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Need to Know: Free agency changes look of many of Redskins '15 opponents

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Need to Know: Free agency changes look of many of Redskins '15 opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 13, 48 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

What have the 2015 opponents done in free agency?

The Redskins’ 2015 schedule won’t come out until next month but we know who they will play. Let’s take a look at how free agency will affect the some of the teams the Redskins will play in 2015.

Eagles—Chip Kelly is not done making moves but we do know that he’ll have a different starting quarterback (probably Sam Bradford), running back (DeMarco Murray), and No. 1 wide receiver (nobody knows) in the lineup. Crazy? Genius? Both? We’ll start to find out.

Giants—It’s easy to see Shane Vereen catching swing passes out of the backfield from Eli Manning and creating death by a thousand paper cuts. Well, until Manning throws it up for grabs and Odell Beckham Jr. comes down with it.

Falcons—I’m not sure if Leonard Hankerson will strike fear in the hearts of defenders but it will be interesting to see how he can do with a stable QB situation. Former Texans linebacker Brooks Reed will be interesting to watch as he tries to put pressure on the QB in Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme.

Saints—The Redskins always have trouble covering tight ends so the absence of Jimmy Graham will be welcome.

Rams—Nick Foles lit the Redskins secondary up pretty well in their meeting in Philly last year so we’ll see how he does with offensive weapons not quite as good as the Eagles have (or had, anyway).

Bills—They’ll only have to face him once this year and won’t have to do it again until 2019 if he stays with the Bills but they do have to go up against Shady McCoy this season. They have done a fairly good job of containing him but the focus frees up others on offense.

Patriots—They lost Darrelle Revis and they could lose Brandon Browner. But something tells me that as long as they have that guy named Brady behind center they’ll be just fine.

Dolphins—The interior of the Redskins’ line is not their strong point and there’s no question that Ndamukong Suh will be quite a load to handle.

Jets—The Redskins don’t get out of facing Revis Island; it's now located at Met Life Stadium. They also brought back his ex-backfield mate Antonio Cromartie.

Timeline

—It’s been 75 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 184 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 38; 2015 NFL Draft 48; Redskins training camp starts 139

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

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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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.