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Need to Know: Some Redskins focus on Bucs, others on Steelers

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Need to Know: Some Redskins focus on Bucs, others on Steelers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 31, three days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Bucs, Raymond James Stadium, broadcast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 232 days ago. It will be 12 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 18; Browns @ Redskins 32; Redskins @ Ravens 39

The Redskins week that was

You know how in spring training baseball teams will have split-squad games? The top line players will go to one site and play a game while the bench warmers and likely minor leaguers go play at another site.

The Redskins have their version of that going on today.

The second and third string, the reserves and players trying to make the team, will be flying to Tampa to play the Bucs in preseason game No. 4. They are concerned with putting on a good show in hopes of either making the roster or practice squad in Washington or hoping that they put enough on film to get a call from another NFL team.

Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Norman, DeSean Jackson, and the rest of the starters and top reserves aren't going to a game; they will be going to lunch. They will be attending the annual Welcome Home Luncheon at a hotel at Tyson’s Corner.

The plan was for the the whole team to attend the lunch event, a tradition for over 50 years, and then fly to Tampa, check into the hotel, and go into their usual routine before playing the Bucs on Thursday night. But Mother Nature got in the way and the threat of a major storm coming out of the Gulf of Mexico forced the game to be moved up and forced the Redskins to alter their plans.

Jay Gruden said that the change was not a major disruption to their planning.

“We just had to speed it up a little bit,” said Gruden. “We didn’t plan on doing a lot of Tampa early in the week anyway, but we’re going to try to do something today and tomorrow. We just have to speed up our preparation a little bit.”

The Redskins were not really game planning for the Bucs; that’s what Gruden meant by “not going a lot of Tampa”. That’s typical for a fourth preseason game and why the change in schedule is no big deal. Moving a regular-season game up and taking 24 hours of preparation time away from a team would be a lot tougher to deal with.

Meanwhile, the players who are staying behind are getting ready for when the game start counting.

“We have started our preparation for Pittsburgh,” said Gruden. “We started meeting on that this past week.”

While it would be great to have all of the players there for support, perhaps just sending the players who will participate to Tampa is not such a bad thing. It gives the front-line players a day or so extra to get ready for the real thing a week from Monday.

Tandler on Twitter Instagram

Josh Doctson with a helmet. No jersey or announcement of removal from PUP. #Redskins

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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.