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Need to Know: Redskins' Kerrigan is starting to heat up

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Need to Know: Redskins' Kerrigan is starting to heat up

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, December 1, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

—One of the under the radar numbers from Sunday was the time of possession, where the Redskins held ad edge of 36:00 to 24:00. Their average time of possession per game this year is 31:06, which is seventh in the NFL. Considering they haven’t been able to run the ball very well for the most part that’s pretty impressive.

—The Redskins have been looking for either Matt Jones or Alfred Morris to take command at running back and neither has really stepped up. But the answer could be to hand the ball to Morris and pass it to Jones. Against the Saints and Giants (neither did much against the Panthers), Morris had 170 yards rushing and Jones had 176 receiving. Sure you need to hand the ball to Jones sometimes and pass to Morris. But figuring out a way for each player to do what he’s been doing best seems to be the logical way to go.

—Rookie defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett set the tone early when he clobbered WR Dwayne Harris, who was trying to haul in a tipped pass. The ball popped back up in the air and Will Blackmon, who had originally tipped the pass, picked it off. Jarrett played 63 snaps, some at nickel, some at safety. With all of the injuries in the secondary, Jarrett’s versatility has been vital. He’s been an excellent sixth-round pickup.

—Fans are pretty excited about rookie Quinton Dunbar’s play including his third-quarter interception. So was Preston Smith: “Man, I was so excited for Quinton. I don’t know if I might have been just as excited as he was or more excited. To see a guy like that work so hard and finally get an opportunity to go out there and play and then, you know, in a game like this to get a lot of playing time, a lot of respect out for him.” Excited indeed.

—Ryan Kerrigan is starting to heat up. He went for about a calendar month and a half without getting a sack but now he has three in his last two games. The fifth-year linebacker said yesterday that he felt better than he has all season, a tacit admission that he wasn’t 100-percent up until recently. Kerrigan was hampered by a knee that required an offseason procedure and then by a broken hand. His 6.5 sacks have him in the top 20 in the NFL, tied for 17th. The Redskins expect better out of him and Kerrigan expects better out of himself. Maybe this is the start of a roll that will help both him and the team reach their goals.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Players off, no media availability

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Bears 12; Bills @ Redskins 19

In case you missed it

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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.

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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: