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Need to Know: Ratings of Redskins' QB Cousins vary widely

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Need to Know: Ratings of Redskins' QB Cousins vary widely

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 1, seven days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five thoughts on the Redskins at the bye

—It’s true that the Redskins have not beaten a team with a winning record. But the Eagles would have a winning record at 4-3 if the Redskins had not beaten them and the Rams would be 4-2 without the loss to Washington. And the Bucs would be 3-3 had they held on to their lead.

—Kirk Cousins does not fare well in the NFL’s official overall quarterback metric, passer rating, ranking 23rd in the NFL with an 85.1. He’s better in ESPN’s QBR; Cousins’ rating there is 58.8, 17th in the NFL. But if Cousins wants to give his agent some ammunition for his upcoming contract negotiation he can point to Football Outsiders. They have Cousins performing at a very good to, dare I say it an elite level. His DYAR, their measure of his total value, is 417, sixth in the NFL. His DVOA, his value per play, is 11.8%, seventh in the league (go to the FO site for details). One thing that FO’s numbers take into account that the NFL and ESPN don’t is the strength of the opposing defenses. Five of the Redskins’ seven games have been against defenses in the top half in FO’s rankings and none of the opposing defenses have been in the bottom 10.

—While we’re on FO’s numbers, let’s look at the total team performance per their DVOA metric. The Redskins are 19th with a DVOA of minus-3.2 percent. As I’ve been saying, they have “graduated” from the bottom of the barrel (28th in DVOA in 2014) to the middle of the NFL pack. One detail that caught my eye is that their special teams DVOA is actually in positive territory (1.2 percent, 13th in the NFL). Again, this ranking takes strength of opposition into account. Of the Redskins’ seven opponents to date, five are in the top half of the league in DVOA.

—Looking at the schedule going forward, it’s like what Goldilocks said about Baby Bear’s bed—not too hard, not too soft. They have two road games against currently undefeated teams, the Patriots and Panthers. The only other game they have against a team with a winning record is against the 4-3 Giants and that one is at home. The rest of the games are against teams who are, like the Redskins, under .500. It should be a fair test for the Redskins in the second half of the season.

—Defensively, the Redskins need to stop the run better and they need to get more sacks. The easy way to accomplish both of those is to have the offense score more points. That has the potential to take the running game out of the other team’s play calling and set up the defensive front to go after the quarterback. To be sure, they still have to clean up their tackling regardless. But football is the ultimate team game and when one side thrives the other can, too.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Bye week

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 7; Saints @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Panthers 21

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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.

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.