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Third down issues affecting Redskins offense and defense

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Third down issues affecting Redskins offense and defense

After five games, the Redskins rank dead last in the NFL in third down conversion rate.They converted only one of nine third downs in Sundays 24-17 loss to the undefeated Falcons, dropping the teams success rate to 23.3 percent (14 for 60) as Redskins record slipped to 2-3. Over the past two weeks, in fact, Washington is just 3 for 20 on third downs.We missed a third down and one, third down and two, third down and three, Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday, rattling off the missed opportunities. Obviously, its an area where we have to get better at. We were also 0 for 2 in the red zone, an area where we had been good. So you take the combination of being 1 for 9 on third downs and 0 for 2 in the red zone, its really hard to win a football game.Fullback Darrel Young added: We got to start making plays. Third downs have been our shortcoming.The Redskins had the second-worst conversion rate in 2010 before jumping to 15thlast season. Now theyre scuffling again.Weve been putting ourselves in better situations on first and second downs, Young said. But we have to get over that hump. Thats what we need to win games.In addition to hurting the teams point production, it has an adverse affect on the defense, as Young pointed out.But 81 snaps is entirely too much for any defense,"Young said, referring to the number of plays Atlanta ran on offense. "We have to take at least 15 to 20 snaps away just to help them. Its on the offense.Its important, Young added. I cant say we have to take more pride, because guys are serious about what were doing on third down. Its just were not executing.

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Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden sounds like he might be ready to again coach Kirk Cousins on a one-year contract, whether he likes it or not.

"Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to coach whoever is in the building, and if we get (Cousins) for a one-year, it’s a one year," Gruden told NBC Sports Washington (full video above).

"We’ll do the best we can with it."

At this point, Gruden knows the problems of coaching a quarterback on a one-year contract, as the Redskins have deployed the franchise tag on Cousins the past two seasons. Should Washington again look to tag Cousins, the price tag jumps to a wild $34 million for the 2018 season. Keep in mind, however, the NFL salary cap might outpace projections and creep all the way to $180 million, driving down the percentage of cap occupied by Cousins. 

Both Cousins and Gruden have talked about wanting long-term clarity, and while it's hard to say if the one-year deals impact on-field play, they take a toll on offseason planning. 

Regardless, Gruden moved quick to clear up any confusion about his relationship with Cousins. 

Asked directly if there was tension with Cousins, Gruden said, " No. I'm tired of the questions about the one-year deal."

Understandably, Gruden seems frustrated with the nature of contract talks between the Redskins and Cousins.

In 2016, Washington low-balled Cousins in contract talks and the QB decided to play on the franchise tag. In 2017, Washington made a low but reasonable offer to start contract talks, but Cousins decided not to negotiate, and again played on a one-year franchise tag. 

In 2018, it could be more of the same. 

"It seems like we just keep pushing this thing off and off and off, and eventually both sides are going to have to make a decision," Gruden said. "Hopefully that will be soon, but if not, we will see what happens."

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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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

Half of the Final 4 is now set:

January 22: Round two, matchup three

This one was a low-scoring, close affair, but went to the Likes side in the end:

January 23: Round two, matchup four

The last Final 4 spot is up for grabs. 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: