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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mistakes and blame in the Cousins affair

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mistakes and blame in the Cousins affair

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 10, four days before NFL free agency starts.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on NBCSportsWashington.com and RealRedskins.com.

Redskins made a big mistake with Kirk Cousins—Fans could look at this headline a few different ways. Some think that the team made a mistake in letting Cousins walk away, that they should have found a way to get a deal done. Others think they made a mistake by keeping him around for two years with $44 million in salary leading to zero playoff appearances. The article is about neither of the above, take a look to see what JP Finlay had to say.

Could combine performances of Smith, Edmunds affect Redskins' free agency strategy—Player acquisition is divided up into free agency and the draft, but the reality is that one affects the other. I doubt that Redskins will sign a free agent running back because the draft pool will let them get one who is younger, cheaper, and with less punishment on his body. And the supply of inside linebackers at the top of the draft could affect how they deal with Zach Brown.

News and notes from the NFL scouting combine—There are lots of interesting nuggets in here. My favorites were interest in an LSU running back and a Washington nose tackle.

Five running backs who could be on the Redskins' draft radar—This is, of course, a very limited look. I’d guess that the Redskins have it narrowed down to 15 or so backs on whom they are doing some serious work.

Tweet of the week

This was in response to an SNF on NBC tweet that read “Washington wasn’t willing to commit to Kirk Cousins.”

This tweet got a lot of blowback, much of which was of the simple kneejerk variety. To some, Cousins reacted to everything perfectly rationally while the Redskins were unfair and acted in bad faith. Others think that Cousins was at fault for simply signing the tags the Redskins gave him, not being very interested in negotiating and being greedy.

The simple truth is that a deal was always unlikely to happen. The Redskins were not interested in paying him what he would get on the open market. He did not want to give the Redskins a hometown discount. That makes him smart in a business where careers are short and teams will let you go the moment you no longer serve their purposes, not greedy.

If Starbucks is negotiating to put a new store in the strip mall near your house and the deal isn’t completed, nobody was greedy, and nobody was necessarily dealing in bad faith. It’s just a possible business deal that didn’t come to fruition. The Redskins-Cousins saga played out on a much bigger stage than the Starbucks lease negotiations but it’s essentially the same thing.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 37
—NFL Draft (4/26) 47
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 183

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

The most significant thing to come from Trent Williams' spontaneous chat with the media on Wednesday is that the left tackle expects to be ready for training camp.

But two other topics Williams covered while talking were his initial impressions of new teammates Alex Smith and Derrius Guice. 

And while having one player compliment other players in the offseason is the second-most common thing in the NFL behind the Browns losing games, No. 71 went beyond the normal, clichéd positivity you're used to hearing. 

He was first asked about Smith, a QB he'd only met at the Pro Bowl until these offseason sessions in Ashburn.

“He’s a winner," Williams said. "As you all know, you don’t win in this league without a quarterback, so us being able to have one and have one right now, it does everything for our team and our attitude and the faith we have to win."

Next came a question about Guice, the rookie who looks like the most talented running back to date that Williams will have the pleasure of blocking for. What are his thoughts on the LSU product?

"When you watch him on film it's like he's been here before," Williams observed. "He's a specimen."

As for the 'Skins being able to snag Guice where they did in the draft, the 29-year-old admitted he was quite surprised.

"Extremely lucky to get him in the second round," he said. "I don't know how that happened... It's not going to take very long before people recognize him as an elite NFL talent."

Williams is coming off of surgery, will turn 30 in July and, during last season, spoke about how the injuries he constantly fought through started to take a toll on him. Ready to hear something sad? He's never won a playoff game.

So, for a veteran who's aging like him and who hasn't captured anything of signifigance yet, having confidence and trust in his backfield is paramount. Fortunately, judging by the quotes above, it sounds like Williams is already there when it comes to Smith and Guice.

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