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True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

Some context: Last year, Kirk Cousins fell 83 yards short of putting up the tenth 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history. He has another year of experience under his belt, but he also lost two of his favorite receiving targets in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.

True or false: Kirk Cousins will pass for over 5,000 yards in 2017.

Rich Tandler: False

My gut instinct was to go with “true” here. I think that Cousins is highly capable of passing for 312.5 yards per game, the number needed over 16 games to get to 5,000 for the year.

The missing receivers will be an obstacle, but not one that is insurmountable. Terrelle Pryor can compile something near Garçon’s 1,041 yards. Josh Doctson isn’t the deep threat that Jackson is, of course, but he can get 700 yards and Jamison Crowder can make up the difference. Good quarterbacks make receivers productive and Cousins can do that.

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But while I think Cousins can be efficient when he does pass, I don’t think he will pass as often. He threw 606 times last year, breaking his own team record by almost four passes per game. Meanwhile, the Redskins had the fourth-most efficient rushing game in the league last year but they ran the ball only 379 times, 27th in the NFL.

Armed with Rob Kelley with a season under his belt, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine, and versatile third-down back Chris Thompson, I think that Jay Gruden will look at the big picture and believe that he can get better results with more running and less passing.

I don’t think that there will be a drastic switch in the offensive philosophy, just enough to bring Cousins’ pass attempts down closer to where they were in 2015. If he throws 550 times he would have to average nine yards per pass to get to 5K in the air. He’s good, but that’s Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino territory and I don’t see him getting there.

JP Finlay: False.

Agreeing with Tandler here. Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about how much he likes Rob Kelley and how the Redskins need to have more balance in their offensive attack.

In three years with Gruden as head coach in Washington, Redskins quarterbacks have thrown the ball 547, 555 and 607 times. That progression occured as former offensive coordinator Sean McVay took over play calling and Kirk Cousins' ascended to the top QB spot. Last season's 607 passes is likely too much, and Gruden will probably work to get that total back around the 550 mark.

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Cousins will have another productive year, but I think 4,500 yards will be the path to wins. Last season, Cousins padded some stats in hollow losses. No game stands out more than a Monday night loss to the Panthers. In that game, Cousins threw the ball nearly 50 times and piled up 315 yards. He also threw one interception and no touchdowns. The Redskins lost 26-15, and while the run game was wholly ineffective, the entire offense was shut down by the Carolina defense. 

Gruden wants balance. The Redskins will never be a true 50/50 run/pass split, but expect to see less games with Cousins throwing around 50 times.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 8 and 14 vs. Giants

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 8 and 14 vs. Giants

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against the Giants. 

Week 8 October 28, MetLife Stadium

Week 14 December 9, FedEx Field

2017 Giants: 3-13, fourth in NFC East 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 6.5

Early line: Week 8 Redskins +3.5, Week 14 Redskins -1.5

Key additions: RB Saquon Barkley, LT Nate Solder, RB Jonathan Stewart, LB Alec Ogletree

Key losses: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, G Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg

Notable: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returns after missing 12 games with a fractured ankle last year.

Biggest questions: 

  • Will Eli Manning reward the organization for bypassing the quarterback position with the No. 2 pick in the draft? Or will he continue his downhill slide?
  • Will Barkley have sufficient impact to justify his status as the No. 2 overall pick?
  • The last three years, the Giants defense has gone from being ranked 31stto 10thand back to 31st. Where is their true level?

Series history

Giants lead all-time series92-65-3; after the Giants won five in a row from 2013-2015 the Redskins have taken three of the last five. 

Series notables

The first time: September 16, 1937, Griffith Stadium—This was the beginning of two eras: The Redskins first game in Washington and the start of Sammy Baugh’s NFL career. The game, however, belonged to Riley Smith as the Washington back scored all of his team’s points with a pair of field goals, his dazzling, 60-yard interception return in the fourth quarter and the extra point following that game-clinching touchdown in the home team’s 13-3 win. 

The last time: December 31, 2017, Met Life Stadium—It was 16 degrees at kickoff, the Redskins had only four offensive players from their Week 1 starters in the lineup, and all the Redskins had to play for was a non-losing season. These were just some of the reasons for Washington to be disinterested and it seems like they dragged down the Redskins. The apathy increased when a guy named Orleans Darkwa bolted 75 yards for a touchdown just 1:17 into the game. The Redskins never competed in the 18-10 loss.

The best time: November 27, 1966, D.C. Stadium—The Redskins scored on offense, on defense, on special teams, on the ground, and through the air in racking up the highest single-game scoring total ever in a regular season NFL game with 72 points. In a losing effort, the Giants scored 41, making the combined total of 113 points, another league record. 

Backup running back A. D. Whitfield had a career day, scoring three touchdowns, one on a five-yard pass from Sonny Jurgensen, the other two on runs of one and 63 yards. All of those points came in the first half as the Redskins went into intermission with a 34-14 lead.

Charley Taylor jumped into the scoring extravaganza with a pair of third-quarter TD receptions from Jurgensen, one of 34 yards, the other covering 72. Brig Owens was the point scorer on the defensive side things, getting touchdowns on returns of a fumble and an interception.

In all, they scored a touchdown almost every way you can: four running, three passing and one each on a punt, fumble, and interception return. They also got nine extra points and a field goal. The final was 72-41.

More than 12,000 NFL games have been played since this one and, despite rule changes designed to favor the offense and increase scoring, both the Redskins’ 72 points and the combined 113 still stand as NFL records. Only once has a team put up as many as 70 points and the combined score has the next-highest total beaten by a touchdown.

The worst time: January 1, 2017, FedEx Field—The Redskins have had many costly losses to the Giants over the years but the sting from this one is still fresh. The home team would get a wild-card playoff spot with a win while New York, with its playoff seeding clinched, had nothing to play for. But it was the Redskins who had nothing. They were able to fight back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to tie it up in the fourth quarter. But after a Giants field goal, Kirk Cousins threw an unforgivable interception that sealed New York’s 19-10 win and the Redskins went home. 

Redskins schedule series

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, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman competes in 'Dancing with the Stars' finale Monday

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Dancing with the Stars YouTube

Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman competes in 'Dancing with the Stars' finale Monday

Josh Norman is fast, smooth and creative with excellent footwork that can leave you speechless.

Sure, those are qualities he has on the football field, but we're actually talking about his skills as a ballroom dancer.

Norman is one of three finalists on "Dancing with the Stars" during a shortened, athletes-only season. The Redskins' cornerback is partnered with pro dancer Sharna Burgess, and the couple will compete against two other pairs in the finals Monday night (8 p.m., ABC). 

Fiery, in sync and always entertaining, Norman and Burgess have stunned in the first three of four total episodes this season, but winning the mirrorball trophy won't be easy. They're up against Olympic figure skating bronze medalist Adam Rippon and former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.  

Norman's only real competition is Rippon, who is beyond natural on the dance floor — although Norman has been a delightful surprise as well. Clearly — and like so many previous football players who have done well on "DWTS", like Calvin Johnson and Von Miller — his skills on the gridiron easily translate. 

Here's a look at his previous three performances with Burgess. Does it look like he has what it takes to win?

Week 1: The Cha Cha

Week 2: The Paso Doble

Week 3: A Contemporary Dance

Here's how you can vote for Josh and Sharna in Monday's season finale.

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