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Need to Know: Cousins coaching DB's, Gruden’s hot seat, Redskins on the clock

Need to Know: Cousins coaching DB's, Gruden’s hot seat, Redskins on the clock

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 4, 33 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 25
—NFL Draft (4/27) 82
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 218

The Redskins week that was

Crazy finish at the Pro Bowl for Kirk Cousins—By now you’ve seen Kirk Cousins chase down Aquib Talib to knock the ball out after he threw an interception late in the game. Was it great hustle to be cheered or a dangerous and unnecessary play that a pending free agent who has a hundred million bucks or so on the line just should not make? I think it’s both but I do know one thing—we haven’t seen a Redskins defender chase down a ball carrier and successfully execute a classic chop like that in years. Maybe if Cousins comes back he can spend a little time showing the defense how it’s done.

RELATED: Tandler's all-time Redskins Super Bowl team--Offense

Is Gruden really on the hot seat in 2017?—We keep hearing about this but there is nothing coming out of Redskins Park that this is a “win or else” season for Jay Gruden. If the Redskins collapse and go, say, 5-11 things could get uncomfortable, assuming there is no big, apparent issue like Kirk Cousins not being behind center. But one thing to consider is the fact that Dan Snyder has not let go of a coach following a season of less than double-digit losses since he fired Marty Schottenheimer in 2001 after going 8-8. Snyder is not anxious to get back on the coaching carousel.

Assessing five Redskins mock draft selections—When I did this, I dismissed the idea that Ohio State safety Malik Hooker would be available when the Redskins are on the clock with pick No. 17. But then a couple of days later news that Hooker has undergone two surgeries, one to repair a torn labrum and another to fix a hernia. Will that push his draft stock down to where the Redskins would have a shot at him? And, if he is there, will they want him or be concerned that he is damaged goods? In any case, it just goes to show you that there is no point is getting too locked in on the draft at this point. A lot will happen between now and April 27.

More Redskins: New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Barstool Nate wants Kirk Cousins back

With John Lynch now GM, does 49ers interest in Kirk Cousins change?—I don’t think that Cousins is going anywhere but if he does go to the 49ers the No. 2 overall pick will not be part of the package. Sure, the Vikings gave up a No. 1 pick for Sam Bradford. But Minnesota thought the pick would be in the twenties after they made the playoffs and it turned out to be No. 15. But even that pick is not close to the No. 2 pick in terms of value. Per the draft pick trade chart, it would take two No. 15 overall picks plus an early second-round pick to equal the point value of pick No. 2. It’s hard to see that happening even if the Redskins do agree to deal Cousins away.

The numbers are in: The 2016 Redskins faced a very tough schedule—Were the Redskins substantially better last year than then were in 2015 despite finishing a half game worse and missing the playoffs? It’s possible to say that they were considering that they played a fairly soft schedule two seasons ago and one of the toughest slates in the league in ’16, especially in terms of opposing defenses. I get that you are what your record says you are. But you can’t ignore strength of schedule when it comes to evaluating a team’s season.

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Another NFL analyst says Redskins should not trade No. 2 pick unless a team blows their doors off

Another NFL analyst says Redskins should not trade No. 2 pick unless a team blows their doors off

Thus far during the 2020 offseason, several NFL experts have debated whether the Redskins should keep or trade the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Some believe that Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young is a generational talent and the opportunity to select him is a no brainer. Others, like Peter King and Chris Simms, think the Redskins could significantly alter the trajectory of the franchise by trading the pick and acquiring assets.

Add NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah to those who think the Redskins should keep the pick and take Young, unless they get an offer they simply cannot refuse in return.

The analyst was asked during a pre-Scouting Combine conference call on Friday whether it would be a mistake for the Redskins to consider moving back from No. 2, and his response was strong.

"I just don't trade off of elite edge rushers," Jeremiah said. "You have a need there at the position, those guys are hard to find. So to get a player like that you would have to blow my doors off to get me to trade off that pick, if I was the Washington Redskins."

If the Redskins traded back, even a couple of spots, it's highly unlikely Young would still be on the board.

Jeremiah said the Redskins should not consider moving back past picks No. 5-7, and even if they were to pull the plug on a deal with one of the teams with those picks, they would need "multiple [first round picks] plus some Sugar."

Picks No. 3-5 in the draft currently belong to the Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, respectively. Jeremiah suspected that any team inquiring about trading up with the Redskins would be looking to take a quarterback.

Detroit has Matt Stafford at quarterback, an established signal-caller. Last week, rumors surfaced that they might explore trading him. Should that happen, Detroit could simply stay at No. 3 and take the QB of their choice. They wouldn't need to trade up with Washington.

Miami is in the quarterback market at No. 5 and may inquire with Washington to move up, especially if the Lions are considering moving on from Stafford. The Chargers at No. 6 and the Panthers at No. 7 are teams to keep an eye on as well.

