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Will special teams doom the Redskins?

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Will special teams doom the Redskins?

As anyone who has been even a casual observer of the team this year could tell you, Redskins special teams are not very good. But are they historically bad? One analyst believes they are in the running to be the worst special teams unit ever.

Mike Tanier writes about the NFL for Sports on Earth and he is one of the authors of the annual Football Outsiders Almanac.

In a recent post Tanier states the following.
The Redskins special teams are awful. In fact, they are on pace to be the worst ever. That’s not internet hyperbole, it’s science: Football Outsiders ranks the Redskins special teams as the third worst of the last 20 years. And they’re just a few punt return touchdowns or blocked field goals away from being historically terrible.
Their sins include two blocked field goals, a blocked punt, two punts returned for touchdowns, an NFL-low average of 60.1 yards per kickoff, and a return game that is among the worst in the NFL.

Not included in the statistical mix is possibly the Redskins most embarrassing special teams moment since Jim Zorn’s Swinging Gate fake field goal. Against the Vikings, half of the team knew that punter Sav Rocca was going to throw a pass on a fake punt and the other half, including intended receiver Niles Paul, didn’t know that the fake was on. Fortunately, the whole fiasco ended before it officially started due to a pre-snap motion penalty against the Redskins.

Throw it all together and, according to Football Outsiders, you have special teams that are 14.3 percent below average compared to the rest of the league. Only the 2008 Vikings and the 2010 Chargers have been that far below average for a full season.

But the news isn’t all bleak. Tanier noted that special teams tend to improve as the season goes on. This is usually due to more attention being paid to them by the coaching staff, personnel changes and work on specific techniques (such as Kai Forbath working on the height of his field goal attempts).

Also, historically bad special teams do not necessarily doom a team to an unsuccessful season. The three worst units over a full season—the above-mentioned ’08 Vikings and ’10 Chargers plus the 1995 Eagles—were all teams with winning records on the season.

It’s not as though this Redskins team is strong enough in other areas to compensate for historically bad special teams play. But if things do get better—and we’re still waiting for our first game in the last six without a costly and/or comical special teams gaffe—perhaps the kicking game can become an asset to the Redskins. Or, perhaps, at least not a hindrance.

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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

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

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys. The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.

Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation.

The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family.

 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

RELATED: COWBOYS WR LUCKY WHITEHEAD'S DOG REPORTEDLY HELD FOR RANSOM