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1,000 Snaps

1,000 Snaps

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at

So what’s wrong with the Redskins?

Continuity or, more specifically, the lack thereof.

I’m sure that most of you reading this are well aware of the revolving door of head coaches, coordinators, and players that have gone into and out of Redskins Park since 1999. There’s no need to recount the four head coaches (I don’t count Robiskie, he was an interim), the six defensive coordinators, the six starting quarterbacks, and so on.

To be sure, some changing was needed. The Turner era was one of remarkable stability that got the team a total of one playoff appearance in seven seasons. Stable mediocrity is not what Redskins fans expect.

At the time, it was not hard to justify—or rationalize, at least--throwing Marty overboard when Spurrier became available. He was the next great NFL coach in the eyes of many, not all of them named Daniel Snyder.

Of course, the change to Gibbs was a gift from the gods. But, still, it was a change. And it meant adjustments and relearning. The addition of Clinton Portis appears to have been a good one, but he has to get used to his blockers, they have to get used to him, the coaches have to figure out how to use him. The members of that line, with a new center and the need to replace Jon Jansen at right tackle, have to get used to each other. Tight ends and H-backs are learning new roles.

To be sure, the defense is playing at a high level of effectiveness and they have a whole new coaching staff, new faces, and injuries as well. But at the risk of oversimplifying, playing defense is much more instinctive than playing offense. Even after a subpar half yesterday, the unit should still be ranked first or second in the NFL and that is much to Gregg Williams' credit, especially since he hasn’t had all three of his starting linebackers on the field at all this year.

And now, there’s a new starting quarterback. Fortunately, most of the receiving corps has played with Ramsey and should be able to adjust to the harder-thrown, right-handed passes he’ll be dealing out (this is pending Gibbs’ formal announcement of Ramsey as the new starter at his 6:00 presser, but it appears to be just that, a formality). Still, it’s another change in the system and another setback.

The old rule of thumb is that an offense needs to run 1,000 snaps—real, live, game action snaps, not practice or even preseason--together before it’s going to reach its maximum effectiveness. Without going back and adding them up, I’d say that the Redskins have run about 600 snaps this year. Each change in the offense doesn’t necessarily reset the count to zero—you have to deal with injuries and benchings—but a major change like one at quarterback certainly needs at least two or three game’s worth of snaps to recoup.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market


As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

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: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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