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Need to Know: Are the Redskins afraid of making the wrong choice with Cousins?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins afraid of making the wrong choice with Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 16, 21 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 13
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 60
—NFL Draft (4/27) 70
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 206

Are the Redskins playing scared?

The Redskins appear to be afraid to make a decision regarding Kirk Cousins.

Perhaps a year ago, some degree of trepidation was justified. After three seasons of occasional, spotty play he was elevated to the starting job and after a rocky start to 2015 he played very well down the stretch. Cousins’ contract was up and the Redskins were leery about giving Cousins in the neighborhood of $20 million per year over multiple seasons. While there was plenty of talk about the Redskins wanting to make Cousins their guy for the long term, a deal never came close to getting done and he played the 2016 season on the franchise tag.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk Podcast - It's tag day

The bottom line, in 2016 they were afraid to make a decision. Perhaps the fear had some justification but there was fear nonetheless.

Fast forward to now. Once again, it appears that the Redskins are going to end up tagging Cousins. Again, they act as though they are paralyzed by fear. They are afraid that if they sign him long term he will not perform up to his salary, drag down the franchise, and stick them with a so-so quarterback into the next decade.

They also appear to be afraid to let him go in case they are wrong about him. If he goes elsewhere and lights it up the Redskins will look bad. They will look worse if whoever they have behind center doesn’t play up to Cousins’ standards. The Redskins have let a few good players get away over the years but this would take the cake.

The thing is they are running out of time to be afraid. They must make up their minds in the next few weeks. If they are going to sign him to a long-term contract they have to do that by March 1, before Cousins gets a tag that he’s perfectly happy to play on. If they are going to trade him they have to tag him and work actively to let teams know that if they sign Cousins, they are amenable to negotiating compensation down to something less than two first-round picks.

More Redskins: Silence is golden in Cousins talks

But my sense is that they are afraid to trade him. The tag provides an easy way out, a non-decision. They can say that it gives them more time to work out a long-term deal. OK, but what can they accomplish between March 1 and July 15 that they couldn’t accomplish between January 2, when they could start negotiating with Cousins, and February 29? There will be no more evidence, no more games played, that will help the organization decide if Kirk is the guy.

He either is or he isn’t. They need to decide which one he is and proceed without fear.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The 2019 Redskins are looking for their first win on their absolute least favorite night

The 2019 Redskins are looking for their first win on their absolute least favorite night

The 2019 Redskins could really use a win in Week 3 against the Bears. Like, really badly.

Unfortunately, the Redskins have played badly on Monday night (which is when they'll square off with Chicago this time around) over the past decade. Like, really badly.

Since 2008, Washington is 2-15 on the primetime stage. Two. And. Fifteen. 

Their last victory on that particular weeknight came in October of 2014. Furthermore, they haven't won a home Monday Night Football appearance since December of 2012, a streak they'll look to end when Mitch Trubisky and Co. come to FedEx Field.

Overall, they've lost seven straight, meaning there are almost-five-year-olds strolling around this planet who have no idea what it's like to see the Burgundy and Gold be successful on that part of national TV. Those poor children.

"I don't give a damn when we play," Jonathan Allen told reporters after the team's MNF loss in New Orleans last year. "We can play [expletive] Tuesday afternoon. I'm still going to be the same as I am today, Sunday night, Sunday morning, Saturday, I don't give a damn."

That is absolutely the attitude to take. Sadly, while the players say they'll be the same no matter the day, the franchise's recent record certainly indicates they aren't the same (they are undefeated on Tuesday afternoon this decade, though).

Now, if you're looking for something promising to hold on to — which you should be, because these stats are legitimately absurd — the Redskins have beaten the Bears seven times in a row. The last time they didn't came in 2003.

So, which run will come to an end: the team's horrendous stretch on Monday night or their dominance of the Bears? Well, knowing their luck, they'll probably just tie, bringing both to an unsatisfying conclusion.

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Redskins running back coach Randy Jordan breaks down Steven Sims' jet sweep vs. Dallas

Redskins running back coach Randy Jordan breaks down Steven Sims' jet sweep vs. Dallas

Entering this past Sunday's contest vs. Dallas, the Redskins knew they needed to be more creative with their rushing attack. The previous week, running back Derrius Guice was only able to muster 18 rushing yards on 10 carries against Philadelphia.

Guice was placed on injured reserve following Week 1, suffering a meniscus injury to his right knee. That meant that the Redskins' ground attack vs. Dallas was expected to come from the likes of veteran Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, and Wendell Smallwood.

But in the first quarter against the Cowboys, offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell decided to get a little more creative. On three separate occasions, O'Connell called a jet sweep to speedy rookie Steven Sims. He finished with three carries for 16 yards, with the longest going for eight.

The drive resulted in a one-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run, giving the Redskins an early lead.

While a jet sweep may seem simple on the surface, all 11 players on the field have to be in sync in order for the play to work. Redskins running backs coach Randy Jordan explains in detail the responsibilities of each player in order for the call to be a successful one (see the video player above).

While Sims was unable to break off for a big gain, the thought process behind the play makes a lot of sense. Gadget plays like these frequently result in picking up large chunks of yardage. However, running it three times in one drive may be pushing their luck.

Don't be surprised if the Burgundy and Gold try and catch a team by surprise with this play in the future. 

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