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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 15, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 9; Redskins @ Cardinals 19; Redskins @ Eagles 26

Injuries of note:
Moses (ankle), day to day
Jackson (shoulder), per Gruden "in play" for the Packers game
Monday injury report

Last look at Redskins vs. Vikings

Stat that stood out: The Vikings came into the game averaging just 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. I pointed this out a few times during the week, also saying that the Vikings would be looking to fatten up this average against the weak Redskins run D. But on Sunday Minnesota had 22 carries for 47 yards, an average of 2.2 yards per attempt. The key was that the Redskins had five tackles for a loss on running plays for a total of minus-13 yards.

Under the radar play of the game: The game was tied 20-20 with 12:54 left to play. After a punt the Redskins were backed up at their own eight yard line. On first down, Rob Kelley took a handoff and headed up the middle, zigging and zagging and evading tackles until he had gained 21 yards to the 29. Two Kirk Cousins passes later the Redskins were at the Viking 40. They needed to get just a little closer to get into range for Dustin Hopkins’ go-ahead 50-yard field goal. Kelley’s run gave them the breathing room they needed to make it happen

Unsung hero: Strong safety Donte Whitner played every snap and he had eight tackles. He didn’t make any of the highlight plays that prompted him to talk about changing his last name to “Hitner” but it was a solid, steady performance.

Snap count snapshot: With Whitner playing every snap (67), Duke Ihenacho (31) and Will Blackmon (33) split the other safety snaps. Su’a Cravens played a season-high 37 snaps. On offense, Ryan Grant played more snaps, 49, than any wide receiver except Pierre Garçon (51).

Potpourri:  The Vikings’ last TD came on a gutsy call by Mike Zimmer. He showed faith in Sam Bradford by having him run a play starting with five seconds on the clock. If they didn’t score a touchdown it’s likely that the clock would have run out before they could even try a field goal . . . I wouldn’t give up a first-round pick for Sam Bradford. Or a second. Or anything higher than a bag of underinflated footballs. He has some skills but being a winner isn’t one of them . . . Ty Nsekhe was ready for his opportunity; he did a very good job in place of the suspended Trent Williams . . . Maurice Harris played only eight snaps but he made the most of them with three receptions, two of them for first downs . . . Would some fans had been happier if the Redskins had given up one touchdown in the first, second, and fourth quarters instead of three in the second? I may be off here but giving up 20 points is giving up 20 points and that gives you a very good chance to win.

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

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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. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

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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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