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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins on the rise

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins on the rise

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 25, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. It will be 79 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 20; Preseason opener @ Falcons 47; Final roster cut 70

Five of the most popular posts from the Redskins week that was

Redskins roster projection, offense (and defense)—While the core of the roster is set, there are still up to a dozen spots up for grabs. A few more might emerge if injuries hit and then there is competition to get one of the 10 practice squad jobs. There are now four spots that can go to players with more than two accrued seasons (there were two last year) so all but a handful of players who are likely to be released will be eligible.

New photos reportedly show 'Skins' Thanksgiving unis—I’m not big into uniforms but I know that a lot of you are. It looks like Thanksgiving will feature five teams wearing uniforms that don’t look like what they usually wear and then the Redskins in familiar garb.

'Skins assistant on Cousins: 'He’s not going to hold back'—The highlight of the offseason practices that the media could watch was when Kirk Cousins completed a long pass and then turned to look at us along the sideline yelling, “Celebrate! You love that!” It was a bit hokey but it was Cousins showing that it’s now his team. It already was by December of last year but he clearly has put his stamp on the 2016 Redskins.

Can Cousins be 'better than any young QB'?—An NFL assistant coach said that he thinks that it’s possible that when we look back in 10 years we’ll view Cousins as a more productive, more successful player than even Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. I’m not sure that will end up being the case but I’m not going to reject it out of hand. If he does end up doing it that would mean he would have some comeback playoff wins, a couple of Super Bowl trips, and a lot of division titles. It would be a fun ride.

NTK: Five Redskins with a lot at stake in 2016—All NFL players are under pressure but some are under more than others. These five players not only carry a lot of responsibility for the success of the 2016 Redskins on their backs but they also have some personal pressure stemming from pending contract situations.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 25, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 15
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 22
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 29

Last look at Redskins vs Giants

Defense is on again—The Redskins have not played well on defense the last couple of weeks, allowing a total of 72 points to the Vikings and Saints. But they had a solid game against the Giants, with some help from inaccurate Eli Manning passes and some drops. But the numbers are what they are and they say three points allowed (not counting the seven on the pick six) and 170 yards of offense for New York. It’s the second time this year the Redskins have held an opponent to 170 yards or fewer (Raiders got 128 in week 3). It’s the first time the Redskins have held two opponents to 170 or fewer in the same season since 2004. For the Giants, it was their lowest offensive output since 2013.

Kirk Cousins’ night—Is it fair to say that he had a solid outing? Or is that not enough? He did lead a drive to the winning touchdown in the latter half of the fourth quarter of a tie game. The Redskins have won five games and Cousins has fourth-quarter game-winning drives in four of them. On Thursday, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and an interception that only the harshest critics (and there are many out there) would pin on him. Both of the TDs were special plays in their own ways. Cousins did take six sacks—those are not all on the makeshift offensive line—and he misfired on some passes. He deserves a solid B+ grade for the game.

Hall sits—A lot of people were alarmed by what they saw out of DeAngelo Hall in New Orleans, especially in the late going as Drew Brees got hot. Apparently, the Redskins’ coaches were among them. Even with starter Montae Nicholson sidelined with a concussion, Hall did not play a single snap on defense. It will be interesting to see if he is inactive when Nicholson is ready to play, possibly as early as next Thursday.

On a streak—No, not in the big wins column. I’m talking about winning the opening coin toss. The Redskins have now won two in a row. In the nine games prior to that, the Redskins had extraordinarily bad luck, going 2-7 in the 50-50 proposition. It remains very much in vogue for teams to defer after winning the toss. That has been the choice of the winners of the toss in 10 of the Redskins’ 11 games. The only team that chose to receive after winning the toss was the Raiders in Week 3.

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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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