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Picking an NFC East QB for the next three years? Choose Kirk Cousins

Picking an NFC East QB for the next three years? Choose Kirk Cousins

With apologies to Sam Bradford and the collection of Matt Cassel/Tony Romo/Kellen Moore/Brandon Weeden, the NFC East's quarterback situation dramatically improved once Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott arrived last season.

Now, along with Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins, the four quarterbacks in the division can all safely be described as solid NFL starters. But who's the one that you'd want taking snaps for you for the next three seasons?

That's a question that ESPN Eagles reporter Tim McManus asked the other three NFC East reporters a few days ago, and the three of them came to a unanimous conclusion: it's Kirk Cousins. 

Here's why that is absolutely the right call:

Cousins' age matches up nicely with the timeline of the question

As Todd Archer, Jordan Raanan and John Keim all pointed to, Eli Manning would've been the enticing choice if the period was one season, not three. But at 36, he doesn't have many more big-number efforts, or Eli Faces, left in him.


Wentz and Prescott, meanwhile, have bright futures ahead of them, but they also will run into inevitable struggles that come with younger, less developed passers in those three years. They might be the selection if the question was concerned with the next five or seven years, but they could still be a ways away from their true peak performance.  

Cousins, however, looks to be in the peak now and should stay there for the intermediate future. He threw for 4,100+ and 4,900+ yards in 2015 and 2016 and will turn 29 just before the 2017 season. His age-29, age-30 and age-31 campaigns are the ones that matter in this debate, and that's normally the sweet spot for QBs. 

There's less questions about Cousins compared to the other three

If you were to take Manning in this hypothetical, you'd have to weigh the huge question about his age. How confident would you be in him leading a team through 2019? You'd also need to wonder about his ability to recover from 2016, in which he tossed nine less scores and lost more than 400 yards from his 2015 totals.

When it comes to the two sophomore options, there's issues for both. People assume Wentz will be improved with the better supporting cast he has in Philly, but will he actually be able to take advantage? Plus, can he take better care of the football after throwing nine picks and losing two fumbles in his team's last eight contests?

As for Prescott, how capable is he of thriving when everything around him — the offensive line, his stud running back — isn't operating flawlessly? Also, can he still be a star when he's no longer a surprise to opposing defenses?

Taking his contract out of this, there's not much about Cousins that scares you. He's not the enormous turnover problem he looked like he was going to be in his earlier starts, he's shown he can still command a dangerous offense that lacks a top-notch running game and there's nothing that would suggest he'll decline anytime soon.

When picking your QB for the upcoming three years, Cousins is probably the safest bet. He also possesses a considerable amount of potential. That's a nice combination. 

He's better than you think he is

Fans of the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys will be quick to claim a bias in an outlet based in Maryland agreeing that Cousins is the answer to McManus' question. But those same fans may not realize just how good Cousins is.

This is a guy who was sixth in ESPN's QBR in 2016, fifth in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric and third in yards per pass attempt. He doesn't take many sacks, spreads the ball around to all sorts of pass catchers, is prolific when looking deep and can even scramble for yards or for six when needed. 

As a whole, the NFC East has four reputable quarterbacks. Cousins, though, is the one set up to really deliver in the next three seasons.


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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

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

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy


NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.