June 26, 2017

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

OPINION: Determining Kirk Cousins’ future contract with the Redskins

(Photo by: Geoff Burke)

(Photo by: Geoff Burke)

The Washington Redskins enter the 2016 offseason with yet another quarterback conundrum.

However, this year’s decision is far different from what we’ve seen the past three seasons. Instead of deciding on which quarterback will enter the season as the starter — the inconsistent superstar or fan-favorite underdog– they need to decide if they’ve found their quarterback of the future or if Kirk Cousins still has some proving to do.

In his fourth season with the Redskins, and first as the bonafide starter, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. To go along with a 101.6 passer rating, he put together a 69.7 completion percentage. Not to be overlooked, he ran for five touchdowns, as well. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers: 5 Takeaways

Before we get into the nitty gritty and try to breakdown what all went wrong in the Washington Redskins Wild Card Round loss to the Green Bay Packers, it’s important to take a minute to recognize what was accomplished by the Burgundy and Gold this season.

After entering the bye week at 3-4 and with plenty of questions surrounding the future at quarterback and head coach, Jay Gruden’s team responded after a historic come-from-behind win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Redskins finished the season 7-3 to win the NFC East Division and earn a home playoff game.

At the beginning the season, the Redskins were a consensus pick to finish in last in the division. So to go from worst to first, even in a division as poor as the NFC East, is certainly quite an accomplishment.

But in football, there are no morale victories. The Washington Redskins storybook season came to an end on Sunday night at FedExField, a place where they lost just two games all season long. It’s on to the offseason for Scot McCloughan, who will have to negotiate a new contract with quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ final game of the season. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys: Five Takeaways

In what was ultimately a victory lap, the Washington Redskins rolled through the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, finishing off their first winning regular season since 2012.

The game’s eventual final score, 34-23, was not indicative of how much better the Redskins were on this day. Jay Gruden’s first team offense, led by fourth-year quarterback Kirk Cousins, jumped out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

For the remainder of the game, backup quarterback Colt McCoy directed the offense, leading them to 16 points over the final three quarters. McCoy’s appearance did not come as a surprise as Gruden said late last week that Cousins would start, but that the number of snaps he would receive was still unknown. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Takeaways

In the hometown of their division rivals, the Washington Redskins locked up the NFC East Division Championship, and a playoff spot, with a 38-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

After the Eagles marched down the field to score on the game’s opening drive, the Redskins responded two drives later with a score of their own. Once Jay Gruden’s bunch got going, they didn’t look back. Washington stretched their lead over the course of the game, making Saturday night’s playoff-clinching victory seem fairly easy.

Just by looking at the play selection, it’s clear what the Redskins’ gameplan was. Kirk Cousins finished with 365 yards on 31-of-46 passing, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. On the flip side, running backs Alfred Morris and Pierre Thomas combined for 21 carries and 69 yards. The Redskins passing attack is strong, but their running game is not.

As soon as the Redskins run into a team that forces them to run the football, they’ll falter. They have yet to prove that they can win the game running the football, but that doesn’t matter when the scoreboard shows them as the victors, as it has the past three weeks.

Along with that takeaway, here are five more from the Redskins’ victory over the Eagles. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 16 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Three weeks ago, we were amazed that the Washington Redskins were heading to the month of December with something left play for: the playoffs.

Now, we’re talking about the Redskins having something even greater to play for this December: an NFC East Division Championship.

These are the Redskins we’re used to seeing. Ever since their playoff run in 2012 fueled by the electrifying rookie-version of Robert Griffin III, it’s been heartache after heartache waiting for that team to return. Now led by a different quarterback from the same draft class, Kirk Cousins, Washington seems poised for another opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs.

As they prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles, check where the Redskins have climbed in the weekly NFL Power Rankings.

[Read more…]

Washington Redskins vs Buffalo Bills: 5 Takeaways

The Washington Redskins had themselves a day on Sunday afternoon at home against the Buffalo Bills.

It’s been well documented that the Redskins can simplify their playoff picture by winning. And with two of their last three games coming on the road, Sunday’s matchup with the Bills at FedExField was an important victory for Jay Gruden’s club since they have struggled on the road.

But a week after they picked up their first road win of the season at the Chicago Bears, Washington won their second consecutive game for the first time since Weeks 8 and 7 in 2014. Back at .500 for the first time since 2012, the Redskins are doing all they can to reach the playoffs.

And not only are they taking care of business, they’ve been doing it in an impressive manner. Are the Redskins beginning to peak at just the right time? Here are five more takeaways from Sunday’s impressive win. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 15 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

(Photo by: @Redskins)

(Photo by: @Redskins)

For the first time all year, the Washington Redskins left the friendly confines of FedExField and returned winners.

