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For Kirk Cousins, and maybe Redskins fans, it's time to trust the process

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USA Today Sports

For Kirk Cousins, and maybe Redskins fans, it's time to trust the process

To many fans, the Redskins displayed a level of heart and tenacity in last Sunday's come-from-behind win in Seattle that the team lacked last season. 

For Kirk Cousins, however, the process outweighed the outcome. And not in the plus column. 

"I’ve learned to ignore outcomes at times, I’ve learned to ignore the noise on the outside and just focus on the process. And I’ll be the first one to say that the process against Seattle by no means was perfect," Cousins said Wednesday. "I felt like there were a lot of mistakes. Maybe it never had to come down to a two-minute drill if we had been better through the first three-and-a-half quarters."

Usually insightful, Cousins answered the question with forthright introspection. Earlier this year, Cousins said that he was not searching for signature wins, rather a signature season. Asked after the Seahawks game if the victory carried more importance, if for nothing else than to keep the Redskins in the playoff hunt, he talked about the process compared to the outcome. 

And he explained that outcomes don't always portray performance, particularly in his position. 

"I think this is a great case study in the way that the outside thinks versus the way that I think. And I totally understand from covering the team, fan base perspective, the emotional rollercoaster, I understand that a two-minute drill on the road against a good football team, finding a way to win, it’s exciting and it’s fun and it gets the juices going," Cousins said. "I’m a little bit more process-oriented and there have been games where I’ve thrown for a lot of yards and felt like I played nearly flawlessly but we lost."

It's an interesting paradox for Cousins, and likely for quarterbacks all over the league. 

Much like starting pitchers in baseball, QBs often get assigned the blame for a loss or the credit for a win. In Cousins' situation, it seems like that happens on an accelerated scale. 

And it sounds like he's cognizant of that.

"I walk away saying, ‘I’m getting better, I’m doing really good things, I’m about the process, and my process was really good today. I can’t control the outcome but the process was really good.’ But the noise on the outside is, ‘He’s got to get better, he’s not doing enough, we didn’t come away with the win.’"

That's why Cousins ignores the outside noise.

Does that mean he ignores the meaning in the come-from-behind win in Seattle? Not exactly. 

"Was it a great finish? Yes. Did we show a lot of character? Yes. Did I love the resiliency? Is that a game I’ll remember? Yes. But, I don’t like to get too outcome-focused."

Listening to Cousins, it sounds like focusing on outcomes, instead of the process, could allow for complacency to set in. Particularly after a big win on the road. 

"I feel, on the outside, I feel that happening after this game and that’s OK, on the outside. My concern is in the locker room, in our organization, making sure that we don’t allow that to creep in."

Cousins' comments come with some element of surprise. Few NFL players give that honest, that open of an answer, especially following a major win.

Many players would relish in the positive attention a game like the Redskins played in Seattle creates. Fans love it. Media members report on the highlights, and the excitement, from such a victory. 

None of that is wrong either.

Players should be allowed to enjoy themselves. Fans should absolutely enjoy themselves. The media's job is to report on what happens, and when that's a wild, comeback win, the story is more fun to report. 

For Cousins, though, it's clear he wasn't thrilled with his play in Seattle.

He completed 21 of 31 passes for 247 yards. He got sacked a number of times, and was hit consistently throughout the game, playing behind a patchwork offensive line. 

The most memorable of those 21 passes, by a large margin, came in the final two minutes, when the Redskins quarterback drove the team 70 yards in less than a minute, and engineered the game winning touchdown. 

The good news for Redskins fans?

Despite the late heroics, Cousins isn't happy.

He liked the outcome, obviously, but not the process. 

That process - that mindset - will drive the Redskins' passer to better performances. 

For Kirk Cousins, and maybe Redskins fans, it's time to trust the process. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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