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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 22, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens

Small sample size

Please do not interpret this post to be an attempt to blow sunshine, well, you know where. It is simply an attempt to bring some perspective to the game on Thursday. I am well aware that there are plenty of issues with the team.

But those issues were not necessarily identified during the game against the Lions on Thursday. Kory Lichtensteiger said it best. He was asked if this game was a measuring stick for the offensive line.

“I think it’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter,” he said.

Griffin and the first team offense were on the field for 16 snaps. Every Sunday during the regular season teams struggle during the first quarter. But they adjust, they make counter moves and eventually they find their footing.

In fact, offenses almost never play as poorly as Griffin and the Redskins did over the course of an entire game. If you project Griffin’s stats out over 64 snaps he would be eight of 20 (40 percent completions) for 32 yards with 12 sacks. No quarterback since 1974 has attempted at least 20 passes in a game for 32 or fewer yards with a completion percentage of 40 percent or lower. If that’s too much to plough through, suffice it to say that history says that Griffin and the offense would not have played that poorly for an entire game.

That doesn’t mean that they would have played great, or even competently. There would have been improvement over the course of the game but we don’t know if it would have been enough to be competitive.

The whole point is, we don’t know. It’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter. And even if you add in the 18 snaps Griffin and the starting offense played in Cleveland you have 34 snaps, a total of about 30 minutes of play. The Redskins offense has a quarter of OK work (Browns) and one of bad work (Lions) in the book That is really not enough to make even a, well, snap judgement.

I will inject one more thing to think about here. Scot McCloughan is building the Redskins to be a tough, physical team featuring power run blocking and an attacking defense. That style of football is designed to wear teams down over four quarters. In the preseason, with players shuffling in and out from beginning to end, the physical nature is less of an advantage.

To be sure, there is concern among fans that what we saw on Thursday was a continuation of what we have seen for the past two seasons, when the team combined to win seven games. There is some validity to that; however that ignores the addition of McCloughan, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, and about 15 draft picks and free agents that should upgrade the team.

We won’t see the Redskins’ best football until the regular season starts. Again, their “best” may still not be good enough to be a competitive NFL team in 2015. But it is not going to be revealed over the course of just 16 snaps.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Closed practice at Redskins Park

—It’s been 237 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 22 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 7; final cuts 14; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 33

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In case you missed it

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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.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: