Quick Links

True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

Some context: Last year, Kirk Cousins fell 83 yards short of putting up the tenth 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history. He has another year of experience under his belt, but he also lost two of his favorite receiving targets in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.

True or false: Kirk Cousins will pass for over 5,000 yards in 2017.

Rich Tandler: False

My gut instinct was to go with “true” here. I think that Cousins is highly capable of passing for 312.5 yards per game, the number needed over 16 games to get to 5,000 for the year.

The missing receivers will be an obstacle, but not one that is insurmountable. Terrelle Pryor can compile something near Garçon’s 1,041 yards. Josh Doctson isn’t the deep threat that Jackson is, of course, but he can get 700 yards and Jamison Crowder can make up the difference. Good quarterbacks make receivers productive and Cousins can do that.

RELATED: ONE SCENARIO WHERE SUDFELD WOULD TAKE OVER FOR COUSINS

But while I think Cousins can be efficient when he does pass, I don’t think he will pass as often. He threw 606 times last year, breaking his own team record by almost four passes per game. Meanwhile, the Redskins had the fourth-most efficient rushing game in the league last year but they ran the ball only 379 times, 27th in the NFL.

Armed with Rob Kelley with a season under his belt, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine, and versatile third-down back Chris Thompson, I think that Jay Gruden will look at the big picture and believe that he can get better results with more running and less passing.

I don’t think that there will be a drastic switch in the offensive philosophy, just enough to bring Cousins’ pass attempts down closer to where they were in 2015. If he throws 550 times he would have to average nine yards per pass to get to 5K in the air. He’s good, but that’s Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino territory and I don’t see him getting there.

JP Finlay: False.

Agreeing with Tandler here. Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about how much he likes Rob Kelley and how the Redskins need to have more balance in their offensive attack.

In three years with Gruden as head coach in Washington, Redskins quarterbacks have thrown the ball 547, 555 and 607 times. That progression occured as former offensive coordinator Sean McVay took over play calling and Kirk Cousins' ascended to the top QB spot. Last season's 607 passes is likely too much, and Gruden will probably work to get that total back around the 550 mark.

MORE: WHICH DEFENDERS WILL BE CORE PLAYERS IN 2020?

Cousins will have another productive year, but I think 4,500 yards will be the path to wins. Last season, Cousins padded some stats in hollow losses. No game stands out more than a Monday night loss to the Panthers. In that game, Cousins threw the ball nearly 50 times and piled up 315 yards. He also threw one interception and no touchdowns. The Redskins lost 26-15, and while the run game was wholly ineffective, the entire offense was shut down by the Carolina defense. 

Gruden wants balance. The Redskins will never be a true 50/50 run/pass split, but expect to see less games with Cousins throwing around 50 times.

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.

Quick Links

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

Quick Links

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back