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Trade? What trade? Jay Gruden 'fully anticipates' Kirk Cousins to be Redskins QB

Trade? What trade? Jay Gruden 'fully anticipates' Kirk Cousins to be Redskins QB

If there's anybody at Redskins Park that Kirk Cousins owes, it's Jay Gruden. The head coach put his faith in Cousins two seasons ago, naming him the starting quarterback for the 2015 season, and largely the results have been strong. 

In two seasons with Cousins at the helm, the 'Skins have a 17-14-1 record and have piled up more than 9,000 passing yards, breaking numerous franchise records in the process. While their success hasn't been tremendous, the duo of Gruden and Cousins has put the Burgundy and Gold in a competitive position for the future.

Assuming the Redskins keep their quarterback. 

"We’d like to keep Kirk here obviously," the coach said to reporters in Indianapolis. "We think he’s going to be our quarterback for a long time."

As of now, the Redskins offered Cousins a guaranteed $24 million contract for 2017. The team and representatives for the QB are expected to talk about a long-term deal while at the Scouting Combine, and in January, Redskins president Bruce Allen said he expects to get a long-term deal done.

"It's very important to have your quarterback in place. We know how important that is in pro football," Gruden said. "We see his progress, we see the progress thats he’s going to make, we're excited about that." 

In 2015 Cousins threw for 4,166 yards starting 16 games. In 2016, Cousins threw for 4,917 yards starting 16 games. That's discernible progress. 

"We do like where he’s going with his game."

Gruden liking Cousins' game is the obvious part. The much harder part, however, is getting a deal done. 

"Both parties have to come up with something. We could offer [Cousins] the world but if he doesn’t want to sign it he doesn’t have to sign it," the coach said. "And we have to do maybe a better job. So, I think it'll happen."

It's interesting that Gruden suggested it's up to Cousins to accept an offer. Some might argue it's up to the Redskins to make a realistic offer, something that didn't happen during this same contract dance in 2016.

Regardless, those decisions are not up to Gruden.

"I leave all those tags up to Bruce and obviously Scott."

Asked why the organization went with the exclusive franchise tag over the non-exclusive tag it used last year, Gruden joked, "it’s got a cooler name to it."

The actuality is the exclusive tag lets the Redskins control the proceedings, and perhaps, shows Cousins they are serious about getting a deal done. 

"I think it will happen. I really do. I'm gonna coach the players that are here and I fully anticipate Kirk to be the quarterback."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 21, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 11:45 a.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 9
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 19
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 26

Quantifying the problem with giving up late points:

Anyone who has watched the Redskins this year knows that they have had problems keeping other teams from scoring points late in the first half and at the end of the game. How bad is the problem? Let’s look at the numbers.

The Redskins have given up 266 points on the season. That’s 31st in the NFL. Of those points, 96 have been scored in last three minutes of the first and second halves. Opponents have put up 12 touchdowns, eight one-point conversions, two two-point conversions, and four field goals.

For comparison, the average NFL team has given up around 40 points near the end of each half. Looking at defensive scores allowed only (two of the late touchdowns against Washington were on returns), the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns while no other team has allowed more than seven. The average is 3.96 touchdowns given up late by each team.

You can look at it this way. In the first 27 minutes of each half of their 10 games, the Redskins have given up 170 points, or about .31 points per minute. In the other six minutes of the games, the final three of each half, the Redskins give up 1.6 points per minute played.

How have the Redskins done scoring points late in each half? They have put up five touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 44 points.

How does this affect the big picture? On the season, the Redskins’ net point differential is minus-28. If you take out the late scores, they are at plus-24. It usually works out that the teams that have positive point differentials have winning records and those with negative performances are under .500.

We saw that big picture up close on Sunday. At the end of the first half, it looked like the Redskins were going to get at least a field goal as they had a nice drive going. But the drive stalled, a false start forced them to abandon even a field goal try and the Saints put together a quick drive for a field goal as time in the half ran out. Then, of course, there was the touchdown and tying two-point conversion with just over a minute left in regulation. That’s minus-10 in the last three minutes of a game they lost in overtime.

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.

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: The NFC is much better than the AFC through 11 weeks

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: The NFC is much better than the AFC through 11 weeks

Through 11 weeks, the NFL's playoff picture is far from clear. But one thing is: The NFC is the superior conference. 

And that's not just because Nathan Peterman plays in the AFC.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S NEW POWER RANKINGS CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE

In this week's rankings, seven teams in the top 10 come from the NFC. The middle and back-end of the rankings even out, but at the top, one side of the league is stronger than the other.

The bottom line is that a few deserving squads in the NFC will miss out on the postseason. Meanwhile, in the opposite conference, a couple of mediocre ones will be playing in January.

To see who lands where overall in the post-Week 11 breakdown, click the link above or below. You know who No. 32 is, but there was plenty of movement in the other 31 spots.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S NEW POWER RANKINGS CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE