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True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

Some context: Last year, Kirk Cousins fell 83 yards short of putting up the tenth 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history. He has another year of experience under his belt, but he also lost two of his favorite receiving targets in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.

True or false: Kirk Cousins will pass for over 5,000 yards in 2017.

Rich Tandler: False

My gut instinct was to go with “true” here. I think that Cousins is highly capable of passing for 312.5 yards per game, the number needed over 16 games to get to 5,000 for the year.

The missing receivers will be an obstacle, but not one that is insurmountable. Terrelle Pryor can compile something near Garçon’s 1,041 yards. Josh Doctson isn’t the deep threat that Jackson is, of course, but he can get 700 yards and Jamison Crowder can make up the difference. Good quarterbacks make receivers productive and Cousins can do that.

RELATED: ONE SCENARIO WHERE SUDFELD WOULD TAKE OVER FOR COUSINS

But while I think Cousins can be efficient when he does pass, I don’t think he will pass as often. He threw 606 times last year, breaking his own team record by almost four passes per game. Meanwhile, the Redskins had the fourth-most efficient rushing game in the league last year but they ran the ball only 379 times, 27th in the NFL.

Armed with Rob Kelley with a season under his belt, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine, and versatile third-down back Chris Thompson, I think that Jay Gruden will look at the big picture and believe that he can get better results with more running and less passing.

I don’t think that there will be a drastic switch in the offensive philosophy, just enough to bring Cousins’ pass attempts down closer to where they were in 2015. If he throws 550 times he would have to average nine yards per pass to get to 5K in the air. He’s good, but that’s Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino territory and I don’t see him getting there.

JP Finlay: False.

Agreeing with Tandler here. Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about how much he likes Rob Kelley and how the Redskins need to have more balance in their offensive attack.

In three years with Gruden as head coach in Washington, Redskins quarterbacks have thrown the ball 547, 555 and 607 times. That progression occured as former offensive coordinator Sean McVay took over play calling and Kirk Cousins' ascended to the top QB spot. Last season's 607 passes is likely too much, and Gruden will probably work to get that total back around the 550 mark.

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Cousins will have another productive year, but I think 4,500 yards will be the path to wins. Last season, Cousins padded some stats in hollow losses. No game stands out more than a Monday night loss to the Panthers. In that game, Cousins threw the ball nearly 50 times and piled up 315 yards. He also threw one interception and no touchdowns. The Redskins lost 26-15, and while the run game was wholly ineffective, the entire offense was shut down by the Carolina defense. 

Gruden wants balance. The Redskins will never be a true 50/50 run/pass split, but expect to see less games with Cousins throwing around 50 times.

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

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

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Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.