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Redskins' Cousins doesn't believe contract is affecting his play

Redskins' Cousins doesn't believe contract is affecting his play

ASHBURN — Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins’ season is off to a rocky start.

While Cousins is unable to pinpoint exactly what the issue is, he doesn’t believe that it is related to the fact that he is playing on the franchise tag, which amounts to a one-year contract.

“I don't think it weighs on me as much as it may seem,” he said during a news conference at Redskins Park.

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“I've said this a lot and I feel like a broken record, I'm always on a one-year deal, I'm on a one-game deal. I've got to prove it over and over and over. If I had been on a contract that is lasting many more years I would still feel like if I don't play well this year they're going to look for someone else. That doesn't really have a whole lot to do with any type of desire or expectation to play well.”

Cousins is right; most multiyear NFL contracts are really a series of one-year contracts.

The team can end the deal at any time, although the amount of guaranteed money due to the player may make them hesitant to do so. Regardless, a player’s performance has to remain at a level that justifies his pay grade or he will soon find himself looking for a job. That pressure is on nearly every NFL player.

Cousins pointed out that even if there is pressure on him he has demonstrated in the past that he can play well in spite of it.

He recalled the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Philadelphia last year with the division title on the line. Cousins completed 31 of 46 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns as the Redskins won 38-24.

“I think that if you were to say, Kirk, against the Eagles with the division title on the line on to road were you at all stressed I'd say ‘yeah’,” he said. “My heart's racing in that game, I mean, I took a knee right before halftime. You think I was feeling happy-go-lucky going into the locker room at halftime on the road having taken a knee to cost my team three points or a possible touchdown? No. I mean, the point is you've got to play well through whatever's going on. When you don't, obviously, the initial reaction is it must be something. But I think a lot of those same things were present when I played at a high level, too.”

He was referring to a play just before halftime where he took a knee, allowing the clock to run out, rather than spiking the ball to allow another play or to allow the field goal team to come in. It was a moment of confusion that certainly would have been much more of a topic of discussion had the Redskins lost.

It’s business as usual. “There’s going to be pressure, there’s going to be expectations, there’s going to be failures, I’m going to throw picks,” he said. “The key is going to be, can I continue to just keep grinding and keep pushing and that’s really all I know to do and all I’m going to do and we’ll just let the chips fall where they may.”

The Redskins hope the chips start falling in the right places soon.

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

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What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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