But the Giants have pick No. 4 and their quarterback of the future is set in Daniel Jones. If Young is on the board when the Giants pick comes around, the Ohio State product is heading to the Big Apple. No questions about it. 

"You've got to get a lot to get out of there, because even if you get to five, you won't see Chase Young at that point in time," Jeremiah said.

Behind quarterback, pass rushers are arguably the most valuable position in the sport. The Redskins have the chance to take a generational talent at the position, and according to Jeremiah, should not look back unless they get an incredible offer in return.

"So you're trading off a premier player at the second most valuable position in the sport," Jeremiah said. "You're going to have to get a heck of a haul to do that."

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Watch Jordan Reed's top five plays with the Redskins

Watch Jordan Reed's top five plays with the Redskins

The Redskins released Jordan Reed on Thursday, marking the end of six seasons and seven years with the team.

The 2013 third-round pick was one of the NFL's elite tight ends when he was at full health, but concussions and other injuries have prevented the athletic pass-catcher from ever playing a full 16-game NFL season.

Reed had some spectacular moments in the nation's capital, highlighted by a terrific month of December in 2015 where he totaled 30 receptions, 411 yards and five touchdowns in just one month. The Redskins won their final four contests that season, clinching the NFC East.

At his best, Reed made several acrobatic catches at times and was unguardable at others. He consistently was a matchup nightmare for opponents and a dynamic weapon for the Redskins.

So, to pay tribute to Reed's tenure in Washington, take a look at his top five catches with the Burgundy and Gold.

5. Reed's one-handed catch against the Giants in 2016

The tight end's hands were never something to question.

In a tight Week 3 contest with a divisional foe, the Redskins offense was in need of a play. On a second-and-10 midway through the third, quarterback Kirk Cousins spotted an open Reed, but his throw was slightly behind the tight end.

Reed reached back and acrobatically hauled in the pass. Then, instead of going out of bounds, Reed made three Giants defenders miss before running upfield to pick up the first down. 

The Redskins would take the lead on a field goal later in the drive, and hold on to win, 29-27.

4. One-hander against Green Bay in the 2016 playoffs

With the Redskins holding an early lead in the first quarter with the ball near midfield, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins looked Reed's way to convert an important third down. 

Reed, lined up as a receiver on the left in the slot, ran a three-step out route off the line. As Cousins released the ball, Packers cornerback Casey Hayward made a break on the ball, putting himself in the perfect position to intercept Cousins' pass and return it the other way for six.

But at the last second, the tight end stuck out his right arm and hauled in the pass with one-hand in between Hayward and another Packers defender. Reed split the two defenders and ran upfield for a 20-yard gain.

Later on in the drive, Reed hauled in a 24-yard touchdown to extend Washington's lead to 11. Unfortunately, it didn't last for the Redskins, as the Packers went on a 35-7 run to close the game and handily win the Wild Card clash.

3. Reed's dominant effort to clinch the NFC East in 2015 vs. Philadelphia

There are a number of moments from Reed that one could single out during this contest, but his overall body of work deserved praise on this day.

The Eagles simply had no match for the tight end, who finished with nine receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins 38-24 Week 16 victory over Philadelphia in Lincoln Financial Field. 

Perhaps no play from this game was more impressive than Reed's signature crossover move. Matched up against Mychal Kendricks, Reed shook the Eagles linebacker before breaking open in the middle of the field. Cousins found the open Reed for a 12-yard touchdown.

Just watch the video below and let the nostalgia flow.

2. Reed's one-handed catch on Thanksgiving against Dallas in 2016

The tight end had one of the best games of his career against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2016. Dallas had no answer for Reed, who finished with 10 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

But Reed's best moment of the game came on a streak route down the right sideline. Playing with a separated shoulder, one that caused Reed to miss the next two games, the tight end hauled in an incredible, one-handed grab with Byron Jones draped over him.

This picture explains it all.

The Cowboys went on to win the Turkey Day clash, but Reed was the best playmaker on the field that day.

1. Game-winning touchdown to cap 24-point comeback vs. Tampa Bay

The Redskins victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 will always be remembered in history as the Cousins' "You like that?!" game. But, the final touchdown to cap the comeback victory is largely Reed's doing.

Washington lined up in an odd formation: four receivers were bunched on the left with Reed isolated on the right. The bunch was almost used as a decoy, as Cousins did not even look to his left.  

The touchdown tied the game for Washington, with Dustin Hopkins extra point giving them a one-point lead with just 24 seconds to play. Reed has a spectacular afternoon, finishing with 11 receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

Bonus: Reed making defenders foolish

Like many tight ends in today's modern NFL, Reed grew up with a basketball background. Well, the crossover move never left his arsenal.

Several times throughout his tenure in Washington, Reed shook defenders with a simple crossover move, sometimes with the ball in hand, sometimes without. No. 86's ability to make defenders look foolish was unparalleled. 

The crossover was just one of the many things Reed had in his bag of tricks. Watch and enjoy some of his best moves.

Best of luck to Reed in his next stop.

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