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Need to Know: Was Cousins' self critique tough enough?

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Need to Know: Was Cousins' self critique tough enough?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 22, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Read and react

Some quotes from around Redskins Park on Wednesday and my comments on them.

Trent Williams on if he needs to be a more vocal leader as this critical game approaches:
“We're all grown men. I don't think I have to sit here and urge people to do better. So, no, I don't feel like I have to tell anybody anything . . . If I need to say something, of course I'll say something.”
Reaction: Since London Fletcher left, the Redskins haven’t really had a vocal leader. Williams is fine as a team captain but he is who he is and he’s not the kind of guy who is going to correct mistakes or demand that a play in practice be redone because it wasn’t right the first time. On defense, Dashon Goldson isn’t that guy either. Special teams captain Tress Way certainly isn’t. It will be interesting to see if Scot McCloughan puts an emphasis on acquiring a strong leader this offseason.

Colt McCoy was asked about the possibility that he could be thrust into the starting quarterback role if Kirk Cousins continues to struggle:
The most important thing--let's not make this about quarterbacks here--the most important thing for us is to go out and find a way to win this week. This is a winnable game, at home, and it's huge for us to find a way to get this thing done and go into our bye week feeling OK, feeling like we can come back and get back in the race. It's not about quarterbacks, it's not about anything other than this whole team rallying around each other and finding a way to win this week.
Reaction: I am always up for a quarterback discussion or even an controversy. But sometimes fans and all too many people in my line of work just make too much out of it. Barring an injury, at this moment McCoy isn’t all that much closer to becoming the Redskins’ starting quarterback than I am. When the team rushes for 34 yards and your defense allows 221 and you lose, quarterback is far from your biggest problem. Things can always change but the team is not on the verge of making a change and McCoy knows it.

Jay Gruden on the importance of Sunday’s game:
Well, it’s big. Obviously, I made that point pretty clear to everybody and I know it’s big for them. Every game should be treated like that. You only get 16 of these things. They’re all equally as important, but when you’re 2-4 and you’re getting pushed into the corner a little bit, I think there comes a point in time where you’ve got to really fight. That’s where we are right now. We are getting backed into a corner right now and I hope our guys come out swinging. I know they will. I know I will.
Reaction: A coach has to be careful when he says that one game is more important than the other 15, especially before December. But Gruden is right to put this one on another level. They just can’t lose to Tampa Bay at home for a second straight year. Yes, the Bucs are better than they were last year but if the Redskins have improved at all over last year they have to win this winnable game.

Kirk Cousins talking about his performance in the Jets game:
“I don’t think it was a great performance. You know, it was a lot of different reasons, a lot of different things going on, but it wasn’t what we wanted. We’re better than that and we will be better than that going forward. I do want to credit the Jets. They had a good plan and they have great players and a really good team. They’re 4-1 for a reason. We certainly ran into a good challenge. We can be much better and we will be much better going forward.”
Reaction: I’m sure that the many Cousins detractors out there won’t think that Cousins is beating himself up here nearly as badly as he should. Some will think he should channel Jim Zorn and call himself “the worst quarterback in America”. But this is perfectly appropriate to say at a news conference, the right blend of taking responsibility, tipping his cap to the opposition, and being optimistic about the future.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Patriots 17; Saints @ Redskins 23

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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.