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With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

The obstacles mounted for the Redskins on Sunday. Injuries and fat rain drops and wind and more injuries, stacking up like Beltway traffic. 

There were plenty of reasons for the Redskins to lose to the Cowboys, every one of the 70,000 people at FedEx Field knew as much.

For Washington to win, in a game with a depleted roster and a devastated offensive line, Jay Gruden's team would need to play their best. 

And they didn't. 

Early in the game, it looked like the Redskins had a chance for their first NFC East win of the year.

Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott fumbled his first carry of the game. The first play from scrimmage, the Redskins defense got a turnover and gifted the offense with prime field position. Only the offense couldn't convert, not even a single first down, and the team settled for a field goal. 

It was a sign of things to come.

There was a brief period of prosperity for the Redskins and an early 13-7 lead even. But late in the second quarter, disaster struck. The Cowboys blocked a Redskins field goal attempt, a low shot from rookie kicker Nick Rose. Dallas returned the ball more than 80 yards, nearly scoring, and Elliott punched it in a few plays later. 

It was a 10-point swing. Instead of a 16-7 lead, the Redskins now trailed, 14-13. 


"The blocked field goal which was very costly, obviously. We could have gone up by nine," Gruden said after the game. "Instead, they got the ball at our one-yard line. That was a big one."

In the second half, turnovers and ineffective offense combined with even more injuries to sink the Redskins. Even Chris Thompson, Washington's best player through seven games, had a fumble. 

In a game that started with a beat up offensive line lacking three starters, things got worse when guard Shawn Lauvao left the action. The line was a mess, the Redskins couldn't run the ball, and Kirk Cousins didn't play all that great either.  

Cousins' play has become a flash point for Redskins fans. Like the city's biggest business of politics, Cousins has become a divisive topic in Washington. 

His stats show a player that completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards to go with one touchdown and one interception. Like he usually does, Cousins completed more than 65 percent of his passes. 

Beyond the stats though, Cousins had two near interceptions in the second half, one thrown right after the other. The same thing happened against San Francisco. 

And Cousins also threw a late interception that sealed the loss for the Redskins. The same thing happened last week in Philadelphia. In three of the Redskins four losses, Cousins has thrown a late interception that effectively ended the game. 

To be fair, the INT came on a tipped ball. It was hardly Cousins fault, or at least entirely his fault. 


And it's also worth pointing out Cousins played the game in terrible conditions.

The rain fell fast and hard by the end of the game, and it was nasty out there on the field when the Redskins passer had the chance to pull off the game-winning drive. Cousins also had a patchwork offensive line, no Jordan Reed or Niles Paul for much of the game, and had to deal with wide reciever drops all game.

In no way did Cousins lose the game for the Redskins, but he didn't win it either. 

A few different times now this season, Cousins has had the opportunity to go win the game for the Redskins. It's not all on him, obviously, but a lot of it is. Quarterbacks get too much credit for wins, and yes, they also get too much blame for losses. 

To beat Dallas on Sunday, the Redskins needed the best out of Cousins. They didn't get it. And they didn't win. 

Some games, some teams can win without a great game from their quarterback.

For the Redskins, Sunday's contest against Dallas was not one of those games. 

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Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins


Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins

NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets. 

While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:

Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. 

Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks. 


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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.