Category Archives: Redskins

Redskins-Giants Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games, this time a 29-27 win at New York …

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 9.34.54 PM

Winners

Su’a Cravens — Gorgeous game-clinching INT for the rookie safety/LB we all have high hopes for.

Kirk Cousins — This wasn’t Good Kirk, but it wasn’t Bad Kirk either (except for taking that sack at the end of the first half). A step in the right direction. By the way, he’s on pace for 5,275 passing yards, which would be the third-most ever.

Jamison Crowder — Four catches for 78 yards, including a 55-yard TD. Also broke off a 50-yard punt return that featured him dancing on both sidelines.

Quinton Dunbar — I have no idea what he was doing on the punt return he accidentally touched that later turned into a TD for NY. But that high degree of difficulty one-handed red-zone INT made up for it. Also caught a fake-punt downfield pass like he was DeSean.

DeSean Jackson — Five catches for 96 yards and one beautiful score. Continues to look good this (contract) year.

Josh Norman — ODB got some (seven catches, 121 yards), but it took 11 targets to do it, and he never found paydirt. Oh, and Norman made him cry.

Jordan Reed — Unreal one-handed catch-and-run on a long third down for a first.

David Bruton Jr. — Even though it wasn’t ruled as such, that looked like an end-zone INT to me.

Trent Murphy — Another sack. That’s three in two weeks.

Chris Baker — Absolutely crushed Eli, forcing a fumble.

Dustin Hopkins — Five-for-five on field goals, and the only kickoff he didn’t touchback was a short one that was returned shy of the 25 (more on that later).

Tress Way — Who knew Tress Way had an arm on him?

Jay GrudenNot calling timeout at the end of the half was bad clock management, and running it on third-and-three on the final drive was too conservative, but they did have a more balanced offense and got a much-needed win at New York, so here we are.

The raised fists — Nice to see, in light of Gruden’s earlier comments.

Losers

Bashaud Breeland, Shaun Lauvao, DeAngelo Hall and Kory Lichtensteiger — All hurt, and Breeland and Lavau better not be for long. Hall’s may be an ACL.

Dashaun Phillips — All I know is he can’t stay with Sterling Shephard.

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 9.35.21 PM

Medium

Trent Williams — Had to play some left guard, where he’d never played before.

Matt Jones and Chris Thompson — Twenty-three carries for 88 yards. Okay.

Robert Kelley — Between the hair and lack of extra yards, it’s hard to tell the difference between him and Jones.

Orleans Darkwa — What’s an Orleans Darkwa?

Ben Kowitca (special teams coach) — Had a punt blocked (negated by penalty). Pulled off a successful fake punt. And I’m not sure if this is strategy or what, but each of the past two weeks Hopkins has pooched a kickoff high and to the right, and the other team hasn’t gotten it out to the 25. Something to watch.

Redskins-Cowboys Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games. This time a 27-23 home loss to Dallas …

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 8.08.39 PM

Winners

Josh NormanHis office remained mostly stationary, set up on the left side of the field. He did shut Dez Bryant down whenever they were matched up, though, and punched a fumble out of Ezekiel Elliott’s breadbasket. As good as advertised so far.

Trent Murphy — One-and-a-half sacks and a forced fumble! Trent Murphy sighting!

Chris ThompsonThis blitz pickup, on a third-and-seven, is a thing of beauty. Nice catch-and-run for 38 on the final drive.

Jamison Crowder — That was a hell of a TD catch. Also caught six balls on eight targets.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis — Ten catches and 121 yards on 12 targets for the duo.

Dustin Hopkins — Two shorts FGs and plenty of touchbacks. Did not leave a surprise onside kick well short of the 10-yard mark.

Alfred Morris — Scored an untouched go-ahead TD in his triumphant return. Wish we could cheer for him still.

Losers

Kirk Cousins — The missed connection with a wide-open Crowder and the back-breaking end-zone INT were bad enough. But it was the little things, too. He’s not good right now, and the Redskins are bad when he’s not good.

Those calling for Colt McCoy — Start Cousins until he’s hurt.

The defense — Dallas shouldn’t score 27 points when they don’t have Tony Romo. Chalk it up to adjustment issues? Maybe, but also to Norman and Ryan Kerrigan being surrounded by replacement-level talent.

