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Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 5, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Before we dive head first into the playoffs let’s take a look back at the 2015 season. As you know, most major sports awards are decided after the end of the regular season but before the playoffs start. Let’s pass out a little Redskins hardware here based on the 2015 regular season.

Offensive player of the year: Kirk Cousins—The hotter he has gotten over the past couple of months, the better the team has played. His most impressive stat this year was his 69.8 percent completion rate. It was the seventh best season a quarterback has had in that stat category ever. Honorable mentions: Jordan Reed, Trent Williams

Offensive newcomer of the year: Brandon Scherff—He was every bit as good as advertised. If he keep improving over the next year or two nobody will care that the Redskins used the fifth overall pick on a guard. He missed two snaps all year, one against the Bears and one against the Cowboys on Monday night. Honorable mention: Jamison Crowder

Defensive player of the year: Chris Baker—There were a lot of ways to go here on a defense that didn’t have any real stars and was in constant turmoil due to injuries. But Baker was steady throughout, getting six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, and setting an infectious attitude on the defense. Honorable mention: Bashaud Breeland

Defensive newcomer of the year: Will Blackmon—He wasn’t even on the team in Week 1 but he turned out to be invaluable to the secondary. Blackmon started 10 games and played some nickel. His presence allowed the team to move DeAngelo Hall to safety. Blackmon put on one of his best performances on Sunday. In the second half he picked off a pass with the Cowboys in a goal to go situation. Later he poked the ball out of Darren McFadden’s arm as he was about to score a TD. The ball bounced out of the end zone and the Redskins took over after the touchback. Honorable mention: Preston Smith, Kyshoen Jarrett.

Special teams player and newcomer of the year: Dustin Hopkins—Another player who wasn’t on the Week 1 roster. They wanted a kicker who could pound the ball into the end zone consistently and they found one in Hopkins. He booted 65 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and he was No. 8 in the league in net kickoff distance. Hopkins was solid on field goals as well, converting on 25 of 28 with two of his misses coming from 50-plus yards, kicks they likely would even have attempted before signing Hopkins. Honorable mention: Tress Way

Agree? Disagree? Dive into the comments and let me know!

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Packers in wild card playoff game 5; Super Bowl 50 33

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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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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.