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The Tuesday Take: Best Ever at FedEx?

The Tuesday Take: Best Ever at FedEx?

Believe it or not, the Redskins are playing their tenth season at FedEx Field. Thats hardly a long and storied history, especially given the teams relative lack of success since theyve set up shop in Landover. They are 42-31-1 there, not exactly a staggering home field advantage.

After Sunday, however, the massive building now has one element that it has been lacking since its inception, a memorable game. In fact, one could argue that this was the best game ever played at FedEx Field (previously known as Jack Kent Cooke Stadium and, briefly in 1999, as Redskins Stadium).

There are a few other serious contenders for best ever in that building. In 1999 the Redskins rallied from a 21-point first-quarter deficit and beat the Carolina Panthers 38-36 on a last-minute Brett Conway field goal in what was an exciting, well-played affair. The first game ever at the stadium saw the Redskins win 19-13 in overtime, but that win came against a bad Cardinals team. Their first win after starting 0-5 under Marty Schottenheimer came with a thrilling comeback in the late going, highlighted by LaVar Arringtons interception return for a touchdown that saved the season. However, that was a tedious affair for the first 50 minutes or so. Last years overtime win over Seattle was entertaining and considering where the Seahawks wound up the season it was rather impressive as well.

Still, this one had all of the elements you could want in a football game. There were two quality teams on the field and each of them seemed to have control of the game at various times. We had a go-ahead and then a tying field goal in the last two minutes of regulation. It was cleanly played with just eight penalties being called on the two teams combined. Turnovers were a bit high at two per team, but the play didnt get near the point of being sloppy. There were plays that would have been Sports Center highlight leads on their own had they not been overshadowed by other, even more spectacular plays. Santana Moss spin move on his first touchdown looked like something that only could be executed on a PlayStation 2, not on the field of play. Maurice Jones-Drew displayed a scary burst of speed on his touchdown catch and run. And have you ever seen a receiver lose his helmet on a hit but hang on to the ball for a touchdown as Reggie Williams did in the fourth quarter? To top it off, a walk-off 68-yard touchdown play is more fun and exciting way to end an overtime than is a chippie field goal.

And, perhaps most importantly, the home team won.

Giant receivers

The New York Giants seem to be in a bit of disarray at the moment. They went into their bye week after getting spanked by Seattle in a 42-30 rout that was not nearly as close as the final score might indicate. After the game, in a statement he has since apologized for, tight end Jeremy Shockey said that the Giants were outplayed and outcoached. Thats not a very settling tone on which to enter your bye.

New York has the third-ranked offense in the league in terms of yards per game and one matchup that they have to like this Sunday is their crew of big, physical receivers going up against a Washington secondary that has been under assault, literally and figuratively, all year long.

Amani Toomer, at 6-3, has been a thorn in the side of the Redskins for years and at 6-5 Plaxico Burress gives Eli Manning a huge target to throw to. Add in Shockey at 6-5 and you have quite a towering set of pass catchers.

Washington is 24th in the league in pass defense. The beleaguered secondary has allowed both big plays and little ones to the likes of Marcus Robinson, Andre Johnson, Terry Glenn, and Reggie Williams. Its been the Achilles heel in the defense, no question about it.

Shawn Springs is unlikely to return from his groin injury on Sunday so there will be no help coming from the return of one of their best players. After getting burned by the likes of the 6-4 Reggie Williams and, to a lesser extent, the 6-4 Ernest Wilford, dealing with New Yorks giant receivers are not a group to get well against.

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Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

If you took 100 random NFL fans and asked them to name the best player in the league, there's a very strong chance none of the 100 would say Trent Williams, the Redskins left tackle who clears paths like a snowplow. But according to an in-depth ranking system published a few weeks ago from Bleacher Report, Williams is in fact the correct answer.

The system, called NFL1000, is supposed to "bring exposure" to players who aren't as appreciated as they should be, and in the eyes of the analysts who built the rankings, no one should be appreciated more than Williams, who beat out Tyron Smith and Aaron Rodgers for the top spot. But that's still not the peak of his performance, the lineman says.

No. 71 apparently just got a hold of the NFL1000 list, and in a Wednesday Instagram post that featured it, he said his "best is yet to be seen." Sorry, opposing pass rushers.

In addition to that accolade from Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus chose Williams as their highest-rated offensive lineman, and the Professional Football Writers of America assigned him to their All-NFC team. It wasn't a perfect year for the Pro Bowler, however, as he was suspended for four games during a critical stretch in the season's second half (the Redskins were 2-2 without him).

Nevertheless, because an offensive lineman is often doing his job best when you aren't hearing his name called, it can be easy to take someone like Williams for granted. These types of awards, though, show the 28-year-old's value — value that he says will continue to climb in 2017. 

MORE REDSKINS: SETTING THE ODDS ON WHAT THE 'SKINS WILL DO WITH COUSINS

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
—NFL franchise tag deadline 42
—NFL free agency starts 50
—First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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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.