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Need to Know: Health not an issue for the Redskins

Need to Know: Health not an issue for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 2, one day before the Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Redskins Park:

1. The Redskins certainly can’t complain about their health. They did list nine players on their injury report on Friday but only one, safety Jose Gumbs, is listed as questionable. The rest are probable. While some have missed games here and there, no projected starters are on injured reserve. This team has 99 problems but health ain’t one.

2. Safety Reed Doughty was an injury concern last week and he ended up missing the game in Denver due to a concussion. He is one of those listed as probable after he practiced in full all week. “He’s had a good week. There’ve been no setbacks,” said Mike Shanahan. “He gets tested every day, so right now he’s listed as full-go. Unless something happens in the next 24 hours, which I don’t anticipate, he’ll be ready to play.”

3. What a difference some takeaways can make. The perception is that the Chargers’ offense is humming along efficiently with Philip Rivers completing nearly three-fourths of his passes while the Redskins are sputtering with Robert Griffin III trying to get his season together. But the Redskins have outscored the Chargers 174-168 this year. The difference, of course, is four defensive touchdowns scored by the Redskins. San Diego, on the other hand, has just four takeaways at all this year and not return touchdowns. It will be tough to get a pick six off of Rivers (only 5 INT thrown all year) but that would go a long way towards helping the Redskins’ cause on Sunday.

4. Some will be concerned when a Chargers player catches a pass and Brandon Meriweather comes streaking into the picture. Did he learn his lesson on illegal hits after the NFL suspended him for last week’s game? Shanahan isn’t worried. “I think sometimes people get a little carried away with that,” he said. “We understand what the rules are and he’s been penalized for it. We’ve been penalized as a team as well. So he knows where the emphasis is and he wants to play football for a long time. When he does get that hit, he’s going to try to hit in the right area. Hopefully he does.”

5. What’s missing from the Redskins’ passing game this year? Success using play action is way off. From the number crunchers at ESPN via my man John Keim we learn that last year the Redskins led the NFL in play action yards per game (118.5) and per attempt (11.8). This year they’ve slipped to sixth in yards per game with 68 and a lowly 23rd per attempt at 6.7.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins lead the league with an average of 4.98 yards per rushing attempt.

Timeline

—Days until: Chargers @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Vikings 5; Redskins @ Eagles 15

—Today’s schedule: No availability, Chargers at Redskins Sunday 1:00 p.m.

In case you missed it

Kyle Shanahan looking at results, not stats

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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 frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuttered 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: