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Need to Know: Redskins’ Cousins thinks he missed an opportunity vs. Falcons

Aug 15, 2016, 5:03 AM EDT

Cousins huddle vs Falcons USAT

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 15, four days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.


Today’s schedule: Practice 8:35 in Richmond; player and Jay Gruden availability after practice. The session is not open to the public.

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 218 days ago. It will be 28 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 seaTson opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 19; Cowboys @ Redskins 34; Browns @ Redskins 48

Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden read and react

­Cousins on competition in training camp:

When they come in with 90 guys and they cut it down to 53—but really in my mind, it’s 46 because those are the only guys who can dress on game day —you’re literally cutting the roster in half.

That is an interesting way of looking at it. I don’t quite see it that way because the inactive seven get a full NFL salary and have the chance to be active the next week if they aren’t in Week 1. And at $6,000 per week the practice squad beats driving for Uber. But players like to do mental tricks that make the odds against them seem to be longer, sort of a self-motivation technique. It’s along the lines for Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first you’re last”. If you’re not on the 46 you’re unemployed.

Cousins on possibly leaving a play on the field vs. the Falcons:

We want to be able to run in favorable situations against advantageous fronts. I know for sure that one of those runs the other night was a run that I easily oculd have audibled out of and gone to a pass, but I decided to leave the run play on. It didn’t work, and after the fact you’re thinking maybe the next time go to the pass. By no means is it bad play calling or we’re not running the ball well, sometimes it’s just that I can get out of the play and get us to a better play. That’s the kind of thing people on the outside may not realize.

When you see a play called that goes right into the teeth of the defense it isn’t always the fault of the play caller. The quarterback does have the option to change many plays at the line to one that may be better suited to beat the defense. After the game Gruden mentioned in passing one of the issues with the running game was that the quarterbacks could have bailed out of some runs that were doomed from the start. This must have been one of the plays that he was referring to.

Cousins on the lack of drama in training camp:

I’ve told my teammates that I’d like to be the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL, be super boring and maybe people at the end of the season just go, ‘Wow, they really had a good year and no one really talked about it’, I don’t need to promote myself. I don’t need to promote what we’re doing.

“I don’t need to promote myself.” Hmm, I wonder what he’s referring to here. Perhaps an ex-teammate? In any case, the players and coaches have to like the “boring” nature of camp so far. That doesn’t mean that so-called distractions are an excuse for losing—the Broncos had a ton of them last year with the fading Peyton Manning at the helm—but all other things being equal it’s better not to have them than have them.

Gruden on the penalties committed on Thursday:

“Yeah, penalties are an issue, man. It’s a very important part of the game – offense, defense, special teams and penalties, man, and turning the ball over. We looked at them extensively today and make sure we get them corrected because those things—you can be as skilled as you want to, be as prepared as you want to, but if you commit penalties, you’ve got no chance.

The penalties give you no chance theory was true last year. The worst eight teams in terms of penalty yards taken per game all missed the playoffs. But in 2014 the two Super Bowl participants, the Seahawks and Patriots, finished 25th and 26th in penalty yards. So it’s not a hard and fast rule. Gruden’s team does have difficulty winning despite penalty issues. In 2014 they were penalized for more yards than all but one NFL team and they finished 4-12. Last year they were eighth best in terms of penalty yards assessed and they went 9-7 and won the NFC East.

Tandler on Twitter Instagram

Paea with some pretty good feet for a big guy. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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  1. troylok - Aug 15, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    I think they have too many “tells” when they run. For starters, there’s a blocking tight end and/or a tight end playing fullback. They don’t use misdirection plays so where the blocking is going is where the run is going. Gruden needs to get a little more creative in the run game. The Redskins used to use the run to set up the pass, but now they need to use the pass to set up the run. They need to use draws and shovel passes from passing formations.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 15, 2016 at 5:58 AM

      Hopefully, they are hiding all this to reveal against the Steelers. The less we show before the home opener the better. Still need better basic execution by offensive line and running backs.

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 15, 2016 at 6:15 AM

      The other place we need huge help is halftime game plan adjustments. We seem to have zero adjustments we bring to the game. Our game planning for the run scheme is quite telling. I really hope we improve here this year.

      • demskinsbaby - Aug 15, 2016 at 11:34 PM

        Spot on! I’ve been saying this for years. Seems to have been that way for the last 3 coaches, though, for some reason. Maybe the offense wasn’t ready to execute at that level. I’m not sure what the problem is, but you are right. No adjustments whatsoever.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 16, 2016 at 3:23 AM

          Maybe the reason it has seemed that way for the past three coaches is because you’re wrong? I’m really not trying I sound like a jerk here but let’s just say it out loud and see what’s more likely. That you guys are right, and this NFL coaching staff (and perhaps the past 3 staffs) don’t know about or don’t do any halftime adjustments. That you guys know more about halftime adjustments than they do. Or that you guys don’t really understand how coaching and adjustments work so it seems that way to you, but you’re wrong. So not only 3 head coaches who don’t know about adjustments (two with SB rings), but also their entire staff doesn’t know about them, do them, and haven’t thought to tell the coach “hey, maybe we should make some adjustments.” Come on guys.

          The fact of the matter is that coaching staffs and players constantly make adjustments during the entire game. Each unit sits down and reviews what they saw and what they could do after almost every series. That’s what the tablets on the sideline are for. Every player may not after every series, but the coaches do. There’s a guy on staff specifically for this: the quality control coach. He’s in all the coache’s ears all game tracking the playcalling and telling them all kinds of stuff.

          There are, of course, some halftime adjustments. But we’re talking 5-6 minutes of time to communicate changes to the entire team. The players usually get the scoop from their position coaches in about two minutes. So halftime adjustments are usually very simple. Stuff like “we ran 80% of the time when we were in 12 personnel and threw 75% of the time when we lined up in 11. So we should start throwing more from 12 and running more from 11 to keep the defense honest.” There’s no time to implement new plays or whatever people think. That takes days to implement in practice.

          If the team isn’t doing well in the second half it could be because they’re out of shape, so they’re tired. Or that they had a lead at halftime, lost their mental edge, went on cruise control, and got best for it. Or all kinds of stuff. Including couincidence.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 15, 2016 at 11:56 AM

      Every single NFL team has a tell for running the ball. It’s called down and distance and the stance of the tackles. Seriously, if you don’t know this already then try it and it will blow your mind. Watch the tackles. If they have a hand in the dirt, it’s probably a run. If they’re up in a 2 point stance, it’s probably a pass. There will be exceptions where the teams are trying to disguise it. But disguises don’t work if you don’t establish a status quo. I think you’ll be shocked at how often you can call out the play from the couch. Atlanta did a lot with one tackle in a 3 point and one in a 2 point stance. I quickly figured out they called passes when lined up like that. I think they ran from that one time all game.

      And, trust me, if we know then the defense knows. Deception is kind of an illusion in the NFL. They mystery is fun for fans at home, but the defense knows what’s coming. It’s all about execution. Which side will execute their assignments better? Not trickeration.

  2. redskins12thman - Aug 15, 2016 at 5:55 AM

    It would be great to get assessments of Cousins’ audible calling (or lack thereof) and hot reads during the regular season. In the preseason, I could care less; the less we reveal before the Steelers game the better. But the running struggles seem to be impacted by the O-line and RBs too; for one, the Falcons defensive line seemed to gain a lot of penetration. Hopefully, the running game will begin to look like it did when we ran the ball behind the Hogs.

    Cousins’ point is probably why the preseason is not a good indicator of how teams will do in the regular season. A lot of the 44 players (in weeks 1-2) and 29 players (in week 4) that don’t make the team see the majority of action and that’s the way it should be. The playing time in week 3 is a little more evenly spread out. It’s fine this way as it allows the coaches to determine the best bubble players to make the roster and to give reps to veterans that need it (e.g., the safeties).

    The Redskins should average no more than 7 penalties per game (the Redskins were more than double that amount last week). I believe the NFL best last season was Minnesota with 6.3 per game with 5.3 of them enforced. Last season, the Redskins averaged 8.2 penalties per game.

    I’ve seen enough of the 20th century Spurs (although I did like the Ice Man and Artis Gilmore). I’ll take San Antonio from 2003-2007.

    I would like to see the Redskins work on their kick-off and punt return games; I hope for improvement in punt returns and hopefully continued success in kick-offs.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 15, 2016 at 2:55 PM

      All of that is true about the preseason. But it’s also true that Atlanta’s line got too much penetration of our starting OLine. Even on plays that weren’t disasters, they were getting pushed around too much. And people are going to try and make Kory the scalegoat here but it wasn’t him.

      Obviously getting Trent Williams back will help a lot. But I was not very impressed with Long. I’m kind of hoping Lauvao can regain his spot. Not because I have something against Long, I want the best player to win, but I also hope that’s not the best we’re going to get. I think Long and Moses both need to play better.

      The good news is that was their first game I a while. Players do get rusty and need a kick in the ass to wake up. They could come out week one and look great. But we’re in trouble if they keep playing like that.

  3. Prospero - Aug 15, 2016 at 6:47 AM

    Careful what you wish for Kirk. Will you take less money like the Spurs leaders?

    • redskins12thman - Aug 15, 2016 at 7:37 AM

      Kirk, the Tim Duncan of the NFL?

      • sidepull - Aug 15, 2016 at 8:15 AM

        Dont think so. Tim Duncan is not a ” You like that? ” kinda guy.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 15, 2016 at 9:36 AM

          And Kirk is only 6’3″.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 15, 2016 at 11:57 AM

      Did they take less money on their first contract?

