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Redskins' Kirk Cousins goes next level with his daily planner


Redskins' Kirk Cousins goes next level with his daily planner

Each time Kirk Cousins steps to the podium, we learn a little bit more about the Redskins' starting quarterback and what makes him tick.

This week, Cousins revealed that he uses a digital to-do list to ensure that he stays on task.

This, however, is no ordinary to-do list.

It’s a spreadsheet. Broken down into 15-minute increments from 6 a.m.—9 p.m. Seven days a week. It’s also color-coded—a feature Cousins seemed particularly proud about.

“I’m dead serious," he said. "I color-coded every 15-minute increment with what I’m doing.”   

Effective, efficient time management is critical to success in most professions. And Cousins figured that out—quickly—once he was named the starter back in August.

But Cousins didn’t create the spreadsheet simply because he’s organized and meticulous (which he is). He did it for a couple of more important reasons, as well: No. 1) it reduces the amount of mental energy he expends during the weekly grind and No. 2) it forces him to focus on what’s important while eliminating time-consuming distractions.

After all, there’s no column on the spreadsheet labeled ‘time-consuming distractions.’

“I think developing a weekly rhythm and a weekly routine enables you to turn your brain off and just go through the routine as opposed to having to say, ‘What’s next?’” Cousins explained on Wednesday, asked how his game preparation has evolved during his first season as a full-time starter. “So, at the beginning of the year I just sat down and made a spreadsheet of every 15-minute increment of my day for all seven days of the week and color-coded [it].”

The reporters in the room began to laugh. Cousins, unfazed, continued.

“I said, ‘Alright, I’m in the cold tub at this time,” he said. “I’m eating lunch at this time. On Mondays, it’s spend-time-with-my-wife time.’ I had it organized and the first few weeks you had to get used to that but now in Week 16…14 games in, you have it down to a science and you have a routine where you can just turn your brain off and just go because you know the routine and the schedule. Obviously a short week changes that a little bit but I think going through that as a starting quarterback enables you to develop a rhythm that then can help you operate at your best as you go through it.”

Playing quarterback in the NFL—at a high level, at least—requires attention to detail. And there a few things more detail-oriented than Cousins’ daily schedule.

[GALLERY: Top 10 DMV athletes of 2015]

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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