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'I'm so grateful': Kirk Cousins downplays any bad blood with Redskins

'I'm so grateful': Kirk Cousins downplays any bad blood with Redskins

If there is any bad blood between Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and the franchise he spent the first six seasons of his NFL career with, he certainly didn't show it on Tuesday.

In anticipation of his first matchup against the Redskins since signing with Minnesota last offseason, Cousins was asked an array of questions regarding his time in the Burgundy and Gold. He spoke glowingly of the organization, thanking them numerous times for giving him a chance when no other team would.

"For me, when I think of my time in Washington, I think of the word gratitude," Cousins said to reporters in Minneapolis on Tuesday. "I'm so grateful to be drafted by them. When 31 teams hadn't picked me, the Redskins picked me. That means a great deal to me."

"I just have a tremendous memory of the games there, the teammates, the coaches, and I'm so grateful for the people I got to work with," Cousins continued. "The quarterback I am, the player I am and where I am in this league now is largely the result of the coaches I got to play for there and the way they impacted me, and the teammates I got to play with."

Cousins' career in Washington was quite the whirlwind. Drafted three rounds after the supposed-to-be franchise savior Robert Griffin III in 2012, Cousins spent the first three seasons of his career as a backup and a spot starter. But the combination of a concussion that Griffin suffered in the 2015 preseason and the overall ineffectiveness from the No. 2 overall pick led then-Redskins head coach Jay Gruden to name Cousins as the starter just prior to the season.

"I was given an opportunity to start when there weren't many people outside of that building that thought I should," Cousins said. They stuck by me."

Things weren't pretty at first. The Redskins dropped four of their first six games, with Cousins throwing just seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Then in Week 7, everything changed.

"There was a stretch there where we were 2-4, many people thought it should be over, I shouldn't be playing," Cousins said." Then we had that comeback game against the Buccaneers, I yelled the words 'You like that!' and kind of never looked back."

The Redskins went on a tear, winning seven of their last 10 games, including the final four. Washington won the NFC East, and Cousins finished the year with 29 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions.

Cousins' next two years in Washington weren't as successful as 2015, as the Redskins failed to make the postseason both seasons despite being on the cusp of a playoff berth each time. Neither side was able to agree to a long-term contract, with Cousins playing on the infamous franchise tag both years. Washington decided to trade for quarterback Alex Smith in January of 2018, marking the end of Cousins' tenure in Washington.

"That's not something I need to get into today. That's been well documented," Cousins said Tuesday on why the two sides weren't able to come to a long-term deal. "It's about winning a football game this week and trying to get to 6-2 before this long weekend."

While the end of Cousins' era in Washington wasn't pretty, he still had nothing but positive things to say about the Redskins.

"I'm just so grateful," Cousins said of his time in Washington. "I could list the names but I'd probably leave somebody out, but there were some special coaches and some special teammates and people in that organization that I'll relate to the rest of my life. When football is long over, I'll still be calling them and texting them. So that's the simple truth."

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Redskins vs. Jets Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Redskins vs. Jets Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

At 1-8, the Redskins have several changes to make if they hope to end the season on a high note. That has started by making a change at quarterback, as interim head coach Bill Callahan has named rookie Dwayne Haskins the team's starting QB for the rest of the season.

Haskins will make his first home start this Sunday, as the Redskins host the 2-7 Jets. The rookie will hope to end a 13-quarter touchdown drought the Burgundy and Gold are currently in, as Washington has not punched it in the end zone since their Week 6 victory in Miami.

Second-year running back Derrius Guice, who hasn't played since Week 1, returns on Sunday. The LSU product should help the Redskins in multiple ways, taking some of the load of veteran Adrian Peterson and also in the passing game as well.

New York is coming off their second victory of the season, defeating their cross-town rival, the Giants, 34-27.

The Redskins lead the Jets in the all-time series, 8-3, but New York has won the past two contests. Here's everything you need to know.

