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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Seahawks

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Seahawks

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 3, two days before the Washington Redskins go to Seattle to play the Seahawks.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:20 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference, open locker room after practice, approx. 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 9
—Redskins @ Saints (11/9) 16
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 20

UPDATE Key injury update
Out:
OT Williams (knee), G Lauvao (stinger), G Scherff (knee), C Long (knees), WR Crowder (hamstring), TE Reed (hamstring)
Limited: G Scherff (knee), RB Kelley (ankle), CB Breeland (knee, groin)
The big change here is the upgrade of Scherff from out to limited. Although he didn’t do anything beyond individual drills (and he didn’t do much then), the fact that he was able to get out there and move is a good sign for Sunday. That doesn’t mean he’s definitely in but it’s a step in the right direction.  

Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Seahawks

QB Kirk Cousins—With the offensive line likely to be hurting still, Cousins will have to provide the team with a lift. The Redskins’ running game is still a mess with the line likely missing three starters and top running back Rob Kelley still dealing with an ankle injury, according to Jay Gruden. Cousins likely will need to pass for 300 yards or more if the Redskins are going to pull off the upset.

RB Chris Thompson—I usually have an offensive skill player who hasn’t been productive in this spot. But at this point in the season, unless and until a receiver or another running back breaks out, the pressure has to go on Thompson to continue to produce both on the ground and catching passes.

C Chase Roullier—This is a heck of a spot for a rookie sixth-round pick. But he is the backup center and with the starter likely to be out, it will be up to Roullier to get the protections communicated up and down the line in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. Roullier is likely to get some help from Cousins and the moment will not be too big for him. Still, it’s a tall order.

ILB Zach Brown—It’s not fair to say that the Seahawks are a one-man team but it is safe to say that they go as Russell Wilson goes. If the Redskins are going to contain Wilson, the team’s second-leading rusher, Brown is the player in the front seven who has the speed and the sure tackling ability to do that. Greg Manusky indicated that the Redskins will occasionally use a spy to try to contain Wilson and Brown seems to be the likely candidate for that job.

CB Josh Norman—Actually, I could put either Bashaud Breeland (assuming he plays) or Kendall Fuller here as well. The Seahawks have a very good trio of wide receivers with Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson on the outside and Tyler Lockett in the slot. When the Redskins are in man coverage, the corners have to stay with their receivers while Wilson scrambles and buys time. They also need to be sure they are aware when Wilson takes off and crosses the line of scrimmage so they can help bring him down. There will be a lot of stress on the cornerback position and Norman will need to shine.  

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.

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In case you missed it

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.