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Think the Redskins are flawed? Well, so is nearly everyone else in the NFC

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USA TODAY Sports

Think the Redskins are flawed? Well, so is nearly everyone else in the NFC

One alarming loss in a bland home opener uncovered a few early flaws with the 2018 Redskins: The wide receivers and Alex Smith have yet to really connect, the supposed-to-be-dominant defensive line isn't dominating so far and the running game dropped off big-time following a perfect Week 1.

All of those issues could seriously derail the team's season if they aren't addressed and improved. Luckily for the 'Skins, the rest of the NFC is dealing with their own problems, too.

Through two weeks, the conference — which was supposed to make the NBA's vaunted Western side look average — has just two undefeated teams: The Rams (not surprising) and the Bucs (very, very surprising). Every other organization has one or zero wins.

The Packers and Vikings are still undefeated thanks to a Week 2 tie and they both figure to be relevant through December.

Green Bay, however, has to worry about every single Aaron Rodgers dropback. That is a lot more worrisome than, say, Smith's chemistry with his outside targets.

Now, look around at the NFC East.

The Eagles notched an impressive win vs. the Falcons but then were taken out by the High Flyin' Ryan Fitzpatricks (again, maybe Tampa Bay is actually legit, but it's hard to imagine that this is something that'll carry on all season).

Sure, they're getting Carson Wentz back, and Wentz will give them an enormous boost. But he's returning from a serious knee injury and also won't do anything for their 28th-ranked pass defense.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, have a strong defense but an uninspiring offense. Then there's the Giants, who made the wise choice of putting an aging passer behind a decrepit offensive line.

Washington fans who are panicking can take solace in the fact that, for now, the division is jumbled.

So, how's everyone else holding up? 

The Saints were blown out to start the year and needed the Browns to be Browns-y to avoid an 0-2 start.

The Panthers are formidable but will ultimately go as far as Cam Newton can take them, and he could use a pass catcher outside of Christian McCaffrey to step up.

The Falcons have lost a few key defenders to injuries already and Steve Sarkisian makes plenty of questionable playcalls with that talented offense.

The 49ers are finding out that Jimmy Garoppolo isn't the solution to everything.

The Bears are scary with Khalil Mack and Co., but can Mitch Trubisky evolve enough to elevate the offense?

Then there are the Lions, Cardinals and Seahawks, all already in 0-2 holes and possibly already out of contention.

Where the Redskins stand in the NFC is still unclear; they aced their first test then totally flunked their second. But it's necessary to remember that nearly every other franchise is still figuring things out, too. 

The fact of the matter is the Burgundy and Gold are 1-1 and right in the thick of the race.

No one is pulling away in the NFC East and some other preseason contenders are stuck in neutral. Beating the Colts would've been really useful — especially if the standings are still tight come playoff time — but the loss didn't doom them by any stretch. 

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Two examples of why ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky believes Dwayne Haskins will excite Redskins fans

Two examples of why ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky believes Dwayne Haskins will excite Redskins fans

Scott Turner was asked about quarterback Dwayne Haskins' growth this offseason during a Zoom call with local media earlier this week, and the new Redskins offensive coordinator explained he was pleased with both Haskins' physical and mental progress.

Besides raving about the second-year quarterbacks imposing size and natural arm strength, Turner also dove into specific detail about one other thing that really stood out to him about Haskins: his ability to stand tall in the pocket and deliver a throw without much space.

Former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky took to Twitter on Friday, tweeting out two video examples from Haskins' rookie season where the quarterback demonstrated the qualities Turner raved about.

The first example was a clip from the Redskins Week 11 contest against the Jets. The play went down in the scorebook as a 24-yard completion to Kelvin Harmon, but what the quarterback had to do in order to make this play successful was quite impressive.

For this play, Orlovsky explained how Haskins identified where the pressure was coming from pre-snap, causing him to shift the entire protection to the left. After the running back missed his block, Haskins didn't panic. The then-rookie QB stepped up in the pocket and fired a dart to Harmon on the in-route as the receiver broke open in the middle of the field.

"This is one of my favorite plays by him last year," Orlovsky explained. "It really is an example of the intellectual aspect of quarterback play with the feel aspect of quarterback play."

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The second clip was from Washington's clash in Green Bay last season. On this particular snap, Haskins showed his mastery of the Packers' defense.

Haskins' initial read was to the right side, where Harmon was running an inside post route. But once the quarterback saw his first read was covered, he continued to look right, forcing Packers' safety Darnell Savage to slide in that direction. The passer then immediately turned to his backside, which created an open throwing lane to find Terry McLaurin in the middle of the field.

"It really shows a complete understanding of what the defense is, what the coverage is, and then a complete understanding of who on the defense he needs to move with his eyes to open up a window," Orlovsky said.

It's fair to mention that the Redskins would not win either of these games and that the rookie passer had his struggles in each of these contests. It's no secret that Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie, and there were examples of such in each of these matchups, too.

But Haskins did finish the season playing the best football of his young career, giving some hope for the future. Count Orlovsky in on those who are optimistic about the quarterback as he enters his second season with the team and his first as the team's true starter.

"There are so many examples on his tape that show how smart he actually is," Orlovsky said. 

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Kirk Cousins ranked ninth on Forbes' top 100 highest-paid athletes in 2020

Kirk Cousins ranked ninth on Forbes' top 100 highest-paid athletes in 2020

Former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is among the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2020, according to Forbes.

Cousins, who came in as the ninth highest-paid athlete overall, is the top-ranked NFL athlete on the list, coming in one spot above Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Forbes estimated the Vikings QB's earnings at $60.5 million, with $58 million coming from his salary and $2.5 million from his endorsements.

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In March, Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million extension with the Vikings, one that included a $30 million signing bonus. The signal-caller originally signed with the Vikings in 2018 on a three-year, fully-guaranteed $84 million deal that at the time made him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The Vikings signal-caller has earned over $130 million in his career thus far, according to OverTheCap.

Cousins spent the first six seasons of his career with the Redskins, with three of those years as the team's starter. The quarterback set the franchise's single-season passing yards record in 2016 when he threw for 4,917 yards for Washington. His 29 touchdown passes in 2017 were the second-most by any Redskins quarterback in a single-season.

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