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Need to Know: Redskins' QB Cousins recognizes value of continuity

Need to Know: Redskins' QB Cousins recognizes value of continuity

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 16, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 8; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 16

Injuries of note:
Out:
LB Compton (knee), LB Cravens (elbow)
Limited: G Lauvao (groin), C Long (concussion), OT Nsekhe (ankle), TE Reed (shoulder), S Blackmon (concussion)
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

Did Kirk Cousins leave a strong hint that he wants to be back in Washington in 2017 and beyond? He was asked whether the possibility of Chris Thompson taking a knee instead of continuing into the end zone on his go-ahead 25-yard touchdown run just after the two-minute warning had been discussed prior to the play. The fifth-year veteran said no, but the interesting part came near the end of his answer.

“The longer we play together as a unit – and when I’m talking about we, I mean  from Jay [Gruden] to Sean [McVay] to myself to Chris Thompson to Trent Williams to Pierre [Garçon] – the longer we play together, the more you can become situational masters and be very good in situational football like that situation at the end of the game, where we all know, ‘We’ve been here before, hey, let’s handle this the best way possible and be a mature football team,’” said Cousins.

The appeal of playing on a "mature" football team is one reason why good quarterbacks rarely change teams. They get into a system with a coach and a group of receivers and other players and have success. When it comes time to gn a new contract he weighs the risk of starting all over again with a new coach, a new system and different players against the attraction of possibly making a few more dollars. Of course, that’s really a few million dollars and the quarterback’s current team has to make a competitive offer. But quality quarterbacks are rarely lured away.

In fact, by one definition they are never lured away. No quarterback who has passed for 4,000 yards in at least two consecutive seasons has never changed teams the next year (stats via Pro Football Reference). Cousins has now surpassed 4,000 yards passing for the second straight year.

There’s a first time for everything and the past does not necessarily guarantee the future. Just because Cousins pointed out an advantage to staying put doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be back. But they are part of the tea leaves pointing to the probability of a Cousins return to Washington in 2017.

The Redskins can force a return by using the franchise tag on him for a second season. That would cost them just under $24 million for the season but with the salary cap slated to rise some $10 million-$15 million next year they will be able to handle that.

The better solution would be to sign him to a long-term deal. They can’t even start to negotiate such a contract until the Redskins play their last game so it’s difficult to assess the chances of Cousins and the team coming to an agreement. But if Cousins sees a lot of advantages to staying put and continuing what he has had going with the Redskins the chances are considerably better.

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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.

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

More Redskins

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