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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster bubble ready to pop for many

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster bubble ready to pop for many

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 28, six days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day, no availability

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 231 days ago. It will be 15 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 21; Browns @ Redskins 35; Redskins @ Ravens 42

The Redskins week that was

NTK: A look at five Redskins on the roster bubble—This was written prior to the game on Friday and before the Redskins made their first 10 cuts on Saturday. And all five remain squarely on the bubble. Perhaps one, OLB Houston Bates, can breathe easier now because one player thought to be among his main competition at his position, Willie Jefferson, got cut. But the rest are still sweating it out and probably will keep doing so until the final 53 is settled next weekend.

Should Redskins look, what's available in trade market for RB?—This was before Keith Marshall suffered a sprained elbow against the Bills. We’re still not sure how serious that injury is or if Marshall was going to make the team even if he didn’t get hurt in light of how well Robert Kelley played. In any case there has been zero trade talk when it comes to running backs. If the Redskins are going to acquire an additional back it looks like they might wait until teams start making cuts and bolster their running back corps.

Gruden makes late decision to sit Cousins, other starters—This is from after the Jets game but it's still relevant because of how Cousins and the offense looked out of sync in the early going against the Bills. Did the decision to sit Cousins and other key starters on both sides of the ball leave them rusty? And, perhaps more importantly, is 54 snaps of action in the preseason enough for Cousins, commencing his second year as a full-time starter, to get ready for the season?

Projecting the Redskins roster: First cuts approaching—I’m happy to say that none of the final 53 I picked for this article got the ax on Saturday. It’s never easy to do this but there probably are more bubble players this year than there have been in recent years. The most difficult issues this year were fitting CB Greg Toler onto the roster and figuring out just where to count Su’a Cravens. Still, I'm pretty confident that I'll hit on 50 of the 53.

NTK: 5 things we've learned about the Redskins so far—I’m most confident about what I said about DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman here. I think they both will have big seasons.

Tandler on Twitter

The news that the Redskins are likely to face Dak Prescott when the Cowboys come to town in Week 2 brought up this discussion of the Redskins' record against rookie QBs. Here's the link if you want to see details of the Redskins vs. rookie QBs since 2010.

In case you missed it 

 

 

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.