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Need to Know: Has Redskins QB Cousins shaken his interception problems?

Need to Know: Has Redskins QB Cousins shaken his interception problems?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 26, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Has Cousins shaken his interception problems?

A year ago in training camp, many analysts who caught just a glimpse of practice left believing that Kirk Cousins was the superior quarterback in camp, better than starter Robert Griffin III. Cousins was dropping back and getting rid of the ball in rhythm while Griffin was hesitating, pumping, and generally looking very unsure of himself.

What those who were in Richmond covering the team on a daily basis knew, however, was that Cousins was fool’s gold to an extent. He would throw very confidently but all too frequently into the arms of a defensive back or linebacker. Griffin did not look nearly as smooth but he was much better at protecting the ball.

When Cousins got his chance to play after Griffin was injured early in Week 2, the interception bug came back to bite him. In six games and 204 pass attempts he threw nine interceptions. His interception rate of 4.4 percent was almost two percentage points worse than the league average of 2.5 percent, although there should be a small sample size warning here.

Other than the interceptions, Cousins played pretty well. He completed 61.8 percent of his passes (just below the league average of 62.6 percent) for an impressive 8.4 yards per attempt (the league average was 7.2).

His inability to protect the ball, however, landed him permanently on the bench at halftime of his fifth start. He didn’t get into another game the rest of the year.

Fast forward through eight months of offseason work on his own, under Jay Gruden’s brother Jon, and in OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. How has he done in correcting his biggest flaw?

“He hasn’t thrown many [interceptions] this camp,” said Gruden. “He’s improved on the turnover issue very much so through OTAs and training camp and preseason games. We’re impressed with the progress that Kirk has made very much. He’s done a great job.”

Most observing practice would concur with Gruden’s assessment, although it should be noted that he was working mostly against second- and third-team defenders and playing with backup players on offense. Of course, he was in the same situation last year and threw many more interceptions.

Cousins has yet to throw an interception in 26 preseason attempts this year. But let's add the preseason warning to the sample size warning.

Cousins and Colt McCoy are battling it out to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Griffin. That is more important that most backup QB competitions around the league given that Griffin is prone to injury and that there is a very real possibility that he will be benched at some point during the season.

If Cousins had indeed improved at ball protection could he be an option for the Redskins for the long term or at least as a bridge until a franchise quarterback can be found? Perhaps, but we will need to see him passing the test against first team defenders in full speed games.

Should he beat out McCoy for the backup job we could get that chance.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Andrews Air Force Base 1 p.m.; players available after

—It’s been 242 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 17 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 2; final cuts 9; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 28

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Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

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@AdrianPeterson

Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

Luke Kuechly was just trying to make a tackle.

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the Carolina star dove to wrap up Adrian Peterson and, like many, many, many before him, failed to bring the RB down.

Unfortunately for Kuechly, something else happened on the play that is going to help it live on much longer than your routine defensive mistake.

That something, of course, is that Peterson's cleat came off in the collision and lodged itself in Kuechly's facemask. And the uniqueness of that is why Peterson is now selling T-shirts commemorating it:

"I thought it was pretty cool," Peterson said Thursday in the 'Skins' locker room when asked why he felt moved to create the shirts, of which there are three to choose from on his site. "My kids got a big kick out of it. Obviously, the Internet did as well."

No. 26 has carried the ball 2,651 times in his career but said he's never had an attempt go like that one that involved his footwear and Kuechly's headgear.

However, because he's a legend, Peterson was able to deal with the lost shoe and still go on to pick up a nice chunk of yards as well as a first down.

"As I'm breaking free and I feel my shoe coming off, the only thing on my mind is, 'OK, let me make sure I plant my foot in a way where I don't slip,'" he explained. "That was the only thing I was focusing on on that play."

Will Kuechly get a shirt, though? After all, without him, they wouldn't exist in the first place.

"I might send him one," Peterson said.

What's lower: the odds of Kuechly wearing that shirt should Peterson ever send it along or the odds of another shoe finding its way into the linebacker's facemask? 

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Crowder, Richardson headline long list of injury questions for Redskins during Dallas week

Crowder, Richardson headline long list of injury questions for Redskins during Dallas week

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden joked about optimism when going over the team's injury report, but that might be the coach's only way to deal with the current situation. 

Receivers Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson did not practice on Thursday, and their status for Sunday seems murky at best. Crowder was spotted at Redskins Park using a scooter to keep his weight off his injured ankle, and while Richardson was seen walking around, his knee remains an issue. 

There was some good news, however, that Chris Thompson and Shawn Lauvao practiced, albeit in a limited role. 

Getting Thompson back on the field would be a big help for the Redskins offense, and alleviate some pressure off Adrian Peterson. The future Hall of Famer did not practice Wednesday as he is dealing with a host of injuries, including his shoulder and knee. 

The one player Gruden said he did not have optimisim in a return this week was rookie safety Troy Apke. There has been some conversation about possibly moving him to the injured reserve, but that has not happened yet. 

The Redskins currently have one open roster spot as the team released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood earlier this week. With all the concerns at wideout, maybe Washington uses that spot to bring up a practice squad player to support the unit. 

UPDATE (5:20 p.m.): The Redskins announced that they have elevated receiver Jehu Chesson from their practice squad to the active roster.

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