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Redskins' season ends with another disappointing dud against Giants

Redskins' season ends with another disappointing dud against Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The Redskins had a strong week of practice ahead of their season finale against the Giants.

Unfortunately, the hard work did not show, as the Redskins laid an egg in the season finale against the Giants for the second straight season.

Here are my observations from the Redskins 18-10 loss to the Giants.

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—The Redskins got off to an awful start. First, Orleans Darkwa took advantage of a nickel defensive alignment and popped through the middle for 75 yards and a touchdown. Then on the Redskins third play from scrimmage, Kelvin Shepard picked off Kirk Cousins’ pass and returned it into the red zone at the 19. Two plays later it was 12-0. The only good thing was that the Giants failed to convert either point after.

—Preston Smith now has two more interceptions this year than does Josh Norman. Smith got his second of the season off of Eli Manning, setting the Redskins up in the red zone. Two plays later it was Cousins running the read option to perfection, keeping the ball and scooting 12 yards for the touchdown. The PAT made it 12-7 midway through the first quarter.

—The Redskins defense is playing as poorly as it has all year considering the opposition. They got zero pop from the takeaway and quick score. The Giants, playing without any starting-caliber linemen or receivers, rolled down to a first and goal at the six. The D did hold there but a field goal pushed New York’s lead up to 15-7.

—The Redskins squandered good field position after a punt that gave them possession on their own 42. They converted a third down for the first time today but they soon were in first and 30 due to a clipping penalty on Tyler Catalina, in at left tackle for an injured Ty Nsekhe, and a delay of game flag. They have 103 net yards of offense midway through the second quarter.

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—That tweet came after a Manning incompletion where he had all day to survey the field and nearly got it to RB Wayne Gallman down the sideline. The Giants picked up the first down later on a penalty and then converted another third down on a pass but Manning was under pressure and threw incomplete on another third down.

—For one of the few times all year, the Redskins got some points on the board near the end of the second quarter. It took Jamison Crowder following his blocks for a 29-yard punt return to the New York 31 with four seconds left. Dustin Hopkins came into the game immediately and snuck a 49-yard field goal just inside the left upright. That make it a one-score game at 15-10 at the half.

— Cousins with a strange interception. He went down field for Grant. The receiver jumped for the ball but it was only about a foot off the ground. The defender scooped it up for the pick. There was no damage as the Giants went three and out. If the Redskins manage to win this it will certainly be an ugly one.

—The Redskins had 66 yards of offense in the third quarter. They had the ball four times and got into New York territory just once.

—That was a good chance for Norman deep in New York territory. He holds at no interceptions on the season.

—Cousins’ third interception of the game seals this one up. The Redskins will not have that third non-losing season in a row.

Fan analysis

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

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

In case you missed it

 

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.