outsiders): -5.6% (18th)

Top three storylines:

Returning to health—It looks like wide receiver DeSean Jackson will be back for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, although we still have to see how much he can participate in practice this week. Cornerbacks Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall appeared on the field this week for the first time in a while. Center Kory Lichtensteiger was wearing a helmet during Monday’s workout for the first time in a couple of weeks. It’s unlikely that they will go into New England at full strength but they should be there at some point later this month.

Tall tasks ahead—This team has struggled on the road and they have two road games with undefeated teams coming up in the next three weeks. The Patriots are dominating while the Panthers are just getting by. The odds are very much against the Redskins winning either game but how resilient they are will tell us a lot about how they may do the rest of the season.

Get a running back going—Jay Gruden said that both Matt Jones and Alfred Morris would get touches. But he has to find a hot hand to get a rushing attack that is now ranked 30th in the NFL in terms of average yards per carry going.

Next three games

Sunday @ Patriots (7-0)—It’s no insult to Gruden or Kirk Cousins to say that this one is a big mismatch at both head coach and quarterback with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on the other side.

November 15 vs. Saints (4-4)—The Saints look a whole lot better than they did a few weeks ago, after they handed the Falcons their first loss and then moved the ball at will against the Giants as Drew Brees threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes. Historically they are a different team playing outdoors on grass; we will see.

November 22 @ Panthers (7-0)—They lost a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to the struggling Colts so the strength of their vaunted defense has to be questioned. But Cam Newton seems to be able to move the chains whenever he really needs to and that has helped to keep them spotless in the loss column.

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

RELATED: PRESTON SMITH ENTERING VITAL YEAR

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

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.