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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins hire Joe Barry?

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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins hire Joe Barry?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 23, 97 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock for the first round of the NFL draft.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

The Redskins’ decision to hire Joe Barry certainly was a controversial move, one widely criticized by fans and by some in the media. I wasn’t on the inside of this decision, only a select few were. All I can do is try to read the tea leaves and also go on my knowledge of how things work around the NFL.

Here are some of the reasons why they went with Barry:

—Here is Jay Gruden’s explanation for the hire: “He brings energy. Commitment to being great,” Gruden said in Mobile. “I like what he’s done in his career – how he’s progressed as a football coach: going to USC and now he’s in the 3-4 system with San Diego. Really have a great appreciation for what they’ve done in San Diego. They get the most out of their players, have a good scheme.”

—The talk around Redskins Park was that the Redskins wanted to go with someone younger than Wade Phillips, who will be 68 before training camp starts. They wanted someone who could better relate to younger players. Phillips certainly has a great resume but that’s not everything. And while many noted that no other teams seemed to be after Barry to hire him as their defensive coordinator, look at Phillips’ situation. In the past two NFL hiring cycles I believe that around half of the NFL teams have hired new defensive coordinators and Phillips remains without a job. For whatever reason, the Redskins weren’t the only team to find that Phillips doesn’t fit what they are looking for.

—With Barry’s Tampa Bay connections, was there an element of cronyism involved? Probably. But I suspect that Barry benefitted more from the fact that Gruden worked on the same Bucs staff as him, not the fact that Bruce Allen was the general manager in Tampa. Regardless, I’d say that about 60 to 75 percent of NFL coaching hires involve one guy hiring another guy he’s worked with before and there are only one or two degrees of separation involved in the rest of them. These people have to spend literally thousands of hours together from training camp through the season and if there are personality clashes the wheels can come off of the operation. That’s why so many coaches prefer to go with a known quantity.

—What about Vic Fangio? It seemed that he’d rather work for John Fox in Chicago. That could be a better situation for him to get the NFL head coaching job he wants. Fangio not getting a formal offer is just a technicality. Had he called back on Monday or Tuesday and said that he wanted to talk more about the job they would have come up with an offer quickly.

—Finally, Barry had a great interview. Many fans scoff at that as a factor but Gruden like the vision he laid out for the Redskins’ defense. Wasn’t the interview kind of important when you got your current job?

There is plenty of cause for skepticism about the hire. Not much that this organization has done has gone right for the last couple of decades. Fans can be mad about it or they can wait and see.

Timeline

—It’s been 26 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 233 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 27; NFL free agency starts 46; 2015 NFL Draft 97

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: