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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 19, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 7:30 pm, FedEx Field, telecast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 222 days ago. It will be 24 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 15; Cowboys @ Redskins 30; Browns @ Redskins 44

The Redskins week that was

Cousins' goals for Redskins: win games, be boringI’m not sure if they will ever get to be the San Antonio Spurs, as Cousins said his goal is. Since the 1998-1999  season the Spurs have won five titles. The Redskins have not made an appearance in their conference championship game in that time span. Even if the Redskins did get to be a powerhouse, the NBA is better set up to have a dynasty that is the NFL. But the part about being boring as far as distractions is absolutely possible. It's the way most NFL teams operate.

NTK: Cousins thinks he missed a chance—Against the Falcons, Cousins said that one of the running plays that didn’t go much of anywhere while he was in the game could have been avoided had he audibles to a different play. He didn’t say why he didn’t audible when he was at the line, whether he didn’t recognize the bad matchup at the time or if he left the play as is for another reason. In either case, it’s part of the learning process for Cousins. If he starts catching defenses cheating up to the line often enough and burns them through the air, things may open up in the running game.

Michael Crabtree? Josh Doctson? What's the connection?—An interesting post by JP Finlay, looking at how Scot McCloughan may be using history (part his history, part not his) in guiding the team as it navigates the Doctson injury.

Sloppy Redskins practice requires Gruden's loud correction—The book on Jay Gruden as a head coach is not yet written; his persona is very much a work in progress. He let loose on the team with an expletive-laden rant during a sloppy practice at Redskins Park. Gruden has the credibility to be able to do this because the team is headed in the right direction, with a division title last year. A first-time head coach who had posted, say, double-digit losses in his first two seasons at the helm might not have the credibility to off on the team and have it have any effect.

NTK: Room on the Redskins roster for Toler, Sudfeld?—The one hard and fast rule about putting together a roster is that only 53 players can be on it at any given time. That means if you want to add somebody to it, somebody must be removed. To get players like Greg Toler, a veteran cornerback on a team loaded with young talent at the position, and Nate Sudfeld, a promising but raw rookie quarterback who likely won’t see the field this year, you have to cut players you may want to keep.

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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.