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Cousins speaks about contract situation with Redskins, what's 'fair'

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Cousins speaks about contract situation with Redskins, what's 'fair'

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says he’s “very content” with his current situation and that he’ll embrace the challenge of proving himself again if he ends up playing on the franchise tag in 2016.

"…I'm not too worried about it,” Cousins told ESPN’s Jim Trotter at the NFLPA meetings in Hawaii this week. “I'm very content in the situation I'm in and love the opportunity to prove myself again next season. I feel like it's only fair if that's what's asked of me—to go out and prove it, that I ought to be a starting quarterback. That's okay with me."

The Redskins franchised Cousins on March 1, and the fifth-year pro promptly signed the nearly $20 million tender, squashing any speculation about soliciting offer sheets from other teams and/or holding out before it ever began.

Cousins and the Redskins now have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term extension. Last week, team president Bruce Allen said he expects the sides to come back to the bargaining table soon, though recent NFL history suggests that the talks won't turn serious until much closer to the deadline.

In the interview with ESPN—his first public comments since being tagged—Cousins compared the negotiations to the week of preparation leading up to a football game. Right now, he said, “it’s Wednesday in this negotiation”—meaning it’s early, with the heavy lifting still to come.

While Cousins sounded satisfied to allow the process to play itself out, he also hinted that he’s looking forward to a resolution, one way or another.

"I never played football thinking about money, and going forward I never want to play football thinking about money," Cousins said. "That's why I think it's important for me to play with a salary that's just locked in. I don't want to be thinking about individual accomplishments or rewards that would boost my salary or up my numbers. I just want to go out and play football and try and win games. So whether I'm making what I made last year [$660,000] or this year, I just want to play football and treat it like I did back in high school and love playing. It's a tremendous blessing to be paid to play this game the way I will this year.”

Whatever happens, Cousins indicated that the money won't change who he is. That old GMC conversion van? Even if it gets replaced by a new car, it’s sticking around as a spare vehicle.

"I'm gonna have that van as long as possible,” Cousins said. “Even when it dies I may just put a new engine in it and rebuild it for the sentimental value. Whether I drive it to work or not on a daily basis, like I did last year, that probably won't happen. I'll probably get a car to go to work back and forth. But it becomes a great car when family comes to town for games.”

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Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 16, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking Points

A better 3-2

For the third straight year, the Redskins are 3-2 after five games. As you know, they did not make the playoffs after either of the last two seasons. But they are in better shape in the standings now than they were in 2016 or 2017. Last year they were in second place in the division, a game and a half behind the 5-1 Eagles. They were worse off two years ago as they were in third place behind the 3-1 Eagles and the Cowboys, who were 4-1. 

It’s still very early, but it’s better to be in first place nearly a third of the way into the season than it is to be in second or third place and being in a position where you have to chase one or two teams. 

Take it away

The Redskins had three takeaways against the Panthers—the fumble recovery on the punt, Josh Norman’s interception, and the fumble forced by Norman and recovered by Mason Foster. They did not give the ball away. The last time they got at least three takeaways without giving the ball up was on Christmas Eve, 2016 in Chicago. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the last game in which Norman had an interception until Sunday. 

After being either even or in the positive in takeaway ratio in four of their five games this year, the Redskins are now tied for fourth in the NFL with a plus-four turnover margin. If they can stay on the even or plus side from week to week they will have a very good chance at being successful. 

Rushing D much improved

After finishing 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2017, the Redskins are currently sixth, giving up an average of 90.2 yards per game. The improvement has come even though they have faced premiere running backs David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Christian McCaffrey. They have allowed no more than 104 yards on the ground in any of their five games. Last year's opponents ran for 127 yards or more 10 times. Their defense will be tested on Sunday against the Cowboys, who average 147 rushing yards per game on the ground, second in the NFL. 

Looking in the mirror

When the Redskins take a look at the Cowboys they might feel like they are watching themselves. Both teams run the ball well, although Ezekiel Elliott is more consistent than Adrian Peterson. Alex Smith has better passing stats than Dak Prescott but both teams are in the bottom third of the league in passing yards. The defenses on both teams are strong. Washington is sixth in yardage allowed per game and the Cowboys are fifth. 

And both teams have started off the season alternating wins and losses. Dallas started with a loss to the Panthers then beat the Giants, lost to the Seahawks, won over the Lions, suffered an OT loss to the Texans and then thumped the Jaguars. It will be an interesting match up on Sunday.

The agenda

Today: Off day, no media availability

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Giants 12; Redskins @ Eagles 48

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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