  4. velocibox - Aug 15, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    Why do people keep saying this has been a boring training camp??? Stop acting like Josh Norman hasn’t been all over the media with his beefs with ODB and Patrick Peterson. Plus him accepting another gig during gamedays. As long as we have Josh Norman, I doubt this team will ever be boring..

  5. velocibox - Aug 15, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    Why do people keep saying this has been a boring training camp??? Stop acting like Josh Norman hasn’t been all over the media with his beefs with ODB and Patrick Peterson. Plus him accepting another gig during gamedays. As long as we have Josh Norman, I doubt this team will ever be boring..

  6. Mr.moneylover - Aug 15, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    They most definitely gonna do some game prep today on the steelers especially the starters… media not allow to watch practice today they have these kinds of practice for a reason….I’m not gonna overreact to nothing I see in the pre-season from the redskins last year didn’t the eagles went 4-0 or 3-1 last pre-season and they finished last in the division…in a way you got to look at last week game as a teaching moment fix whatever needs to be fix before the season start…if you play good in the pre-season and look good in the pre-season you can’t see your team weakness when the other team find a weakness on your team like the packers will do when the regular season comes you won’t be able to fix it it will be a problem for the rest of the season because You never seen the problem in pre-season… Only 4 players from last year got called for a penalty 2 of them were just lining up over the ball ….Bruton penalty for holding would’ve made the refs makeup for that bad penalty Because the guy just fell down

    • Mr.moneylover - Aug 15, 2016 at 9:46 AM

      I didn’t want to talk about morgan Moses because that was a clear holding and I’m on record saying he needs to STEPUP and play well this year he’s so far the weak link of the starting O-line …and no Spencer long will not be a starter week 1 assuming everybody stay Healthy …I think Spencer long should be cut if he can’t improve his run blocking this year

  7. Mr.moneylover - Aug 15, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Niles Paul is a good Blocker so is Logan Paulsen but the running game starts with the O-line kirk/jay said it yesterday when one of your O-line getting push back into the FB and running back you have no chance to get anything…when jay gruden said that about one of the O-linemen I know for sure he was talking about Spencer long he kept getting push back…jay gruden said the run game takes all 11 guys if one guy mess up and not block it kills the play

    • redskins12thman - Aug 15, 2016 at 4:20 PM

      Paul may be rusty; I heard he could have done better against the Falcons. I heard Davis was okay in blocking and I didn’t hear anything about Paulsen.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 15, 2016 at 5:48 PM

        Paul looked rusty indeed. He didn’t look real good blocking but I think that’s understandable and forgivable considering how long he’s been out. He will need to get back on track though. He’s not there yet.

        Davis looked pretty good too. I think I remember one play where I thought he missed a block, but it’s not coming to me. Everyone is talking about that dropped TD pass (which was awful and he should have caught blindfolded) but, again, rust. Let’s not worry about that just yet. He really did better than I expected as a blocker.

        I am officially on the Paulsen bandwagon though. Seriously, he looked great out there. Now, it wasn’t against the 1s (at least not that I can remember) so let’s keep that in context. But he showed his potential. He very much looked like the best blocker in fundamentals and size. He just passes the eye test as a blocker. But he also split out quite a few times and made some good catches. He looked quicker than I remembered and he seemed to get open. Kind of hard to tell with the camera focused on the QB, but it seemed like he was open a lot. It was against bad defenders, and he certainly isn’t fast, I’m just saying he looked better than I remembered. I hope they stick him in with the 1s sometime in the next 3 weeks so we can get a better feeling about him.

        I think it’s safe to say that Reed, Paul, Davis, and Paulsen are a very strong TE group.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 16, 2016 at 3:27 AM

      If we’re including all the linemen, not just the 5 who started, it’s more than just Long that Gruden could have been referring to. There were quite a few who looked like they were still asleep. Let’s see how they do the rest of the preseason before we get too down on them. Although I understand the frustration.

  8. bangkokben - Aug 15, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Just throwing this out there.

    Kirk Cousins

    ESPN Fantasy Projection: 4,550.8 yards, 29.7 TDs

    That would shatter the franchise record in passing yards at the same time in this modern age about five QBs break 4500 yards every year.

  9. Eddy - Aug 15, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    Hopefully cousin will take us there

  10. Eli - Aug 15, 2016 at 1:46 PM

    Does this means Cousins won’t be creating a personal logo?

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 15, 2016 at 2:47 PM

      It would be easy. The vertical line of a K with a c in place of the diagonal K lines. Then maybe some thunder bolts, a mini van, and the 4 horsemen of the appocolypse in the background for good form.

      • bangkokben - Aug 15, 2016 at 6:06 PM

        Awesome. Chuckling to dinner. Archives

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