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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

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USA Today

Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

Don’t believe dumb internet rumors. Start there. 

Sunday night some fake Twitter accounts tweeted that a trade between the Redskins and Lions was very close, a deal that would ship productive WR Marvin Jones from Detroit to Washington in exchange for unproductive former first-round pick WR Josh Doctson.

What is to believe here? Next to nothing.

Jones is under Lions control for two more seasons and makes about $7 million a year. That’s tremendous value for somebody that posted 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns two seasons ago. Doctson has exactly 1,100 yards in his three-year NFL career. 

There is some speculation that Jones could be on the outs in Detroit, mostly because of the hard charging style of head coach Matt Patricia. Jones also missed half of last season with a knee injury and is still working his way back, missing all of Detroit's offseason work.

Even if Jones is on the outs with Patricia, and there are worries about the knee, he would command more in a trade than Doctson, who only has one year left on his contract. 

This is from Detroit Free Press Lions reporter Dave Birkett's mailbag last week: "Jones has two years left on his contract at very reasonable salaries of $6.5 million per season. The Lions would be foolish to move on from him right now. He provides more than most players at his salary, and it’s not like there are suitable replacements out there. Jones spent all spring working with the rehab group and I expect him to have a strong season this fall. I can’t imagine the Lions moving on from him at this point, unless we hit October and they’re struggling to keep their head above water. If that happens, all bets are off."

This also seems like a pertinent time to mention that Washington team president Bruce Allen spent last week in France. 

Allen makes the trades for the Redskins. Allen is the boss. He was out of the country last week, and probably not fielding trade phone calls from Cannes. 

To be fair, there have been conversations inside Redskins Park about moving Doctson for more than a year, including in the weeks leading up to the trading deadline last season. He hasn't been moved, however, and his trade value is probably at an all-time low after Washington decided not to exercise a fifth-year team option on his contract earlier this offseason. 

Could Marvin Jones help the Redskins' receiving group? Absolutely. 

But a trade requires much more than that. 

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9 movies Redskins fans should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL season

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Warner/Universal/Disney

9 movies Redskins fans should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL season

Redskins training camp doesn't begin until July 25, so you've got some time and need some football content in your life to hold you over.

Luckily, there are plenty of football movies out there, just waiting for you to watch them. But which ones should top your queue?

Here are nine of the best football films you need to throw on, both because they're entertaining and because they'll get you fired up for the 2019 Redskins season.

Friday Night Lights

If you ever find one of these lists and it doesn't include Friday Night Lights, never visit that website again. The game action in this is truly fantastic and just what you need if you're having trouble waiting to see Landon Collins destroy an opposing receiver.

The Replacements

It's not going to be the most amazing piece of cinema you've ever seen, but it offers a chance to see Keanu Reeves do something other than play John Wick, and is loosely based on the Redskins' scabs who came up clutch in the 1987 campaign.

Jerry Maguire

So this one doesn't involve much on-field play. However, it's still a quality drama and features some stellar performances. Plus, one of its signature lines — "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" — might be what Trent Williams is telling the Burgundy and Gold these days, too.

Remember the Titans

Look, it's not the most complex or surprising movie. But Denzel Washington is compelling as usual, it covers an important issue and the cast has some enjoyable chemistry. 

Any Given Sunday

Did this need to be almost as long as a regular season contest? No. With that being said, the cast is loaded as are the cameos, and of course, Al Pacino's speech is a smash hit. 

The Blind Side

The Blind Side has a little bit of everything, from comedy to drama to some tear-jerking moments. Sandra Bullock leads you through it all by turning in a heck of a few hours portraying Leigh Anne Tuohy, and she later won an Academy Award because of her work.

Invincible

Yes, Washington supporters will have to stomach seeing a lot of Eagles uniforms, yet this movie about Vince Papale miraculously making Philadelphia's roster is worth it. And you can follow it up with It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Invincible-inspired episode.

Undefeated

You may not know this one, but you should. It's documentary-style and follows a high school football team in Memphis as they try to navigate the ups and downs of a season and of their academic and personal lives. It's superb. 

Draft Day

It's flawed in places, but Draft Day is better than many think it is. Also, it'll allow you to reflect on what looks like a very promising 2019 Redskins draft class, an activity that'll always be fun.

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