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Need to Know: What they're saying about the Redskins—More overreaction?

Need to Know: What they're saying about the Redskins—More overreaction?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 1, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Team travels to Kansas City; no media availability  

Days until:

—49ers @ Redskins (10/15) 14
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 22
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 28

What they’re saying about the Redskins

Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

That Washington could beat a Raiders team that was a three-point favorite always was a possibility, especially on an NFL Sunday full of upsets and near-upsets. But the magnitude of the beatdown was stunning and a jubilant shock to even the most optimistic Washington fans. We’re left to ask, grinning for the moment, ‘Where has this team been? And will it be returning on a weekly basis?’

Those last two questions are what everyone is trying to figure out this week. The win over Oakland will mean that much more if it turns out to be a springboard to a string of similar performances instead of a blip on the radar. But we won’t know until they get out on the field.

Max Meyer SI.com

Chris Thompson was mostly known for his pass-catching prowess out of the backfield heading into the season. The fourth-year tailback has taken it to a whole other level, and his breakout campaign won’t go unnoticed any longer after a sensational performance Sunday night in D.C. Thompson scored the game’s first touchdown, a 22-yard trip to pay dirt when he was uncovered on a flare route. He also had the contest’s biggest play and ultimate dagger: With the Raiders fresh off a touchdown drive and the Redskins facing a third-and-19, Thompson turned a screen into a 74-yard scamper. 

Thompson is getting some well-deserved recognition. Later in this post, the writer says that Thompson should get more touches. Anyone who listens to Jay Gruden knows that is not happening. This team went through too many years of trying to get Thompson healthy. He already plays more snaps than any running back and Gruden knows the team needs him on the field.

NFL.com power ranking

The most impressive win of the 2017 season. That's what you can call the Redskins' complete decimation of the Raiders on Sunday night -- even more so than the Chiefs upending the Patriots on opening night. The only game in franchise history in which I remember Washington being quite this dominant was a playoff win over the Rams way back in 1983 (51-7, Riggins and the Hogs). Not sure I've ever seen the Redskins' defense play at quite that fever pitch.

When we did this look at what they were saying about the Redskins after Week 1 I wrote about the overreaction to the loss to the Eagles, with sites dropping them down into the 20’s in power ranking. I think we’re seeing the opposite effect here as NFL.com moved the Redskins up 11 spots to No. 7. I’m not into doing power rankings but if I was I think I’d wait for a few more games before I moved any team up from slightly below average, which is what No. 18 is, into the top 10. They might now wind up belonging there by midseason or so but such a jump based on one game is unwarranted.

ESPN.com power ranking

Cousins averaged nearly twice as many yards per attempt (12.2) in Week 3 than he did in the first two weeks of the season (6.3). He'll need more performances like last week's with upcoming road games against the Chiefs, Eagles, and Seahawks.

The four-letter network is not participating in the NFL.com irrational exuberance over the Raiders win. ESPN moved the Redskins up three spots, from 17 to 14. You could quibble that this is a bit low but if you go and look at the full rankings it’s hard to make a solid case that they should be ahead of any of them. Again, time will tell.  

Yahoo! Shutdown Corner picks against the spread, Frank Schwab

Redskins (+7) over Chiefs: It’s hard to go against the Chiefs with how well they’re playing, but Washington seems a bit underrated to me. They lost to the Eagles (who are good themselves) in Week 1, but have played really well the last two weeks. Their offense looked great last week and the defense has played well too. I’ll pick them to keep it close, at least.

I haven’t seen any national media types pick the Redskins for an outright win. I’m seeing a lot like this from ESPN:

But I saw mostly clean sweeps for the Rams and Raiders, too, so those predictions really don’t mean much.

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

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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. 

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

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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 Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

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

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