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There didn’t appear animosity behind Cousins’ fiery question. It was the reaction of a competitor with a subtle but clear underlying message: Pay me.
Cousins signed his $19.9 million franchise tag this offseason knowing he’d have to prove himself to earn a long-term deal after just 25 career starts. McCloughan added this summer that he hoped Cousins played so well this year he forced the team to fork over a Brinks Truck-worth of dough.
If he had accepted the deal, Cousins would have ranked 21st in average annual salary among quarterbacks, tied with Bengals signal-caller Andy Dalton. As it stands, Cousins will make $20 million under the franchise tag in 2016, $4 million more than the Redskins’ multi-year offer.
In the upcoming months, Cousins has an opportunity now to play up to his 2015 level and earn an even greater yearly average during next year’s free agency period.
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Washington general manager Scot McCloughan knows Whitner from their time together in San Francisco, and might view the veteran as a potential starter over strong safety David Bruton, who has been hideous against the run and pass.
The Redskins need help in the secondary, but it doesn’t stop there. After watching the team allow Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell to play like an evolutionary Marcus Allen in Week 4, Washington will be targeted by opposing run games until they show any hint of resistance. Don’t hold your breath.
It wasn’t just the passing game that lit Green Bay’s defense aflame. Rob Kelley had his third consecutive monster outing, running for 137 yards and three touchdowns for his first career 100-plus-yard game. With Matt Jones sidelined, Kelley has taken the starting running back role by force. His head-down, straight-away running style makes him one of the league’s most difficult backs to bring down and puts the ‘Skins in easy down-and-distance situations on every drive.
Jared Cook returned from his seven-week absence with a bang. The tight end, acquired by the Packers in the offseason, had by far his best game in the green and gold and his best since Week 1 of 2013. Cook finished with 105 yards on six catches and a team-high 10 targets, providing Aaron Rodgers with a consistent receiving threat in the middle of the field. His fourth-quarter fumble in Washington territory cemented Green Bay’s loss, but wasn’t enough to dampen a promising return.
The Ravens appeared to have the game under control after jumping out to an early lead on a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, but injuries changed the complexion of the game. Top receiver Steve Smith went down with an ankle injury late in the first quarter and cheap jerseys and never returned. By late in the second quarter, guard Marshal Yanda was forced to kick outside to right tackle, leaving only center Jeremy Zuttah in his original position among Baltimore offensive linemen. Minus Smith, the wide receivers couldn’t shake free of man coverage. Unable to protect Joe Flacco against Redskins defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Trent Murphy, play-caller Marc Trestman apparently didn’t feel comfortable dialing up downfield strikes to test that tight man coverage.
Flacco’s offense went in the tank from the middle of the first quarter until the final drive of the game when he converted a fourth down with his legs to reach scoring territory. Flacco unfurled a beauty over All Pro cornerback Josh Norman, but Perriman couldn’t get his second foot down inbounds.
Redskins first-round rookie wideout Josh Doctson was activated from the physically unable to perform list just prior to the cut down to the 53-man roster. He suffered an Achilles injury during minicamp and is finally making his way back. He was seen at practice, per multiple reports.
Doctson was picked No. 22 overall after topping 1,000 yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns each of the past two seasons at TCU. He joins DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed on a list of pretty impressive offensive tools for Cousins in his second year as the starter.