February 8, 2016

Washington Redskins: Scot McCloughan talks culture, Kirk Cousins, the draft, and more

(Photo by: Redskins)

(Photo by: Redskins)

Yes the end of the year may have been disappointing from the standpoint that the Washington Redskins succumbed to the Green Bay Packers out home, but the fact remains that with Scot McCloughan in charge they are a franchise much on the rise. Between North and South practices of the Senior Bowl on Wednesday afternoon, the Skins general manager took the time to conduct his mandatory end of year press conference.

McCloughan made it very clear from the very beginning that “the culture is going in the right direction.” Not only are the Redskins starting to get the right player personnel pieces together, but the coaching staff is much improved from previous regimes. The superb talent evaluator does not think the club is necessarily ahead of schedule after winning the NFC East division after just one year in charge but knows “we are going in the right direction.”

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Washington Redskins pound Cowboys with multiple record-breaking performances

The Washington Redskins arrived at Jerry World with nothing to gain in the standings with a victory. That being said, Jay Gruden had the “intent” of winning a football game with the healthy bodies he had available. Facing off against the Dallas Cowboys and their fourth quarterback of the year, the Redskins got everything they wanted out of the game as a great tuneup before the playoffs. Washington continued momentum and Kirk Cousins broke some records on the way to a 9-7 record via a 34-23 win against the archrival Cowboys.

Dallas started the game off with a three-and-out thanks to a drop on third down even though Will Blackmon fell down in coverage against Cole Beasley. Washington punted after a single first down picked up but saw Jordan Reed break Chris Cooley’s franchise record (83) for most receptions in a single season by a tight end. Kirk Cousins also joined Jay Schroeder and Brad Johnson as the only people to throw for over 4,000 yards in a single-season. The Redskins offense got the ball back after Kellen Moore went three-and-out again because of hurried throws from a strong pass rush.

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Washington Redskins: Skins clinch NFC East with impressive victory over Eagles in primetime

When the season started, the Washington Redskins were easily the laughing stock of the NFL. Robert Griffin III was benched and Kirk Cousins was given the keys to the team. With Tony Romo hurt, Chip Kelly’s player personnel thinking not panning out, and the Giants defense out of sorts, the NFC East was up for grabs.

Things might not have looked pretty early in the year, or even near halftime of today’s game, but in the end Kirk Cousins is showing why he is a starter in the National Football League. Behind 365 yards passing, four touchdowns, and poise after making an ultimate blunder from Cousins, the Washington Redskins steamrolled the Philadelphia Eagles 38-24. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Week 16 Injury Report

With the biggest game of the season approaching, a Saturday night matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles for the chance to represent the NFC East in the playoffs, the Washington Redskins are hoping for positive news on the injury front as the week progresses. Washington has shown that they are capable of playing competitive football, but Scot McCloughan has not had enough time to put together a team that can withstand so many injuries. With 14 players already on the season ending injured reserve list, the Redskins can ill afford losing any more bodies following the Bills game.

With the shortened week, Washington will hold walkthroughs on Tuesday and Friday that sandwich “two good days of practice” on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Washington Redskins: Drought against AFC East and back-to-back wins is over as Skins top Bills

COUSINS THROWS 4 TD PASSES, RUNS FOR ONE TO LEAD REDSKINS TO .500

skinsIn the last regular season game at FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins boast a 5-2 record going in, the Buffalo Bills stood in their way to keep pace in the woeful NFC East. With the easiest remaining schedule in the division, the Skins were still looking for back-to-back victories for the first time since Week 8 of last season. A clinic by quarterback Kirk Cousins, with a career high five total touchdowns, allowed the Redskins to continue their success against the Ryan brothers. Despite a couple of big plays by Buffalo in the second half, Washington dominated the Bills for their first victory over an AFC East team since 2007, 35-17.

It has been customary for Alfred Morris to start the game on offense, which continued today. Two yards on his first three rushes looked to stall Washington’s opening drive, but Cousins delivered a beautiful ball in between the corner and safety to DeSean Jackson on a double move for a 28-yard game. Sean McVay started to exploit the Bills run defense with play-action and bootlegs that netted 35 yards on three plays with a great second effort by Alfred Morris sprinkled in. Faced with a goal-to-go situation, Cousins fired to Jordan Reed who ripped the ball away from former Redskin Bacarri Rambo for a touchdown.

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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 Redskins: Dominant early, gutty performance late equals Skins first road win of season against Bears

Even with a disappointing loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and Jay Gruden know that everything they want to achieve is still obtainable. The Redskins still control their own destiny in the playoff hunt, but they know that there was no longer room for error. Against the Chicago Bears on the road, it looked like Washington might run away with things early by jumping out to a 14-0 lead, but an inability to capitalize on turnovers allowed Chicago right back into the things. Thanks to another great game from Jordan Reed and the heavy foot of Bears’ kicker Robbie Gould, Washington escaped Soldier Field with their first road victory of the season, 24-21, and move to 6-7 on the year.

Usually things do not go well for Washington when they are forced to start with the football instead of deferring to the second half; that changed today. Kirk Cousins was a perfect 5 of 5 for 60 yards on the drive including a strong throw to Rashad Ross outside the numbers for a third-and-12 conversion. Jordan Reed came up huge with two first down thanks to extra effort and yards after the catch. Alfred Morris scored from one yard out for his first touchdown of the year to give Washington the early 7-0 lead.

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Washington Redskins continue trend of primetime nightmares by fumbling away division against Cowboys

DESEAN JACKSON BUNGLES LATE PUNT RETURN, SCORES MINUTES LATER — ALL TO NO AVAIL

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Last week’s victory over the New York Giants to take control of the NFC East showed that the Washington Redskins are indeed contenders, not just pretenders. However, with the Philadelphia Eagles returning to form with the return of Sam Bradford, the magnitude of a prime time matchup against the archrival Dallas Cowboys grew.

In their last 22 games in night games, Washington is a dismal 4-18, though they were victorious last year in Dallas under the lights. After the team’s traded  field goals, an action-packed final two minutes ended in the Redskins doom.

Dan Bailey hit a 54-yard field goal with 9 seconds to go and the Cowboys further muddled the mess that is the NFC East with a 19-16 win over the Redskins.  [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Opportunistic defense helps Skins down Giants to take control of NFC East

TEAM CLAIMS FIRST PLACE IN DIVISION AS SCHEDULE MOVES INTO DECEMBER

(Photo by: @Redskins)

(Photo by: @Redskins)

Although much has been made about all games being important by both Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, the Washington Redskins were faced with a true must-win situation when they hosted the New York Giants on Sunday at FedEx Field. A win and Washington would be in first place in the NFC East and firmly control their own destiny; a loss would set them looking toward the offseason and three games back of division contention. The Giants streak of five consecutive victories over Washington was snapped as the Redskins will go into December as the NFC East leader after a 20-14 win.

The Redskins led all day, but Odell Beckham, Jr.’s diving, one-handed touchdown catch from Eli Manning with 4:57 left drew the Giants within a touchdown, prompting nerves from all in attendance. But the Redskins were able to churn out a couple of first downs — via Alfred Morris — and when the Giants got the ball back with just 19 seconds left, there was little they could do — though a hook-and-lateral on the last play at least made the final play fun to watch. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Week 12 Injury Report

With first place in the weakened NFC East on the line, the Washington Redskins are hoping to be completely healthy when they take on the New York Giants at FedEx Field.

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