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Against Redskins, Rodgers shows how far ahead of Cousins he is

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Against Redskins, Rodgers shows how far ahead of Cousins he is

LANDOVER, Md. — Fans and analysts alike were making comparisons between Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers all week, with some even saying that the Redskins had the advantage at quarterback despite the fact that Green Bay's passer is a five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion, while Washington's had never started a playoff game.

Those conversations look foolish now, however, after Rodgers and the Packers easily dispatched Cousins and the Redskins Sunday evening at FedEx Field. And when I asked the Packers' signal caller whether he had paid attention to the talk at all during the week, his answer was as quick and precise as his play.

"No," Rodgers said, before giving a quick smile. 

He later explained himself a little further, saying that overall, he and his teammates aren't very fond of listening to outside judgments.

"We don't really care about any of the expectations, whether they're talking about picking Kirk over myself or talking about how everybody expected us to lose this game," he said." We don't care about those opinions out there."

Whether he heard the discussions or not, #12 put together an in-control performance that was methodical and slowly sucked the life out of what was, at kickoff, a very loud and energetic stadium. His final numbers aren't startling (21-of-36 for 210 yards and two touchdowns), but he was clearly the better, calmer, and more experienced QB over Cousins, who was under duress for much of the matchup and picked up a major chunk of his yards on checkdowns and late in the fourth quarter when the outcome was already decided.

"He's just one heck of a quarterback," Jay Gruden said afterward of arguably the league's top starter. "Anytime he's in the shotgun or under center, he's got the ball in his hands. He's a special player."

On his offense's first few drives, Rodgers looked a little rushed and out of sync. But after the rocky start, he locked in and, at one point, guided the unit to five consecutive scoring trips. Packers coach Mike McCarthy mentioned that he saw his leader calm down after his initial slump.

"Aaron was playing a little fast at the beginning of the game and just settled in," he said. "There was some uneasiness, particularly on the backed-up series on the second series [which ended with a safety], but once we got going I though he played very well."

As for Cousins (29-of-46 for 329 yards and a touchdown), his streak of impeccable play finally came to an end, and the Burgundy and Gold's magic felt like it simply ran out. He was his usual positive self during postgame interviews, though, and said he intends to use the loss as motivation in the coming months.

"I walked away feeling like this loss catapults our offseason to enable us to have a little bit of an edge, and say, 'Where did we fall short?'" he said. "Hopefully it will challenge us as a young team to grow...This league is so competitive to be able to get to the top or stay near the top. So we've got a lot of work to get there and stay there."

The same could be said for Cousins himself. Because, while he was phenomenal at times in 2015 and quite good for almost all of it, he has a long way to go until a comparison between him and a player like Rodgers isn't a reach. He certainly didn't start or ask for those debates, and apparently, Rodgers didn't listen to them anyways, but on Sunday, they were laid to rest for what should be a long time — and rightly so.

MORE REDSKINS: RANDALL COBB SHOUTS 'YOU LIKE THAT!' AFTER PACKERS WIN

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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