Jay Gruden and Sean McVay — Fifty planned passes versus 15 planned runs in a game that was tight throughout. They were getting 4.1 yards per carry, too. The bloom is coming off of a lot of roses.

Bashaud Breeland — Had trouble with Dez and tackled Cole Beasley for pass interference on the goal line. Tough season for 26.

Kory Lichtensteiger — The much-maligned center somehow messed up the snap on a spike play, forcing a 10-second runoff with 18 to play. You don’t see that much.

David Bruton Jr. — Doesn’t tackle too good.

John WallC’mon, man.

Medium

Matt Jones — Thirteen carries for 61 yards and a badly needed TD. Doesn’t seem capable of breaking tackles or getting extra yards.

DeSean Jackson — Three catches for 40 yards. He’d be a monster right now if Cousins was cooking.

Josh Doctson — Caught and ran one for 57 when the whole defense was keyed in on DeSean. Was also targeted on three end-zone fades, none of which were caught.

Redskins-Steelers Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games, this time a season-opening 38-16 loss to Pittsburgh at home on Monday Night Football …

Winners

Matthew McCounaghey — The burgundy-and-gold suit was a nice touch.

Jordan Reed — Impressive on the first drive, at least.

DeSean Jackson — Six catches for 102 yards. Reinforced the opinion that he’s in for a big year.

Chris Thompson — Scored a TD on the day his brother got out of prison.

Sean McDonough — Liked him in his MNF debut, especially when he asked Jon Gruden, “Do you want to blast your brother?” for punting on 4th-and-1 from the Pittsburgh 40.

Arthur Moats — Started at LB for Pittsburgh. Go Dukes!

Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 10.06.37 PM

Losers

Kirk Cousins — So that was terrible. Inaccurate out of the gate, he had one bad INT dropped and another bad INT caught. Rushed throws and failed to scramble — or even move, really — all night. Clear regression from the second half of last year. Showed why you don’t hand out a huge contract based on a 10-game stretch.

Jay Gruden — Chose to kick and punt on two 4th-and-short situations in Pittsburgh territory in the first half. Resulted in three points. Mike Tomlin went for it twice on 4th-and-1 in Washington territory. Resulted in 14 points.

Bashaud Breeland — Had the near-impossible assignment of matching up with Antonio Brown most of the night, one-on-one in many cases, and was burnt for two TDs. Better gear up for more WR1s down the line.

Matt Jones — Seven carries for 24 yards. (Didn’t fumble or get hurt, though.)

Jamison Crowder — Fair caught with no one in his area code. Fumbled after making a first down (Pierre Garcon recovered).

Trent Williams — Penalized twice. That should be his season total.

Greg Toler — Looked real bad in coverage on a 42-yard catch by Sammie Coates.

The defense in general — No pass rush. Couldn’t stop the run. Couldn’t get off the field. May be a long season.

D.C.-area Dancing With the Stars fansSorry, y’all.

Medium

Antonio Brown — Penalized for twerking. Is so, so good.

Josh NormanGot into a shouting match with a teammate, and it was downhill from there. Didn’t play bad, and nearly made a couple big plays, but he was on the other side of the field from Brown most of the night. Bummer.

Ryan Kerrigan — Strip-sacked Big Ben and then got stripped himself. Better luck next time.

usa-today-9034481.0

Redskins 2016 Offseason Grade: B?

Old friend of the site Bill Barnwell is handing out offseason grades over at ESPN, and his NFC East batch gives the Skins a B. Solid.

The highlights? Franchising Cousins and swapping Culliver for Norman. The lowlight? Not improving the backfield, unless you think cutting FroMo is addition by subtraction.

I thought it was a good offseason, though so much of it comes down to the draft. And at least Dallas got a C.


Redskins-Packers Predictions

vince-lombardi13

As ever, these are our crackerjack staff’s predictions for the Wild Card game. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest gets to make a guest post on this here weblog.

JP Finlay: Redskins, 34-20

This seems ridiculous to write, but I think the Skins roll. Rodgers has been sacked 14 times his last two games. Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have five sacks just between the two of them in the last two. It’s bad math for Green Bay between their slumping O-line and the Skins surging D-line.

Oh yeah, the Redskins offense is cooking. They will score. Wild Card round is usually about the hot hand; few are hotter than Kirk Cousins.

Are there reasons to worry? Of course. Aaron Freaking Rodgers ranks No. 1. And certainly some part of Gruden/McVay/Cousins could get tight. I just don’t see it happening though.

