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Need to Know: 'This is who Cousins is'

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Need to Know: 'This is who Cousins is'

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 26, eight days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

This is who Kirk Cousins is

After Kirk Cousins’ rocky game against the Giants, Marshall Faulk of NFL Network said the following:
“Who we saw tonight, that’s who Kirk Cousins is. For throwing the ball 49 times, this is a good game for Kirk Cousins. I don’t believe that there is a, ‘Oh he can play better, there is more he can do.’ If his team doesn’t play better, he cannot carry this team. He can be a part of a team.”
This strikes me as being the best concise analysis of who Kirk Cousins is and what he is capable of doing that I have read. He isn’t going to carry your team. If he has to throw 49 times he will get picked off and the Redskins probably won’t win.

But he is not that different from most other quarterbacks in the league in that regard. Since the start of the 2014 season, up to an including Cousins last night, a quarterback has attempted 49 or more passes in a game 34 times. In 16 of those games, just under half, the quarterback was intercepted two or three times. Eleven times the quarterback was picked off once and just seven threw no picks.

The teams’ records in these games is 8-26.

So if most quarterbacks have to put the ball up a lot the will get picked off and they will lose. I’m not sure why we expect that Kirk Cousins will be any different.

This is, of course, a macro view of these games. There is cause and effect in play. The teams aren’t necessarily losing because the quarterbacks are throwing so often; often the quarterbacks are passing a lot because their teams are trailing. And sometimes the quarterbacks bear greater responsibility for the existence of the deficit than others.

Against the Giants, Cousins helped dig the hole that he later had to pass the team’s way out of. His first-quarter interception led to a very short field for Eli Manning and the Redskins were down two scores early.

In case you are wondering (and I know that many of you out there looking for “balance” in the way that quarterbacks are treated in the media), Robert Griffin III has thrown 49 or more passes in a game twice in his career. He was picked off twice in one of those games and once in the other. The Redskins lost both of those games, to the Eagles and Lions in 2013.

This is pretty simple, folks. Although Kirk Cousins might improve with more experience, for right now and for the immediate future he is who he is. Like many other quarterbacks around the league he will have problems if the Redskins don’t force turnovers to get the offense a short field, play poorly on special teams, and have trouble running the ball.

The Redskins are playing Cousins because they believe that he is their best option among the three they have right now. Many have said that Griffin or Colt McCoy would be better options. Perhaps. But if they can’t run the ball better than they did against the Giants and get set up with a short field by either the defense or special teams from time to time it is unlikely that any of them will win consistently.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Falcons 15; Redskins @ Jets 22

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

LOS ANGELES — Some years, the December talk is of playoff tiebreakers.

Other years, it’s about draft position.

This is one of those “other” years.

The Redskins’ current skid of four losses in their last five games has knocked them out of playoff contention but into more favorable position in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in late April.

The Redskins' record is 5-8 through Week 14,  and if the season ended today, Washington would be picking either 11th or 12th in the first round.

Here’s the big picture: As of Monday, there are eight teams that have fewer wins than Washington. All of them would be picking ahead of the Redskins. 

The Bengals and Jets also have eight losses so the one and only draft order tiebreaker would be applied.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

This does not work out well for the Redskins.

The NFL Draft tiebreaker is strength of schedule with the teams with the weaker schedules getting the better picks. I am sure you have heard about how tough a schedule the Redskins have all year long. It was a point of pride for many fans. But now it comes back to bite them.

The Jets (opponents winning percentage .488) and the Bengals (.444) have faced weaker schedules than the Redskins (.574). That pushes Washington back to 11th.

RELATED: FEW UPS, MANY DOWNS VS. CHARGERS

But there is a Week 14 game pending. The Dolphins, who have seven losses, play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If they lose and join the eight-loss group, they would jump ahead of the Redskins based on the SOS tiebreaker, pushing Washington back to 12th.

Of course, the season doesn’t end today and a lot can happen.

But if the bottom doesn’t completely fall out it seems likely that they will end up somewhere between 10th and 12th in the first round.

We will be looking at what that might mean for the Redskins in the coming days and weeks as the offseason comes early for the Redskins one more time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

The NFC Playoff picture is no clearer in Week 14 than it was in Week 8.

Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, the NFC in particular has been a gauntlet. So much of a gauntlet that one of the league’s best in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks, sit outside of the postseason with an 8-5 record.

As of the conclusion of Week 14’s action, only the Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) have locked up a postseason spot.

The Eagles claimed the NFC East for the first time since 2013 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The will clinch a first round bye with a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers this weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) with their loss remains second in the conference, still within striking range over the overall No. 1 seed.

With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Rams (9-4) have a tough hill to climb to claim a first-round bye, but first they need to get back in the win column.

For the WildCard berths there was a wrench thrown into many teams plans with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) defeating the New Orleans Saints (9-4) on Thursday night. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker over pretty much every team chasing them for the final playoff spot.

For the five remaining unclaimed spots in the postseason, 10 teams are still alive.

After Week 15 though, that number could dwindle down significantly.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

NFC Playoff Picture Week 15

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:
— #1 Philadelphia Eagles* (11-2) vs. BYE
— #2 Minnesota Vikings (10-3) vs. BYE
— #3 Los Angeles Rams (9-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
— #4 New Orleans Saints (9-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (9-4)

NFC TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:
— Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
— Detroit Lions (7-6)
— Green Bay Packers (7-6)
— Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
— Arizona Cardinals (6-7)

NFC TEAMS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF PICTURE:
— Washington Redskins (5-8)
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
— Chicago Bears (4-9)
— San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
— New York Giants (2-11)

SEEDING NOTES:
— Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Panthers.
— Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Saints, and Falcons.
— Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers.
— Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints.
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

WILD CARD NOTES:
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
— Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
— Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
— Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, Cowboys.
— Cowboys own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Week 15 NFC Games With Playoff Implications:

Sat., Dec 16: Bears at Lions (4:30 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Bengals at Vikings (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Jets at Saints (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Eagles at Giants (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cardinals at Redskins (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Panthers at Packers (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Rams at Seahawks (4:05 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cowboys at Raiders (8:30 p.m.)
Mon., Dec 18: Falcons at Buccaneers (8:30 p.m.)