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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.

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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

For whatever reason, a vocal subset of Redskins fans do not want quarterback Kirk Cousins to return in 2018. That group got an ugly reality check on Sunday.

Cousins' performance was not particularly great (18 of 26 for 196 yards and two TDs), but on the other side of the football came an actually bad performance. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 41 times for the Cardinals, completing just 16 passes, and the Arizona offense did not score a single touchdown. In fact, with Gabbert at the helm, Arizona hasn't scored a TD in two weeks. 

The debate about Cousins no longer seems to be about his ability. It's clear he's an NFL starting caliber quarterback. That can't be argued.

The debate about Cousins comes from his value. He will undoubtedly be overpaid in the coming offseason, whether that's on a $34 million franchise tag or a lucrative long-term deal. 

Cousins is not the best passer in the NFL, but for a brief period of time, it seems likely he will be the highest paid passer in the NFL. 

That's not Cousins fault. Market economics dictate that; for those that are upset, take it up with 18th century author Adam Smith. 

Back to Gabbert.

Some Redskins fans suggest the team could get much of Cousins production at a fraction of the price if they went with a less costly QB option in 2018. That might be true, but it's also a significant gamble. 

Washington backup QB Colt McCoy is better than Gabbert, and would be a better option. Lots of QBs are better than Gabbert. The larger point goes to disprove the theory that there isn't risk in letting somebody like Cousins walk. 

RELATED: REDSKINS MAKE MOST OF 'MEANINGLESS' GAME

Names will pop up about potential replacements for Cousins, guys that would carry a much lesser price tag, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor are two that pop to mind. 

Those options might be reasonable, but neither Dalton or Taylor are as good as Cousins. Look at the stats from the last three years, since Cousins was named starter. They just aren't.

And, if Cousins again chooses not to enter into long-term negotiations with the Redskins, the organization should look at drafting a passer. The team needs to look at its long-term future, that's only fair. 

The notion, however, that any QB out there could come in and help the Redskins needs to be dispelled. 

Gabbert disproved that by himself on Sunday.  

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The Redskins make the most out of their 'meaningless' mid-December game

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The Redskins make the most out of their 'meaningless' mid-December game

The Redskins got a win over a team with a quarterback who has no business being in the NFL. They had to sweat it out through four last-minute plays from the edge of the red zone. Washington also had to survive three bad special teams plays and a sluggish offensive performance.

The state of the team is such that the OK performance represented a major improvement for the Redskins. They had lost their previous two games by a combined score of 68-27, never having a lead in either game. Against the Cardinals, they took the lead on their second offensive play and never relinquished it.

This is where the Redskins are, after going through a horrid rash of injuries (Trent Williams and Zach Brown, perhaps their best players on each side of the ball, were out yesterday) and losing “coulda, shoulda” games against the Chiefs and Saints.

The Redskins got something more out of yesterday’s win. They found a couple of players who might be able to help them out in 2018. Among them are one player who has been around a while and another who just arrived in Ashburn a few weeks ago.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

The relative old timer is defensive end Anthony Lanier. He has been with the team since making the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Lanier has spent more time on the inactive list and on injured reserve than he has playing. Going into yesterday’s game, he had three sacks, one pass defensed and no forced fumbles in 12 career games.

Against the Cardinals, Lanier had two sacks, he batted down three passes and forced a fumble. His first sack and the fumble were important because it set up the Redskins to take an early lead, something they needed after having been non-competitive in their last two games.

“Anthony Lanier showed up in a big way early,” said Jay Gruden. “Made a sack-fumble, had another sack and batted a couple more balls. It was great to hear Anthony Lanier’s name over the intercom a few times and see how far he has come along from a young rookie free agent. He is getting better and better. The sky is the limit for him.”

If you want to throw some cold water on Lanier’s performance, you can argue that the Cardinals had a weak offensive line before losing two starters in their previous game. Go right ahead. Still, it looks like Lanier, Matt Ioannidis, and a healthy Jonathan Allen could be the core of a solid defensive front next year.

You can’t say that the Cardinals’ defense is weak; going into the game they were No. 5 in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. It’s harder to dismiss the performance of running back Kapri Bibbs.

Unlike Lanier, who contributed throughout the game, most of Bibbs’ shining moments came in one drive. He has only been around for a few weeks, having signed to be on the practice squad on November 24 and getting elevated to the 53-man roster on December 12. All he had to do was learn the complex third-down back role, after injuries to Chris Thompson and Byron Marshall left the team scrambling.

Bibbs isn’t new to the league. He played in 13 games for the Broncos in 2015-2016 before they let him go. So he knows his way around a bit and that has helped him.  

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

His big moment came early in the second quarter when he took a screen pass from Kirk Cousins, saw a lot of green grass and large men in burgundy jerseys, and dashed in for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 14-3 lead. At the time, it looked like the rout might be on. As it was, the score gave the Redskins enough of a working margin to hold the Cardinals at bay.

“Kapri [took] advantage of the opportunities that he got,” said Gruden. “He ran a great screen pass, weaved his way through traffic and got a touchdown. Drew another holding call on another screen pass, and had a couple of other catches for us that were quite significant. So happy for Kapri. Glad he got his opportunity and took advantage of it.”

Bibbs could stay around after this year. Thompson will be back from his broken fibula to reclaim the third-down job. But this year showed that it is worth considering keeping a backup to that position on the roster and Bibbs could be the ideal candidate.

So, the Redskins got a win that prevented a potential implosion, gave themselves a chance to finish at .500, and got good performances from two young players who can help them out in the future. For a mid-December game when the team has been eliminated from playoff consideration, that’s not a bad day.

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.