When you’re at a hot blackjack table, don’t get up.

Matt Terl: Packers, 24-21

I can’t believe, after everything, that this team has a home playoff game in which they were somehow (however briefly) favored. Like Kevin Stroop noted here earlier this week, that’s a hell of an accomplishment all by itself. I still feel like Rodgers and the Packers will wind up winning the game, but good on Gruden and Cousins and the Skins for even making this a conversation at all.

Todd Davis: Redskins, 27-23

I’m completely with Finlay on this game. While it would be the most Washington thing to buck the very strong “hot teams win WC games” trend, Green Bay just can’t score consistently right now and the Skins shaky secondary really isn’t something the current group of Packers receivers looks capable of exploiting. Biggest concern is Turnover Cousins returning as playoff sphincters clinch, but he’s playing with house money and it would take an awful lot of disaster to knock this group’s confidence right now.

Andy Peden: Packers, 28-27

I said before the season I was no longer emotionally invested in the Skins. That probably wasn’t the right description. I think it was more like I’m not going to let the losses ruin my day, but I still care. So now that the unbelievable has happened (division champs) and I actually believe this team can win a playoff game, I will have my soul crushed Sunday.

Jack Kogod: Redskins, 27-21

BANDWAGON is out in full force. I’m still not on it though. My brother asked when I’d quit with the “don’t care about the Redskins” act, and I honestly don’t have an answer. I’m not sure what it would take to get me invested in this franchise again. The new GM is definitely a good start, but I still feel like it’s a long way off. That said, I would love for this team to make my friends and family happy again, even if it means Dan Snyder being happy.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.20.15 AM

Chris Mottram: Packers, 34-31

The Panthers get the bye week they deserve (although you could argue Week 17 against the Bucs was one too lol) after proving to be the best team in football this season. I’m hoping they get to the play the Redskins in the Divisional Round cause that team SUCKS, but Carolina shouldn’t be afraid of whoever comes to town.

Jamie Mottram: Redskins, 30-20

Given how little was expected, I’m happy with this season no matter what. Just like 2005 and 2007. And 2012, too, if not for the franchise-crippling injury at the end there.

The Redskins hired a real GM, found their quarterback (we think) and won the NFC East. All good things. All great things. But that doesn’t mean I’m just fine with a loss on Sunday.

You don’t root for nine wins, or the division, or to be hanging from the bottom rung of the NFL’s upper class.

They have about a 50-percent chance of winning Sunday. Then maybe a 40-percent chance on the road against Carolina or Arizona next week. And then maybe another 40-percent chance should they make it to the conference title. After that, let’s take it back up to 50, because who knows. There’s about a four-percent chance Washington goes all the way, is what I’m saying. That’s four points better than Dallas, Philly and New York.

Beat Green Bay, make it to the elite eight. Then go win the whole fuckin’ thing.

Composite prediction: Redskins, 28-24

The Redskins Are Playing With Found Money

Guest writer and longtime Skins fan Kevin Stroop stops by to give thanks before Sunday’s Redskins-Packers playoff game at FedEx Field.

4.-NFC-East-Leaders-Washington-Redskins-8-7

This has to be one of the most unexpected division titles in Redskins history. As a fan, I am still in shock.

So how does this year feel different than the 2012 division title? Well, simply put, there were no expectations on this team this year. In 2012 there was a hint of optimism coming into the season. There was none of that this year.

We all remember the 2012 season and what that felt like. That second-half run to the playoffs and division title gave us a hint of what we thought was to come. The stadium in that week 17 game vs. Dallas was unlike anything I have ever felt. Euphoria doesn’t even begin to describe it.

We had invested so much in that team and expected so much that it felt like the payoff we deserved. We finally had a Super Bowl-winning coach and a game-changing franchise QB. Good times were ahead of us. Reality proved to be a lot different.

In 2015, we were still recovering from the aftermath of the 2012 season. The fans were apathetic. The team’s goals were simple: find out if they had a quarterback and show some improvement over last year’s four-win campaign.

Winning the division wasn’t even a consideration. For good reason, every single NFL prediction had the Redskins finishing in last place in the division. Vegas had them at 125-1 to win the Super Bowl and 15-1 to win the NFC East. Any sampling of NFL previews looked similar to this, from Bleacher Report:

This era of Washington football is dark and grim … General Manager Scot McCloughan has a long way ahead of him to rebuild this franchise, and [Jay] Gruden, while seemingly inept, appears to have job security heading into his sophomore season as the top dog. No one in Washington is thinking about laying it on the line for 2015. You shouldn’t be, either.

