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Redskins have opportunities but fall to Falcons

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Redskins have opportunities but fall to Falcons

The injury toRobert Griffin IIIwasthemajor storyline after Sundays 24-17 loss to the Falcons.Concern No. 2? The state of the teams shaky kicking game.A week after missing his first three field goal attempts before making a job-saving 41-yarder in Tampa,Billy Cundiffwent 1 for 2 at FedEx Field, connecting from 23 and missing from 31.As Cundiff pointed out, the Redskins lost by seven points, not three. But who knows how the game would have turned out had Washington pulled ahead 10-0 in the second quarter? Thats a very makable kick, Cundiff said. I should have made it. Lets just keep it simple: I just missed it. Its my responsibility to make those kicks and it just didnt happen.Cundiff is now 7 for 12 on the season.Asked if he was unfocused or distracted by previous misses, he said. I dont think so. I just think I missed it, to be perfectly honest. I should have.After last weeks struggles, CoachMike Shanahanelected not to audition kickers. Its unclear whether hell do so this week.Im disappointed, especially when its a chip shot there, Shanahan said. I never say anything right after a game. You let 24 hours go by and collect your thoughts and make decisions based on what you think gives you the best chance to win.Cundiff said he wont worry about a decision thats not in his hands.Its not my job to worry, he said. My job is to focus on what I do and thats make kicks. It is frustrating. ...You look at the final score, even if I would have made that field goal, we would have needed four more points.Some other notes, quotes and observations from todays loss:Home (not) sweet home:After Sundays loss the Redskins eight in a row at FedExField the team has now gone almost 13 months between victories on its home turf.The last win, in fact, was a 22-21 win over the Cardinals on Sept. 18, 2011.Its kind of confusing trying to figure out what the common theme is, nose tackle Barry Cofield said. But I dont really see one. Theres been all sorts of different types of games, different types of opponents. Weve played some tough games and played some games where we came out flat. I dont know. All I know is we have to get it figured out. If we dont bounce back quick, well be out of this division race.Teachable moment for RG3?:Lorenzo Alexander said he hopes Griffin realizes the importance of avoiding hits such as the one that knocked him out of the game. Alexander said Griffin should have thrown the ball away instead of trying to make something out of nothing.He was good, Alexander said. Hes coherent and responsive. Obviously, his spirits were down because hes a fighter and wanted to come back out and play. But health comes before anything. He has nothing to prove to us; we know hes a tough guy. Any type of concussion is serious business. Hopefully he learns from it by throwing the ball away and not taking shots like that.By the numbers:Dating back to last weeks game, the Redskins have converted just three of their 20 third downs, including a woeful 1 of 9 against the Falcons.Atlanta, by comparison, was 9 of 17.Play of the game:Ryan Kerrigans second career interception returned for a touchdown.Early in the second quarter, Kerrigan stepped between Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner and leaped and grabbed Ryans attempted. Twenty-eight yards later, Kerrigan was in the end zone and the Redskins had a 7-0 lead.Just looking at Ryans release, Kerrigan said. Trying to make sure I was in the throwing lane. Not too jump too soon, not to jump too late. Fortunately, I timed the jumped well.It was the Redskins third defensive touchdown of the season, marking the most since the team racked up four in 1999.Elite company:Running back Alfred Morris surpassed the 100 yard mark for the second consecutive week, amassing a career-high 115 yards on 18 carries. His 6.4-yard per carry average was the best of his young career.Morris joined Eric Dickerson as the only rookies to rush for at least 75 yards in their teams first five games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.The 500 Club:With two receptions, including a 77-yard touchdown catch, veteran Santana Moss recorded his 500threception with the Redskins. Only Art Monk, Charley Taylor and Gary Clark have as many.Quotable:Alfred Morris: We have work to do and there is always room for improvement. We have the weapons. We have what it takes to be something great. But it all comes down to how bad we want it. After this loss, we have to get back to the drawing board, get back to working hard, probably rearrange some things.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

In case you missed it

 

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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.