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Redskins will play to win even with only a distant chance at playoffs

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Redskins will play to win even with only a distant chance at playoffs

On Monday, the Redskins got on the practice field for the first time since losing to the Cowboys on Thursday night. It appeared to be business as usual, with the players stretching and then going through drills. Some injured players were watching and not participating.

But it was not a normal situation. For the first time in three years, the Redskins are facing the prospect of playing games that have no relevance regarding the playoffs. Their chances going into Dallas already were slim and none and Slim left town at some point during the course of their 38-14 loss in AT&T Stadium.

In the interest of accuracy, they aren’t mathematically eliminated but the math is tough for them. According to the website Fivethirtyeight.com, the Redskins have less than a one percent chance of playing in January. And their fate really isn’t in their own hands. If they win their next three games, their chances increase to a full one percent. They are currently in the 11th seed slot and they would need an unrealistic amount of help to get in even if they win out.

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In 2015, they won the NFC East. Last year they were in contention until the final game. Only 12 players currently on the roster were around in 2014 when the team was playing out the string in December.

But they are still out there practicing and they will show up in Los Angeles on Sunday to try to beat the Chargers.

“We just go out there and compete,” said cornerback Kendall Fuller. “Every week we’re trying to win a game, go out there and do the best we can. No matter how we’re standing toward the end of the year, that competitive mindset you’ve got to have week in and week out.”

If Fuller, who is in his second season, needs any inspiration he just looks at some of the veterans practicing the same way they did in Week 1.

“These older guys we have here in the locker room, coming out of the locker room every day with a lot of energy having done it for as long as they have,” he said. “To see that from them, it’s just going to challenge us to do the same.”

Tight end Vernon Davis, who has experienced both Super Bowls and playing out the string in his 12 seasons in the NFL, believes that finishing with a winning record would be its own reward.

“If we win out the rest of the season, everything takes care of itself,” he said. “Who knows, but we can look back and say we had a winning season. We won together, we stayed together, we kept fighting through adversity and we stayed together. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”

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Jay Gruden plans to give the team an opportunity to stay together. He said that there are no plans to shut down some of the team’s injured players unless the medical staff says it’s necessary.

“We obviously don’t want to hurt anybody’s future – if it’s a chance to injure themselves long term,” said Gruden. “But, you know, if it’s just a nagging ankle sprain or something like that where they just can play through it, then they’ll play through it. We’ve got to dress 46 guys out there and we’ll dress the healthiest guys we can.”

One of the players who many believe should be at the top of the list to be shut down is left tackle Trent Williams. He suffered a knee injury in Week 4 and he has missed three of the last eight games since then. The injury will require offseason surgery with a rehab period of six months, perhaps longer. But at the moment, he has no intention of sitting out the last four games.

“I fought through it this long, hopefully I can get another four games out of it,” he said in the locker room after the loss to the Cowboys.

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.

 

 

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After suffering from concussions, Su'a Cravens cleared for football

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After suffering from concussions, Su'a Cravens cleared for football

Stopped before it ever started, 2017 proved a disappointing season for the Redskins and Su'a Cravens. 

Selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Cravens played his rookie year at linebacker before a position switch to safety in his second season. A more natural position fit, expectations were high for Cravens in 2017. 

Things derailed when Cravens suffered an injury in training camp. From there, the young player landed on the inactive list for the regular season opener. Questions began to bubble up about his role with the organization, and things popped Week 2 in Los Angeles. Cravens was seen speaking with Redskins VP Doug Williams on the sideline of a USC college football game, and a few days later, landed on the reserve/left squad list, effectively ending his year.

On Tuesday, Cravens' agent Fadde Mikhail released the following statement:

Cravens began working with Collins in September, soon after the Redskins moved him to the reserve list, per a source. Cravens suffered a concussion his rookie year that caused him to miss multiple games.

The statement brings plenty of questions, as the team did not previously disclose that Cravens dealt with head injuries in 2017. His training camp injury was a meniscus tear. 

Between placing the second-year star out of USC on the reserve/injured list and now this statement, it seems hard that the Redskins will be able to reconcile with Cravens to get him back on the team in 2018. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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If Redskins really are still evaluating Kirk Cousins, Sunday was a bad performance

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If Redskins really are still evaluating Kirk Cousins, Sunday was a bad performance

If the Redskins truly need to evaluate Kirk Cousins over the final half of the 2017 season, the quarterback did himself no favors on Sunday. 

Cousins played his worst game of the year against the Chargers, and it's not even close. Nobody played well for the Redskins, save for maybe punter Tress Way, but Cousins performed particularly poor against his baseline for the season. 

He delivered his lowest yardage total (151 pass yards), completion percentage (55 percent) and QB rating (68) of the year, and by a wide margin. Cousins missed throws high and long, and again seemed to struggle to hold onto the ball while getting hit. 

The good news for Cousins, however, is since being named starter in 2015, there haven't been many performances like this. Generally, Cousins is never this bad, and maybe that's why the performance in L.A. stands out so much. 

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"I’m not here to throw stones at anybody on the offense, I know from what we expect offensively, it wasn’t even close to what we want or what we should look like from an efficiency standpoint," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday. 

At this point, the evolving contract situation between the Redskins and Cousins clouds everything going on with the team. In just three more games, Cousins will again be a free agent, and team president Bruce Allen will need to decide if the team will use a transition tag, a franchise tag, get a long-term deal done or let their quarterback walk. 

The tags carry a tremendous salary cap hit, though a long-term deal will probably do the same. Letting Cousins walk carries a possible severe penalty, but not on the salary cap. 

Over the past 10 days, national analysts have begun to question Cousins' leadership skills, and Dan Patrick even suggested Redskins' receivers don't like Cousins as their quarterback. The assertion came that Cousins throws too many dangerous passes for his wideouts, causing big hits. 

Whether or not that assertion is true, Cousins did throw multiple high passes over the middle against the Chargers. Those are the exact passes that cause big hits on receivers. 

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It's worth pointing out almost every QB does that to some degree. For his part, Cousins said that certainly it was not intentional.

"I’m sure I’ve led people into traffic. I know I led Pierre Garcon into some big hits in the past, but I think it also is a part of playing the receiver position and it’s tough," Cousins said on 106.7 the Fan on Monday.

Asked specifically about the high passes, Gruden only talked about inaccuracy. 

"He was not quite as accurate as he has been, obviously," the coach said. "He missed some throws that he normally makes. He threw behind a couple of guys on some deep balls and he threw a couple over some guys’ heads from time to time."

It's hard to think one game could sway the opinions of the Redskins front office about their quarterback. If one game could, however, it could have been Cousins' performance against the Chargers.

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!