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It may not be a perfect match, but Kirk Cousins and the read option do look good together

It may not be a perfect match, but Kirk Cousins and the read option do look good together

The Redskins called a read option on Sunday for a quarterback that they drafted in 2012, and the play worked perfectly. 

The catch? It was Kirk Cousins running it, not Robert Griffin III.

With less than four minutes remaining and the Redskins clinging to a three-point lead vs. the 49ers, Jay Gruden chose to go with the unconventional run on San Francisco’s 7-yard line. It unfolded flawlessly, as No. 8 was able to scamper into the end zone untouched.

RELATED: If Redskins want to be great, they shouldn't be satisfied with barely beating 49ers

After Washington's 26-24 victory, Cousins mentioned how Griffin, as well as Niners coach Kyle Shanahan, were key in teaching him about the useful play back when all three were in D.C. together in 2012 and 2013. 

“I would credit going back to my rookie year with Robert here, we did it a lot,” Cousins said in his press conference. “Kyle told me when he left, he said, ‘I’ve learned after working with Robert that this is a really valuable play no matter who the quarterback is and I’ll always carry it with me.’ So, when Jay arrived we kept it and valued it.”

Gruden may not value it as much as his beloved fade, but he and his signal caller are clearly very comfortable with it. They’ve tried it multiple times from inside the 10 this year, and will also sprinkle it in when they need to convert a third down in the middle of the field, like they did in Week 4 in Kansas City.

The head coach likes how the read option gives the offense an advantage over the defense. He also likes Cousins’ ability to execute it.

“[It] allows you to block one less guy,” he said. “You read him. Obviously Kirk is not exactly the read option quarterback that you would be looking for if you were looking for a read option quarterback, but he’s very effective at it.”

Cousins isn’t going to win many footraces and when the defense doesn’t bite on the fake, he has major trouble making defenders miss. Therefore, the Redskins have to carefully pick their spots with the read option, which is something Cousins said himself.

But Sunday was just the latest example of how well it can go when it’s used in the right situation. While the read option with Cousins may not be the most beautiful read option, often times time for the Redskins, the results are. 

MORE: Must See Photos: NFL Week 6, Redskins 26 San Francisco 24

 

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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