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Hold your breath and grip your armrests as Kirk Cousins starts for the Redskins

Redskins QB Kirk Cousins

Thoughts about Kirk Cousins fall into two camps, those who believe Cousins will solve all the problems of the Redskins and those who want to prove Robert Griffin III is best by seeing Cousins fail.

Both views go to show just how much a clustercluck the Redskins have become, but what true fans hopes a player fails?

Who can do a straight up football analysis of the Washington Redskins? Not I said the Hog Heaven. We do look at some numbers at the tail end of this post, but have no confidence it its predictability.

There is no easy fix for what ails Washington. Even firing Mike Shanahan is no easy fix. There is a price to pay that's more than money. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind though.

The owner must be loyal to the strategic plan

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder

No player, executive or staff is as important to Daniel Snyder right now as his strategic plan, if he has one. If he doesn't, he better create one before making any executive changes.

Mr. Snyder and Mike the Knife hatched a plan when Danny hired Shanny. Shanahan created that plan when he signed on in 2010, but Snyder bought into it and the timeline tied to it. So Snyder's first decision is whether that plan is one worth keeping or to chuck it with Shanahan, assuming Shanahan is leaving.

His next decision is whether he has the right guy implementing the plan. Outsiders like us think we know the answer. Only the two men know what really went down and how that affects team dynamics. It will be years before we know the full story. The problem had more to do than Thanksgiving dinner with the Griffins and the Snyders.

If the plan is good and valid, it is the guide to Snyder's next hire decision. After 15 years of ownership, Snyder should have learned enough to set his own plan rather than buying into one sold by his next big name hire. Strategic thinking is where we trust Snyder the least. 

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. is the poster child of an NFL owner whose strategic plan for the San Francisco 49ers drove success throughout the 1980s. I believe DeBartolo is banned from NFL management, but Snyder should buy him a couple of lunches and pick his brain for how he structured his management, picked his executives and developed player relationships.

Boring stuff, but that's how winners are made.

There is no such thing as an indispensable player or coach

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III

Strategic planning abhors the notion. It accounts for what happens when high value people are not available, or do not produce. "Contingency planning" are boring words. you cannot become a perennial contender without it.

No one is ever bigger than the team. Ever.

In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, it's the next play, not the last one, nor last year, that counts.

Fans should not be dismissive that RGIII should have been shut down, although it was a move better made in the first four games this season rather than the last three.

Nor should anyone presume RG's No. 1 status for 2014. Assuming the Redskins' offense places a premium on pocket passing skills, training camp 2014 is likely to feature a quarterback competition. Think Mike Vick vs. Nick Foles in Philadelphia. Think too how that paid off  for the Eagles even though Vick won the contest as everyone expected.

If Capt. Kirk does well, there would be as strong an argument to keep him as to trade him.


Was Mike Shanahan thinking of Mark Sanchez when he deactivated RGIII?

Jets QB Mark Sanchez

Sanchez was lost to the Jets when Coach Rex Ryan thoughtless put him into a meaningless exhibition game that the Jets were losing anyway. The move prematurely ended the QB competition Ryan was running.

Rookie Geno Smiith was the clear fan favorite, but the Jets are carrying him this season. Sanchez might have done better.   

By announcing that the team would sign another quarterback rather than play RG, Mike the Knife removed the Sanchez-Smith scenario from happening here.

Washington loses everything if Griffin enters one of these late season games and blow out a knee…again…now.

Does size matter?

Cousins has a 104.4 passer rating from his one start against Cleveland last year. His appearances in four other games are a drag on his rating that now stands at a career 75.9. Hit true potential is somewhere between those two numbers. Entering games late when he is cold is not a true test. Sample size matters when looking at stats. (Clinton Portis has a 116 passer rating on three TD passes in six attempts.)

Cousins needs six to eight consecutive starts to find himself, like every other starting quarterback in the class of '12.

Lets figure that Cousins is making the equivalent of his third start. Here are the passer ratings of QBs in their third game compared to their career rating.

Ø  Andrew Luck, 75.7 / 80.3, L

Ø  Robert Griffin III, 90.4 / 91.5, L

Ø  Russell Wilson, 99.3 / 103.0, W

Ø  Nick Foles, 82.2 / 97.6, L

Ø  Ryan Tannehill, 50.2 / 80.0, L

Ø  Brandon Weedon, 64.7 / 71.8, L

Quarterbacks worth keeping show it in early career games. Stat masters won't consider a sample size less than eight games or 300 total pass attempts to be valid for projections. However, the next three games will be enough to tell if Cousins is a keeper.

Shanahan seems to think he is. He is soliciting first round bids, or the Draft chart equivalent, for Cousins.

Kirk's future is in the stars

Hog Heaven had a guest post by Hollywood Psychics last week. That got us wondering about horoscope for Capt. Kirk. We found this online at cafeastrology.com for the  August 19 birthday boy.

You have personal charisma, and whatever you do, your individuality shines through. You tend to attract hardworking, ambitious, and loyal partners into your life.

2013 is a Number Six year for you. Ruled by Venus. This is a year of relative contentment. It is a time when love is the easiest to attract, and partnerships formed under this vibration have a better chance for longevity. You are able to attract others, and material things as well, this year. This is a good year for establishing harmony in the family and in the home.

2014 will be a Number Seven year for you. Ruled by Neptune. This is a year of preparation, chance, and refinement. It is not a time of dramatic changes.

Make of it what you will.

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