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Over/under: Redskins QB Kirk Cousins' numbers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins QB Kirk Cousins' numbers in 2017

Now that the contractual matters are settled, at least until January, it’s time to see what Kirk Cousins can do in his third season as the Redskins’ starting quarterback.

He faces challenges after the departures of his two top wide receivers and offensive coordinator Sean McVay and the pressure of playing for a huge contract. On the plus side, he still has Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, and a passing-oriented head coach in Jay Gruden.

Will he go over or under his 2016 performances in key statistical areas? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay get out the crystal ball and give their analysis.

Completion percentage: 67.0

Tandler: Two years ago, Cousins posted the seventh-best season completion percentage in NFL history (69.8). He reverted toward the norm last year, finishing eighth for the season. Some of that was by design as he threw deeper passes. With some new receivers, I think his completion percentage will fall off just a bit from last year.  Under

Finlay: Agree with Tandler here. Cousins has a career 66 completion percentage. I think he comes in north of that but still below 67, maybe 66.5. Under

MORE REDSKINS: DOCTSON IS UNDER PRESSURE, AND HERE'S WHY 

Yards passing: 4,917

Tandler: So basically, we are asking if Cousins will put up the tenth 5,000-yard season in NFL history. Quarterbacks not named Drew Brees have done it just four times. I think they run a little more often than they did last year and even if Cousins is very efficient passing he might not have enough attempts to get over 5K. His attempts should drop from the 606 he had last year and only Dan Marino got over 5,000 yards in a season with fewer than 600 attempts. Under

Finlay: 4,600 is the magic number. Cousins and the Redskins threw the ball too often in 2016, and some of that added to the gaudy yardage total. The Redskins need a bit more balance in 2017 to win more games, and some of that will require a better run game. Under

Passing touchdowns: 25

Tandler: This is easy. The Redskins were 29th in red zone efficiency last year. They were in the top 10 in that stat in 2015. They added Terrelle Pryor, 6-4, and Josh Doctson, 6-2, should be in the lineup after his lost rookie season, giving Cousins a pair of prime red zone targets. They may not revert to the top 10 but they will be better in the red zone, good enough for Cousins to throw around 30 TD passes.  Over

Finlay: Cousins hasn't thrown 30 touchdowns in a season yet in his career. This is the season he does it. A healthy Jordan Reed can make a big difference in the red zone, as well as a stronger run game. Over

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS' ROSTER — 53-21

Rushing touchdowns: 4

Tandler: Cousins is not thought of as a running quarterback. But looking at 2015-2016 combined, he leads the team in rushing touchdowns with nine. How many will he add this year? On the one hand, he has better red zone targets so he might not have to scramble as much. But last year he appeared to have some openings to run that he didn’t take. I’d say he’ll get four on the nose but since that’s not an option I’ll say he gets three. Under

Finlay: All offseason Cousins has talked about being better off-schedule. That will carry over into the red zone as well, and Cousins will again show the wheels. Over

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

The most significant thing to come from Trent Williams' spontaneous chat with the media on Wednesday is that the left tackle expects to be ready for training camp.

But two other topics Williams covered while talking were his initial impressions of new teammates Alex Smith and Derrius Guice. 

And while having one player compliment other players in the offseason is the second-most common thing in the NFL behind the Browns losing games, No. 71 went beyond the normal, clichéd positivity you're used to hearing. 

He was first asked about Smith, a QB he'd only met at the Pro Bowl until these offseason sessions in Ashburn.

“He’s a winner," Williams said. "As you all know, you don’t win in this league without a quarterback, so us being able to have one and have one right now, it does everything for our team and our attitude and the faith we have to win."

Next came a question about Guice, the rookie who looks like the most talented running back to date that Williams will have the pleasure of blocking for. What are his thoughts on the LSU product?

"When you watch him on film it's like he's been here before," Williams observed. "He's a specimen."

As for the 'Skins being able to snag Guice where they did in the draft, the 29-year-old admitted he was quite surprised.

"Extremely lucky to get him in the second round," he said. "I don't know how that happened... It's not going to take very long before people recognize him as an elite NFL talent."

Williams is coming off of surgery, will turn 30 in July and, during last season, spoke about how the injuries he constantly fought through started to take a toll on him. Ready to hear something sad? He's never won a playoff game.

So, for a veteran who's aging like him and who hasn't captured anything of signifigance yet, having confidence and trust in his backfield is paramount. Fortunately, judging by the quotes above, it sounds like Williams is already there when it comes to Smith and Guice.

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