Earning the 2015 division title was a complete surprise. Clinching a division title in the NFL with eight wins is like finding $100 on the ground; you grab it and thank your lucky stars. Yes, the Redskins were fortunate to play in a bad division and they were fortunate to play only three teams with a winning record. But let’s not discount the team as pushovers.

They are 6-2 in their last eight games and also 6-2 at home. Kirk Cousins has put together an impressive string of games. The defense has come together and the Redskins have their key players on both sides of the ball playing well and staying healthy.

It’s not uncommon for a home team to defeat a team with a better record in the playoffs. And for all the talk about how bad the NFC East is, the Redskins were a respectable 5-5 out of the division.

Looking ahead, we do not know what 2016 will bring to this team. I think it is reasonable to assume the core will be back in Burgundy & Gold and we will eagerly anticipate the start of the season. There is no guarantee of a carryover to next season, though.

Occasionally, teams have this kind of year only to fade the next season. Look no further than the NFC East, where each team has won exactly two division titles in the last eight years, and no team has repeated as division champ since Philly in 2004.

In 2016, we may find out that Cousins is not a franchise QB. The team’s running woes may prove fatal. The defense may stink. The first-place schedule may bury them.

However, the NFC East should be there for the taking. Dallas should be better, but the Giants are doing Giants things, and the Eagles are recovering from the dumpster fire that is (was) Chip Kelly, so there is hope.

As for me, I am going to enjoy the ride this time, unburdened by expectations. I will be at the game on Sunday hoping for a win, but more than satisfied with the team if they lose. The enjoyment I’ve gotten from watching them this year has been found money, and I’m spending it without any regrets.

Have You Ever Looked At Jay Schroeder’s Pro Football Reference Page?

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 10.23.56 PMKirk Cousins’ amazing 2015 regular season, capped off by a fantastic Week 17 performance, brought something obvious into focus: Washington hasn’t enjoyed excellent quarterbacking during the modern, pass-heavy era.

Cousins broke a franchise record with 4,166 passing yards, you see. That’s only good for 10th in the NFL this season, but it’s more than any Washington passer ever, breaking Jay Schroeder’s 29-year-old mark of 4,109 in 1986.

I hadn’t thought about Schroeder in some time, but when I did think of him a few things came to mind:

*He had really blond hair and a very strong arm.
*He spent a good long time in the Blue Jays farm system.
*He bridged the gap between Theismann and Williams-Rypien.
*He was a decent quarterback, but not quite good enough.
*He was traded to Oakland for Jim Lachey, who was awesome.

While that’s all true and interesting enough, I didn’t realize just how fascinating Schroeder’s career was. Behold its curious magnificence, via his Pro Football Reference page:

1. Washington went 24-7 in games started by Schroeder, and 2-1 in playoff games. QB wins are bullshit, but that’s incredible, and it’s a credit to those Joe Gibbs-led Skins teams (and certainly to Gibbs himself).

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 10.23.13 PM

2. Schroeder threw 22 picks the year he set the record. That sounds like a ton, and it is, but it was also in line with his body of work and very much a sign of the time. Those 22 INTs tied Hall of Famers Phil Simms and Dan Fouts that year for fourth, and HOFers Warren Moon and Dan Marino threw 26 and 23, respectively.

3. His completion percentage that season was only 51.0%. And that’s actually slightly above his career average of 50.8%.

4. Schroeder was No. 1 in ’86 in yards per completion with 14.9. He actual led the NFL in this stat three times, and his career high was 17.0 with Oakland in ’89. (As a point of comparison, Cousins only averaged 11.0 this year, though he did complete 69.8% of his passes, so their yards per attempt were similar.)

5. His QB rating across three seasons with the Skins was only 73.0. That’s not great, even then. He did post a 90.8 with the Raiders in ’90, though.

6. He posted winning records with the Raiders and Cardinals, too. Schroeder went 32-25 across five seasons with Los Angeles and 5-3 in his one season with Arizona. He even led the Raiders to an AFC Championship game, meaning he was one win away from the Super Bowl with two different teams, going 12-4 both seasons. Not bad for a pretty mediocre, somewhat forgettable QB. (Or was he?)

