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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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Sean Taylor is scaring Pro Bowl punters like Tress Way to this day

Sean Taylor is scaring Pro Bowl punters like Tress Way to this day

The Pro Bowl may not count for anything other than an accolade on a player's resume, but it has delivered some memorable moments over the years. 

Maybe the best Pro Bowl play ever was when Sean Taylor leveled former Bills punter Brian Moorman when the AFC tried to run a fake in the 2006 Pro Bowl. 

Tress Way is representing the Redskins in the 2020 Pro Bowl and still has that play in the back of his mind. 

When asked whether he'd try to pull off a fake punt of his own on Sunday, Way said yes but under specific conditions. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jamal Adams are the starting safeties for the AFC, so while both are great players and Adams is a hard-hitter in his own right, none of them are Taylor. 

So if you see the NFC pull off a fake punt and Tress Way quickly gets rid of the ball, you'll know why. 

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Winning a truck is DeAngelo Hall's fondest 2011 Pro Bowl memory

Winning a truck is DeAngelo Hall's fondest 2011 Pro Bowl memory

In the midst of the Pro Bowl being underway former Redskins’ defensive back DeAngelo Hall took a trip down memory lane. 

During Good Morning Football this week, the 2011 Pro Bowl MVP DeAngelo Hall said his favorite memory from the Pro Bowl wasn't exactly anything that happened on the football field.

You would think he would mention his impressive performance which included six tackles, an interception and a fumble returned for a touchdown. 

But no. His highlight of the day was winning a truck for his MVP performance. 

“I told my buddies going into it I wanted to buy a truck so I said hey, if I win this MVP I don't need to buy a truck so I called the shot ladies and gentlemen I really did," he said. 

It must have been a really special prize because to this day, he said, he still owns the truck. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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