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EL-BASHIR: Yes, it was just one game, but Sunday showed Kirk's potential

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EL-BASHIR: Yes, it was just one game, but Sunday showed Kirk's potential

No game during Kirk Cousins’ three-plus seasons in Washington was more critical to the direction of his career than Sunday’s against the Buccaneers.

The Redskins came into the afternoon having lost two in a row and three of four, and Cousins found himself under increased scrutiny after underwhelming performances against the Falcons and Jets.

I’m not suggesting that Jay Gruden would have made a change a quarterback had Cousins not rallied the Redskins from a 24-0 hole for a scintillating 31-30 victory at FedEx Field. But the possibility existed, particularly with a bye week looming and two other options at quarterback on the roster.

Now, though, Gruden won't need to contemplate any of that. Cousins bought himself more time and the Redskins’ ‘code red’ alert has been canceled.

For the moment, anyway.

Let me be very clear about this: One performance doesn’t define a career or even signal the launching of one. We’ve all witnessed these fits and starts from Cousins before. So it’s prudent to remain in wait-and-see mode. I know I will.   

But what Sunday’s game did—for me, at least—is it underscored Gruden’s decision to continue to back Cousins in the face of outside criticism and after consecutive games in which poor decisions by Cousins led directly (the pick-six in Atlanta) and/or indirectly (the Darrelle Revis interception) to a defeat.

Indeed, there’s something there worth developing. Or, at the very least, something worth investigating further. And that much should be obvious to anyone what stuck around long enough to watch Cousins engineer the biggest comeback in franchise history.

Cousins’ 33 completions (on 40 attempts) tied a franchise record and marked his second highest completion percentage in a start. His 124.7 passer rating, meantime, was by far the highest for any start in his career. He tossed three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The effort also should have quelled any concerns that Cousins routinely crumbles under pressure and that he doesn’t possess enough talent to carry the offense when necessary. Because there’s too much evidence to the contrary. For the third time in four games, in fact, he produced in the clutch. He led his team all the way back against the Eagles. He directed a game-tying drive in Atlanta. Then he did it again on Sunday. Against the Falcons and Bucs, he did it without any meaningful contribution from the team’s rapidly evaporating run game (which is a column for another day).

MORE REDSKINS: KIRK ACCOMLPISHES A RARE FEAT

“Every team wants to see their quarterback be able to bring the team down the field, make consecutive throws when you need it,” Cousins said Monday during his weekly segment with Grant and Danny on 107.6 The Fan. “That’s a huge step in the process of developing as a player and as a passer. That’s what I’m going through right now; I’m in that development phase and I'm trying to continue to get better and learn and grow.”

He added: “These experiences are making a big difference for me and helping me gain confidence and experience that is only going to serve me and the rest of the offense and the team well going forward.”  

But now comes the hard part for Cousins, the part that has so far proven elusive over the course of his 16 NFL starts: playing at a high level consistently. Forget winning back-to-back games, which something he still hasn’t managed to do. He needs to start with simply stringing together back-to-back quality performances.

It’s the next phase in his development. It’s also going to be the difference between earning a full-time starting job (and a contract extension) and being viewed as a nothing more than a backup who can come in a play well for a week here and there.

Does that mean Cousins needs to outduel Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots at Foxboro a couple of weeks from now? Not necessarily. But playing with poise, avoiding turnovers and producing a second straight triple-digit passer rating is important.

Again, it was just one game. And, yes, it came against Tampa Bay team that’s posted just one winning season since 2008. But it showed exactly what Cousins can be and, just as important, it allowed the entire Redskins' organization to stand down from high alert as their bye week begins.   

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Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

It did not take long for Dwayne Haskins to win approval from the media and the Redskins coaching staff in a short amount of time at OTAs. 

That excitement from the Redskins OTAs has reverberated across the country and made him the feature of NBC Sports' Chris Simms QB School series. There, the current NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback made big comparisons to the No. 15 overall pick Haskins to Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. 

Simms was enthralled with the skillset that Haskins possesses and his potential. Citing his arm talent and the small mechanics of the 22-year-old, Simms thinks he has all the tools to be a top-tier NFL QB.

"He reminds me a lot of a big Ben Roethlisberger with his style of football play. [Haskins] arm is special, there's no doubt about that," Simms said. 

Comparing a rookie QB to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback that has made six All-Pro teams is not too shabby. Roethlisberger has thrown for over 54,000 yards in his career with 363 touchdowns across his NFL career. They both wear No. 7, both played their college ball in Ohio, and both are known for their ability to hurl a football down the field. 

Some of the strong qualities of Haskins that Simms highlighted were his tight and quick arm motion, his controlled body rotation, and the accuracy down the field. At the same time, he pointed out that Haskins has a tendency to drop his elbow on passes, forcing his passes to sail high. 

"[Haskins] has Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent and I know he's already wowed some people down there in Washington in his first few practices." 

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Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Before you blink Redskins training camp will be here, which means preseason football is not far off and the 2019 NFL regular season will come with it.

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2019 training camp schedule, set to begin July 25. Training camp will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va. for the seventh straight year. 

This year is set to be the most intriguing training camp since Robert Griffin III was drafted by the team in 2012. Playing in his first NFL training camp first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins will be the center of attention with the team's quarterback position still up in the air. There will be competition from trade acquisition Case Keenum and Redskins mainstay Colt McCoy. 

More to watch:

-Derrius Guice will be in the backfield practicing with Adrian Peterson for the first time.
-The return of the Alabama Wall in Darron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
-Which wide receiver(s) will step up into holes in the offense.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2019 Redskins training camp.

When is the Redskins 2019 training camp?

The Redskins 2019 training camp begins on Thursday, July 25 at 9:45 a.m. ET and runs to the team's final practice on Saturday, August 11. 

What time does the Redskins training camp start?

Most days of the Redskins training camp schedule starts with a practice at 9:45 a.m. ET with a late afternoon walkthrough at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

The Redskins 2019 training camp is located at the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/25 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fri. 7/26 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sat. 7/27 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sun. 7/28 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 7/30 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Wed. 7/31 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Thurs. 8/1 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fan Appreciation Day:
Sat. 8/3 — TBA — 1:00 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/4 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Mon. 8/5 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 8/6 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Thurs. 8/8 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/10 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/11 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — No Walkthrough— TBA

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