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Need to Know: Is Kirk Cousins bluffing about playing on the tag?

Need to Know: Is Kirk Cousins bluffing about playing on the tag?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 20, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 162 days ago. It will be 84 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 38; Preseason opener @ Falcons 52; Final roster cut 75

Redskins hot topics

—Is Kirk Cousins bluffing about being willing to play out the season on the franchise tag? His comment last week saying “see you on the other side” had a tinge of false bravado to it. There is a lot at stake for him. If he stumbles this year he might be able to get a contract for $15 million per year on a one- two-year deal. He can probably get the Redskins to agree to $18 million per year for five years right now. Cousins supposedly wants about $20 million. Is the difference in money really worth the risk to Cousins? We will see as July 15 approaches.

—A year ago Will Compton was a lock to make the team but his role was unclear. Things have changed and Compton is not only at the top of the depth chart in Sharpie but he also is emerging as a leader on defense. Not bad for an undrafted free agent who is just in his third year. He wants to take the next step by creating more impact plays this year. In his career Compton has one interceptions, one sack, and one fumble recovery.

—The Redskins’ rushing game was at its worst when it needed to be at its best. On first-down carries they gained an average of 3.3 yards per carry, the worst in the NFL. They ran for either no gain or a loss on 63 plays in 2015, tied for third worst in the league. That’s not going to get it done.

—In case your wondering, Alfred Morris wasn’t any better than Matt Jones was on first down rushes. They both had 23 carries for either zero yards or negative yards.

—However, Morris was better than Jones on all first-down carries. Morris gained 471 yards on 128 carries (3.7 average) while the rookie gained 207 on 76 attempts (2.7). However, that doesn’t mean that Morris’ performance on first down was acceptable. Only three other backs with at least 100 first down rushing attempts had a worse per-carry average.

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Does Odell Beckham Jr. truly believe the Giants will rattle off 8 straight wins to make playoffs?

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Does Odell Beckham Jr. truly believe the Giants will rattle off 8 straight wins to make playoffs?

Prior to the Giants' Monday Night Football victory in San Francisco, Odell Beckham Jr. made a statement. He and the Giants backed it up...for now. 

That statement revolved around winning out which would mean the now 2-7 New York football Giants would have to rattle off wins against the Buccaneers, Eagles, Bears, Redskins, Titans, Colts and Cowboys to reach an overall record of 9-7. The 26-year-old is assuming that 9-7 would win New York the division, which certainly is a stretch being that the Redskins currently sit 6-3 atop the division comfortably.

Right on cue, and to no one's surprise, Beckham Jr. went right back to reminding everyone about his statement following Big Blue's wire-to-wire victory over the 49ers. 

Circle your calendars. Odell and the Giants come to FedExField Sunday, Dec. 9 for a 1 p.m. NFC East showdown. 

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Redskins fans and players can both be right about FedEx Field frustrations

Redskins fans and players can both be right about FedEx Field frustrations

The Redskins moved to 6-3 on Sunday by beating the Buccaneers in Tampa, and now sit two games clear in first place in the NFC East. 

That should be the biggest football story inside the Beltway. But it isn't. 

The story has become that two of the most high-profile members of the Washington defense said that they prefer playing road games to being in their home stadium. Why? Because on the road they can hear better and focus more since they don't have fans booing them. 

Seriously. 

"Home games, that’s some of the worst things I’ve seen. I’ve played on four different teams, never seen it that bad, with other team’s jerseys in the stands, the boos, whatever it may be," Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger said during an appearance on 106.7 the Fan's Grant and Danny program on Monday. 

"I’ve never been a part of nothing like that."

This freight train started moving on Sunday, when after the win in Tampa, Josh Norman said he likes playing on the road. Why? Because there aren't any boos.

"We go into the homestands, and it’s like an open bubble,” Norman said. “Like the other team’s turf or something. You hear more of them than you do us. Then if something bad happens, they suck. They sit back in their seat, and they boo."

There's a lot to unpack here. 

Norman and Swearinger are right. There are always a lot of visiting fans at FedEx Field. Some of that might be that Washington is a transient city, but some of it is also because other fans have determined that it's easy to get tickets at FedEx Field. 

Why is it easy for visiting fans to get tickets? Well, there's not much sizzle at FedEx Field.

The area doesn't have shopping or restaurants around it like many newer NFL stadiums. The traffic, like much of life in the D.C. area, is awful. The stadium itself is underwhelming; old and lacking character. 

The Redskins are working hard to overhaul the game day experience, and some of the efforts are alrady working. But the problem is some fans have soured on the idea of spending the day at FedEx Field, and that will take time to fix. Probably years. 

One obvious fix? A new stadium, preferably back in downtown D.C. That is a long way off though. 

Plenty of fans are bothered by Swearinger and Norman's comments, and they have reason for that, too. 

To start with, there are tens of thousands of fans at every home game, cheering on their club. Lifelong, loyal fans that pay good money to watch the Burgundy and Gold. 

Do some boo? Certainly. But they only boo when the team is bad. Play good, no boos. It's fairly simple.

And the boos aren't only about a specific game, or even a specific season. Many Redskins fans are just frustrated with the franchise in general for a litany of reasons. Things have been stable under Jay Gruden, but for a long time, they weren't. 

What isn't fair for Norman and Swearinger is they played zero part in the multi-decade erosion of the Redskins fan base. And some would argue the fan base hasn't actually eroded, just that fewer fans want to make the trek to the stadium and commit to the full day that is attending an NFL game.

For 20 years, Washington has played plenty of bad football at home. During that time, some fans simply decided they'd rather watch on television, or go for a walk, or do yard work, or hang with their family. 

The toughest part is that both Norman and Swearinger can be right, but the fans that are upset with the comments can be right as well. 

Are there good fans? Absolutely. Are there lots of visiting fans? Yep. 

It won't be fixed overnight. Winning is the best cure, however, as old fans will return and new fans will be created. 

Play well and there won't be any booing. Keep winning games and there won't be anything but burgundy in the stands. 

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