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 10.23.21 PM

Redskins-Cowboys Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following Skins games, this time a 34-23 win at Dallas.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 4.33.47 PM

Winners

Kirk Cousins — Threw three TDs in the first quarter to cap off a dream season, breaking Jay Schroeder’s 29-year-old single-season passing record in the process.

Colt McCoy — Relieved Cousins for his first action in 2015, showed that he’s still a quality backup.

Alfred Morris — First 100-yard game since Week 1.

Jamison Crowder — Five catches for 107 yards and a TD. Finishes with 59 catches in his rookie season, breaking Art Monk’s 35-year-old mark. Not bad for a fourth-rounder.

Will Blackmon — Created two turnovers on the goal line today, one of which was a brilliant strip.

Chris Baker — Picked up a sack and flopped on a loose ball to cap off a bit of a breakout season.

Rashad Ross — Was wide open for a 71-yard TD from McCoy, the first receiving TD of his NFL career.

Pierre Garcon — Tied a career high with his sixth TD catch of the year. Also made an unbelievable one-handed catch, but was out of bounds.

Jordan Reed — Four catches on four targets, making that 31 catches on 33 targets over the past four games, I believe.

Will Compton — First career INT. Fast becoming a fan fave.

Preston Smith — Finishes with five sacks in the final three games. Leads all rookies with eight on the season.

Ryan Kerrigan — After starting the season with 3.5 sacks in the first nine games, he finished with six in the final seven.

Ryan Grant — Nice to see him produce (three catches, one TD) in DeSean Jackson’s absence.

Tress Way — Four punts, 50 yards per, three inside the 20.

Jay Gruden — It was a good problem to have but a tough spot to be in. Rest the starters? Play them for a bit and then pull them out? Go for regular-season records? Go for the win? Whatever. The starters looked great, thus maintaining momentum (for what it’s worth), and the backups got in a good run too, plus they buried Dallas in Dallas. Delicate, and delicious.

Losers

Kysheon Jarrett — Was tough to see him come off the field with tears in his eyes after suffering what we hope was a minor injury. He’d be a big loss in the Wild Card game.

Dashaun Phillips — Carted off the field as Cowboys fans did the wave.

(Ed. note: We’re not calling these guys “losers.” We’re just saying the game didn’t go well for them. That’s all.)

Medium

Packers, Seahawks or Vikings — Who we got?! (Update: It’s Green Bay, next Sunday at 4:30.)

(Top image taken with love from @Redskins.)

Redskins-Cowboys Predictions

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.32.56 AM

As ever, these are our crackerjack staff’s predictions for Week 17. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest gets to make a guest post on this here weblog.

JP Finlay: Redskins, 30-13

Skins win. Dallas suuuuuuucks. D-line pressure will keep it going against whoever is the Cowboys QB.

Matt Terl: Cowboys, 27-24

I mean, I dunno. It’s a meaningless game for GOOD reasons for once. I’m sure something awful will happen (RIP, someone’s knee, probably), but they’ll still be in the playoffs afterwards! That’s cool! (I’m trying Kirk Cousins-style earnestness on for size.)

Todd Davis: Redskins, 23-20

Even the backups have to be more motivated than the Cowboys playing out the string with Moore or Cassel. Also bet we see some inspired RB play given Pierre’s sudden emergence and the almost certain possibility that one of the Alf/Thompson/Jones/Thomas quartet won’t make the playoff roster. And I really hope we see as many backups as possible.

Andy Peden: Redskins, 27-16

Colt McCoy lights up the Cowboys again. Dallas gets the third pick in the draft.

Jack Kogod: Redskins, 17-13

[Peden’s prediction] sounds about right.

Chris Mottram: Redskins, 31-13

After losing in Atlanta and proving that they are total frauds who can only win 14 games, the Panthers now are playing a meaningful game in Week 17 — if they lose and the Cardinals win, Carolina is the 2-seed. But that ain’t happening at home against the Bucs. The road to the Super Bowl goes through the Queen City.

Jamie Mottram: Redskins, 27-17

Washington is rolling and Dallas is rolling over, which is a role reversal from last year, when the 11-4 Cowboys visited the 4-11 Redskins in Week 17 with nothing at stake. They won 44-17.

Composite prediction: Redskins, 26-15