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Cousins thinks he has matured this season

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Cousins thinks he has matured this season

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says game experience ranks as the single biggest reason for his marked improvement in recent weeks.

“My fundamentals are much better [and] I feel like I’m a more polished quarterback, a more polished player, a more mature player,” he said. “That is in all phases—whether it’s fundamentals, decision making, recognition of defenses. That comes with time.”

“And that’s no surprise," he added. "I mean, if you start and play long enough in this league, you expect that to happen.”

When the Redskins (4-5) visit Cam Newton and the Panthers (9-0) on Sunday, Cousins will make the 19th start of his four-year career. But, more importantly, it’ll mark his 10th consecutive start of 2015. Prior to this season, the 27-year-old had never made more than five starts in a row. 

MORE REDSKINS: GRUDEN WANTS SCREEN PASSES TO CONTINUE

And that, according to Cousins and his teammates, matters—a lot.  

“He’s never been handed the keys to a team, and I think that’s a culture change to a person,” offensive captain Trent Williams said. “You go from not just playing in spots, to, ‘This team is yours, and [how] you play will be as far as we go.’”

Added Williams: “He’s just more comfortable in being that guy. I think that’s the difference. It’s not that he’s made throws that he couldn’t make before; he’s always had a talented arm. He’s always been a talented quarterback. Now it’s all about him [because] the team is his.”

Cousins agreed, saying the consecutive starts have accelerated his development in a number of ways.

“I think it’s a much different routine and a much different rhythm than when those starts are coming at sporadic times [and] are unpredictable,” Cousins said. “You’re able to build a rapport with your teammates and with the offense, with the coaching staff, with the system, and it lends itself well to developing much more quickly than when those starts are sporadic over a longer period of time.”

Cousins’ increased comfort level has become apparent the past three weeks. During that span, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for an average of 286 yards. He’s also notched eight touchdowns and only one interception en route to a pair of NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

“The exciting part is [game experience] makes you a much better quarterback,” Cousins said. “And you say, ‘If I can have that kind of a growth in nine weeks or in one year,’ you’re excited about, ‘Man, what could happen if I could play for several years in a row and continue to grow?’ That’s where you start to get excited and really want to commit to working and developing to see what could happen.”

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

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NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.

 

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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

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USA Today

2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.

It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.

Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?

CLICK HERE FOR WEEK 7 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.

The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.

So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?

And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards. 

How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance? 

CLICK HERE FOR WEEK 7 NFL POWER RANKINGS