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Need to Know: The week that was at Redskins Park, playoffs edition

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Need to Know: The week that was at Redskins Park, playoffs edition

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 9, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

The week that was at Redskins Park

Redskins facing a numbers game at running backEarlier this week it looked like the Redskins might have four healthy tailbacks with only three spots on the 46-man game day roster for them. But this took care of it self during the week. It appears that Matt Jones’ hip pointer will keep him sidelined for a third straight game. The Redskins will ride with Alfred Morris, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Thompson to try to get together some sort of a rushing attack. They need at least a moderately effective running game to slow down the Packers’ pass rush.

Good news on Phillips after scary collision vs. CowboysFirst-year cornerback Dashaun Phillips was getting some playing time at nickel corner against the Cowboys until a head-on collision with Darren McFadden in the second quarter had him on his way to a local hospital. But the hospital trip was just precautionary and he has practiced in full all week. If Quinton Dunbar, who is questionable with a quad injury, Phillips could see a few snaps on Sunday. If Dunbar is out his role could increase substantially.

Lichtensteiger activated, Jarrett to IRThe Redskins made it official, bringing Kory Lichtensteiger off of injured reserve and inserting him back into the starting center job. He last played in Week 5 against the Falcons and they put him on injured reserve/designated to return on November 10, after Week 9. The ripple effects here were that Josh LeRibeus, who had been starting at center, went to the bench and Brian de la Puente was waived. The biggest improvement here will be accurate shotgun snaps, which LeRibeus was not delivering. DB Kyshoen Jarrett went to injured reserve with possible nerve damage in his right arm, also sustained in a collision with McFadden.

Redskins sign veteran cornerback Cary WilliamsWith Jarrett out, the Redskins needed a defensive back who could jump in and pick up the defense right away. Williams, a veteran of eight NFL seasons with four different teams, filled the bill.

Jay Gruden on Jordan Reed: He's a different animalIt’s apparent that if the Redskins are going to win it’s going to be Reed getting a lot of it done. Gruden basically said that the Packers won’t be able to stop him. "They haven’t seen a tight end like Jordan," Gruden said. "He’s different, he’s a different animal." I don’t know who will cover him; a 10-catch day is a possibility.

Cousins named NFC Offensive Player of the MonthIn the last five games of the season, Cousins completed 111 of 151 passes (73.5 percent) for 1,378 yards (9.1 yards per attempt) with 13 touchdowns and one interception. The Redskins won the last four of those to take the NFC East. Cousins became the first Redskins player to win offensive player of the month honors since Clinton Portis in October of 2008.

Sam Shields likely to be out for Sunday's gameThe big news out of the Packers camp this week is injuries. Two key players are iffy for Sunday. Top cornerback Sam Shields is doubtful with a concussion. He missed the last three games of the regular season and he still is in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Friday afternoon. They would have a tough time covering DeSean Jackson with Shields in the lineup; without him it could be a big day for Jackson. Left tackle David Bakhtiari has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and is questionable. The Packers have allowed 14 sacks without him.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Packers in wild card playoff game 1; NFL divisional playoffs start 7; Super Bowl 50 29

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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