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True or false: Kirk Cousins will be the Redskins’ quarterback in 2017

True or false: Kirk Cousins will be the Redskins’ quarterback in 2017

Kirk Cousins is playing on a one-year contract, which is what the franchise tag boils down to. There is a report that the team will try to identify an alternative to Cousins behind center if his contract demands greatly exceed what the Redskins are willing to pay. How will this play out? Cousins is locked in for this season but what about a year from now? Tandler and Tarik get out the crystal ball and analyze the situation.

Tandler: True

Let’s start with the other side of coin first. I’m not completely ruling out Cousins being gone next year. He could have a 2016 season similar to the first six games of last year with more interceptions than touchdowns and a bottom dwelling passer rating of 77. That would make it highly unlikely that the Redskins would want to invest the $24 million it would take to franchise tag him a second time in 2017. That would open the door for Cousins to sign elsewhere.

But there is no logical reason to believe that Cousins will crater this season. There has been a lot of talk of a tougher schedule making things rough on him. But last year they played four games against the top 10 defenses (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA); this year they also play four of the top 10. Just like last year he will have chances to shine and some likely rough patches.

The Cousins of 2016 has two distinct advantages over last year’s version. He is getting the entire offseason to work with the first team; last year he and Colt McCoy shared second- and third-team reps while Robert Griffin III got the work with the starters. And he has added weapons in Josh Doctson, Vernon Davis and, the team hopes, closer to a full season from DeSean Jackson.

The most likely scenario is for Cousins to play well enough to earn either another tag or a long-term contract. If it’s the latter the question is settled at least for the next few years. If they play tag again the real drama will take place in 2018 when another tag will cost a whopping $34 million for one season.


El-Bashir: True

I was a little surprised the sides didn’t try harder to bridge the gap. But I can also appreciate the stance that each took. Burned by RG3’s epic flameout, the Redskins wanted more data on Cousins before committing. Meantime, Cousins’ camp saw no reason to accept less than the sum of back-to-back franchise tags ($44 million).

It's not an ideal situation for Cousins, who wanted to take ownership but had to settle for a lease. It is, however, a situation that he's got plenty of experience with. 

I haven’t been shy about saying that I think he'll prove himself again. There's simply too much evidence to support that argument. Sure, the schedule gets tougher. And, yeah, defenses are going to be better prepared for him. But I still really like Cousins' chances based on a few things: the talent level around him is higher; he’s in lockstep with the coaches and completely in command of an offense that’s been tailored to his strengths from Day 1 of the offseason program; and, perhaps most importantly, he’s a more polished and confident player, which he displayed during OTAs and minicamp.

And, as I said earlier this week, I don’t suspect Cousins is the type of person to allow a disappointing negotiation to affect his attitude or performance. If anything, he’s the anti-diva, especially having gone through the ups-and-downs he endured in Washington the past few years. 

That’s a longwinded way of saying I think Cousins is going to match, if not surpass, the performance he produced down the stretch in 2015. Which will leave the Redskins with just one option—handing over the guaranteed money they were so reluctant to part with this summer.


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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 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 Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 


The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.


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