With a 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears, the Redskins solidified the fact that they control their own destiny when it comes to the playoffs. Win, and they’re in. It’s that simple.

The pundits have taken notice of the Redskins increasingly good level of play. Just by looking at the power rankings, it’s clear that they are front-runners to win the NFC East division. Check out where they rank.

[Read more…]

Washington Redskins lose Carrier, left looking for tight ends again

It was Derek Carrier’s first catch since Week 12 against the New York Giants. The pass was behind him and the tight end made an athletic play to bring it in.

The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Carrier pirouetted to make an acrobatic catch that most players at his position can’t make. Unfortunately, the Chicago Bears’ defender tackled him low, and the hit left the three-year veteran clutching his knee and rolling around the field in obvious pain. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins 5 Takeaways: Chicago Bears

The Washington Redskins traveled to Chicago to take on a Bears team that is just as bad at home as they are on the road.

And they won.

By a score of 24-21, the Redskins staved off a second-half charge from Chicago that saw them tie the game at the end of the third quarter. Unlike the Redskins Monday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Dustin Hopkins made more field goals than Robbie Gould, and that was the difference on the scoreboard.

Behind a fast start, the Redskins got to just enough of a lead to where a stronger second half by their opponent didn’t cost them the game. Jay Gruden‘s squad did just enough to hold for the victory, their sixth of the season.

Here are five more takeaways from the Redskins’ first road win of the season:

(AP Photo/Gary Hershorn)

(AP Photo/Gary Hershorn)

1. Kirk Cousins Played Well

One of these days, I won’t have to comment on whether or not quarterback Kirk Cousins played well. Going 24-31 with 300 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one rushing touchdown, I actually believe that this was one of his better performances. Save for his lone interception, which was a great play by the defensive back, he was careful with the football, but not afraid to take chances, hitting DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed for big gains. He was efficient, smart and didn’t cost his team the game — what more can you ask for from your starting quarterback? With one more 300-yard game, he’ll set the franchise record for a single season.

2. Matt Jones is Making Alfred Morris Obsolete

I’ll touch on this more this week, but rookie running back Matt Jones is making Alfred Morris more and more expendable with every carry. On Washington’s first drive, Morris scored his first touchdown of the season (that’s right, his first). For a guy that was expected to become a cornerstone of the franchise, he sure hasn’t been shouldering the workload this year. Jones carried the rock 18 times (seven more than Morris) and rushed for 62 yards, including a strong run at the end of the game to pick up a first down and ice the game for Washington.

3. The Defensive Backs Got Beat Deep…Often

The boxscore says that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 315 yards, but a 400+ yard performance was well within his grasp if he laid the football out for his receivers to run under on deep routes. On far too many plays, the Redskins’ defensive backs got beat deep. On what could have been the game-tying, or even winning, drive, Alshon Jeffery ran straight past the cornerback for the easy reception. If not for safety help over the top, he’d still be running. Washington’s secondary severely underperformed and it nearly cost them the game.

4. Jordan Reed Is A Matchup Nightmare

That’s not a secret, but it certainly became apparent early in the game there isn’t a single player on the Bears’ defense that matched up well with the tight end. Reed finished with nine receptions for 120 and one touchdown. When the Redskins lined Reed up in a three-point stance on the outside of the tackle, a linebacker was used to cover him, which typically ended in a reception. The former Florida Gator has all the tools to become one of the most dominant receivers, not just tight ends, in the NFL and Sunday’s display certainly proved that. Against Chicago, in particular, he’s been a killer. In just two games, he has 18 receptions for 254 yards and two touchdowns.

5. Defensive Front Strong

The Redskins’ defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage right from the get-go. While their offensive line saw a shift in favor of the Bears’ defensive line, Joe Barry‘s unit got strong up front as the game went along. Terrance Knighton, Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan all registered sacks, and Kerrigan and Knighton combined for three tackles-for-loss. They stifled Chicago’s rushing attack, holding the Bears to just 87 yards rushing. For his strip-sack, Murphy used a strong move to get past the right tackle, and he now has 3.5 sacks on the season.

 

Washington Nationals moving to phase two of offseason plan?

Consider Phase Two of Mike Rizzo’s offseason plan for the Washington Nationals underway.

(via @NBCSports)

Obviously, repairing an abysmal bullpen was Phase One, and the club’s general manager has made several moves to upgrade that staff. By adding Trevor Gott, Shawn Kelley and Yusmiero Petit, the bullpen looks to be in better shape.

And while Washington is reportedly still looking to deal disgruntled closers Drew Storen and/or Jonathan Papelbon, Rizzo’s focus has recently turned to the outfield. More specifically, they are seeking a left-handed hitter with plenty of pop. [Read more…]

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