REDSKINS vs. JETS WEEK 11

Who: Washington Redskins (1-8) vs. New York Jets (2-7)

What: Week 11 of the 2019 NFL regular season

When: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, 1 p.m. ET

Where: FedExField, Landover, Maryland

TV Channel: FOX

Live Stream: Stream on FuboTV, Pregame and postgame coverage streaming on NBCSportsWashington.com

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Spread: Redskins, -1.5

Over/Under: 38.5

Weather:  43 degrees, cloudy

REDSKINS vs. JETS TV SCHEDULE:

8:30 a.m.: Pro Football Weekly

9:00 a.m.: Redskins Talk: Week 11

10:00 a.m.: Inside the Redskins

11:00 a.m.: Redskins Coaches Show

11:30 a.m.: Redskins Nation

12:00 p.m.: Redskins Kickoff Live

4:00 p.m.: Redskins Postgame Live 

REDSKINS 2019 SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, Redskins at Eagles (L, 32-27)

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, Cowboys at Redskins, (L, 31-21)

Week 3: Monday, Sept. 23, Bears at Redskins, (L, 31-15)

Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, Redskins at Giants, (L, 24-3)

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, Patriots at Redskins, (L, 33-7)

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, Redskins at Dolphins, (W, 17-16)

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, 49ers at Redskins, 1 p.m. (L, 9-0)

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 24, Redskins at Vikings, 8:20 p.m. (L, 19-9)

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, Redskins at Bills, 1 p.m. (L, 24-9)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, Jets at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, Lions at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, Redskins at Panthers, 1 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, Redskins at Packers, 1 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, Eagles at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, Giants at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, Redskins at Cowboys, 1 p.m.

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The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

Jamison Crowder's final season with the Redskins was injury-shortened and disappointing, so when the team ultimately let him leave and sign a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Jets, there wasn't much pushback.

When Crowder takes the field this Sunday for the Washington-New York matchup, however, plenty of people on the home side will likely wish the receiver was doing so in Burgundy and Gold as opposed to Gotham Green.

The fifth-year pro has 48 catches in 2019 so far, which is 16 more than the Redskins' top target, Terry McLaurin, has hauled in. And if you want to compare Crowder to Trey Quinn, the guy who mans the slot now that Crowder's gone, Crowder has twice as many catches and nearly 300 more yards (486 to 189) than his replacement.

"Anytime we need a big play, he comes up with it," Jets coach Adam Gase said this week. "He's been very quarterback friendly."

Crowder will never be someone who generates a ton of game-changing plays — his yards-per-catch this year is 10.1 and his career average is 11.6 — but quarterback friendly is a perfect way to describe his game and it's a valuable quality, too.

His catch rate, for example, is 73.8-percent, a number that reflects how well he gets open and how much trust his signal callers have in him.

For an offense like Washington's, a unit that hasn't found the end zone in a month, one that is incapable of sustaining drives and one that's devoid of any dangerous wideouts beyond McLaurin, Crowder would make an enormous difference.

"Jamison, when he was here, was productive, outstanding," Bill Callahan told reporters on Thursday. 

Of course, the Redskins didn't just carelessly allow Crowder to depart without having a plan in place to fill in for him. They didn't want to compensate him at that price level and instead hoped a younger draft pick would mitigate the loss, which is what organizations do all the time.

Their plan, unfortunately, just hasn't succeeded.

Jay Gruden and Ike Hilliard were supremely optimistic in Quinn's ability to step up in his second campaign and become a legit threat, and while Callahan praised Quinn's versatility and dependability on Thursday, he just hasn't emerged as any kind of difference maker.

Quinn is far from the only pass catcher who's faltering for the Redskins, sure, but his catch rate is just 58.5-percent despite the fact that he's not running many deep routes. Coaches love his reliable hands, yet those hands aren't translating into enough completions.

Crowder likely won't have that issue in his return to FedEx Field in Week 11, by the way. Greg Manusky's defense allows an NFL-high 78.9-percent completion rate to slot receivers, and No. 82 is coming in off of two strong efforts.

That means you can expect Crowder to stand out versus his old teammates, while also reminding the franchise as a whole of a very simple truth: You get what you pay for. Washington chose not to pay for Crowder, and now, their slogging offense is largely paying for that choice.

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