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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins thinks he missed an opportunity vs. Falcons

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins thinks he missed an opportunity vs. Falcons

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 15, four days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 8:35 in Richmond; player and Jay Gruden availability after practice. The session is not open to the public.

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 218 days ago. It will be 28 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 seaTson opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 19; Cowboys @ Redskins 34; Browns @ Redskins 48

Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden read and react

Cousins on competition in training camp:
When they come in with 90 guys and they cut it down to 53—but really in my mind, it’s 46 because those are the only guys who can dress on game day —you’re literally cutting the roster in half.
That is an interesting way of looking at it. I don’t quite see it that way because the inactive seven get a full NFL salary and have the chance to be active the next week if they aren’t in Week 1. And at $6,000 per week the practice squad beats driving for Uber. But players like to do mental tricks that make the odds against them seem to be longer, sort of a self-motivation technique. It’s along the lines for Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first you’re last”. If you’re not on the 46 you’re unemployed.

Cousins on possibly leaving a play on the field vs. the Falcons:
We want to be able to run in favorable situations against advantageous fronts. I know for sure that one of those runs the other night was a run that I easily oculd have audibled out of and gone to a pass, but I decided to leave the run play on. It didn’t work, and after the fact you’re thinking maybe the next time go to the pass. By no means is it bad play calling or we’re not running the ball well, sometimes it’s just that I can get out of the play and get us to a better play. That’s the kind of thing people on the outside may not realize.
When you see a play called that goes right into the teeth of the defense it isn’t always the fault of the play caller. The quarterback does have the option to change many plays at the line to one that may be better suited to beat the defense. After the game Gruden mentioned in passing one of the issues with the running game was that the quarterbacks could have bailed out of some runs that were doomed from the start. This must have been one of the plays that he was referring to.

Cousins on the lack of drama in training camp:
I’ve told my teammates that I’d like to be the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL, be super boring and maybe people at the end of the season just go, ‘Wow, they really had a good year and no one really talked about it’, I don’t need to promote myself. I don’t need to promote what we’re doing.
“I don’t need to promote myself.” Hmm, I wonder what he’s referring to here. Perhaps an ex-teammate? In any case, the players and coaches have to like the “boring” nature of camp so far. That doesn’t mean that so-called distractions are an excuse for losing—the Broncos had a ton of them last year with the fading Peyton Manning at the helm—but all other things being equal it’s better not to have them than have them.

Gruden on the penalties committed on Thursday:
“Yeah, penalties are an issue, man. It’s a very important part of the game – offense, defense, special teams and penalties, man, and turning the ball over. We looked at them extensively today and make sure we get them corrected because those things—you can be as skilled as you want to, be as prepared as you want to, but if you commit penalties, you’ve got no chance.
The penalties give you no chance theory was true last year. The worst eight teams in terms of penalty yards taken per game all missed the playoffs. But in 2014 the two Super Bowl participants, the Seahawks and Patriots, finished 25th and 26th in penalty yards. So it’s not a hard and fast rule. Gruden's team does have difficulty winning despite penalty issues. In 2014 they were penalized for more yards than all but one NFL team and they finished 4-12. Last year they were eighth best in terms of penalty yards assessed and they went 9-7 and won the NFC East.

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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.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.