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Playoff loss to Packers still in the minds of Redskins, Joe Barry

Playoff loss to Packers still in the minds of Redskins, Joe Barry

The situation is similar: A slumping Packers team traveling to Washington to face the Redskins in a primetime game. It's happening this Sunday night, just as it happened 10 months ago when Green Bay knocked the 'Skins out of the playoffs in a 35-18 road win. 

In that game, Aaron Rodgers voiced confidence coming to face the Washington defense, and he was eventually proved right. The Packers quarterback threw for more than 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that game, and Washington defensive coordinator Joe Barry has not forgotten it, not a single play. With Green Bay again coming to Washington, Barry reminded his players how close things were in the second half before the Packers put things out of reach. 

"We went back and I showed the guys a play today, with five minutes left in the third quarter, they went for it on fourth-and-one at midfield and got it," Barry said on Thursday. "At that point, we were winning 17-18."

Barry's memory of the game is vivid, the coach has watched that game, and that play, numerous times in the 10 months since it happened. 

"What I was trying to get the point across to the guys is anytime in the National Football League, obviously in playoff football, but anytime you have got to play 60 minutes. You have got to play every snap. You have got to be perfect and on your A-game every snap, because, obviously, the other team is trying to do that."

The Redskins actually outgained the Packers in that game, 354 to 346, though the Packers were able to score in bunches. Green Bay scored 17 points in the second quarter and 11 in the fourth, running the ball well in both spots. In the first and third quarters, however, the Skins defense limited the Packers to just one touchdown.

"At times we played very well last year, but when you go against a guy like No. 12 [Aaron Rodgers] you have got to be on it every snap because he demands that type of perfection," Barry said. 

Over their last five games Barry's defense has allowed more than 20 points just once - the overtime tie with the Bengals in London. Largely, the unit is playing well, particularly in the second half of games. 

That won't matter though Sunday night against Rodgers. And Barry knows it. 

"If you slip, if you're off, he's going to make you pay for it."

RELATED: Packers coach has high praise for Kirk Cousins

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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. 

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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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