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3 reasons why contract extension for Jay Gruden makes sense

3 reasons why contract extension for Jay Gruden makes sense

January and February were rough months for the Redskins, but so far, March is improving. While the front office remains in a state of confusion with general manager Scot McCloughan not joining team officials at the NFL Scouting Combine, there is no such uncertainty with the coaching staff, especially with the news late Saturday night that head coach Jay Gruden agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Burgundy and Gold, as CSN has confirmed. 

There are plenty of reasons the Redskins want to keep Gruden around, not the least of which is a 17-14-1 record over the last two seasons to go with an NFC East title. But here are a few more:

  1. Offensive continuity - Fans may be freaked out at the prospect of losing Kirk Cousins, which oddsmakers still consider unlikely, but remember that Gruden put the offense together that allowed so much of Cousins' success. Further, Gruden was the coach that installed Cousins as the starter, standing up to ownership to bench Robert Griffin III. The Redskins haven't had consecutive winning seasons for two decades until Gruden came along. With his offensive gameplan installed, the Redskins ranked 3rd in the NFL in yards gained in 2016. And it might not hurt the team's efforts to keep Cousins at quarterback knowing the head coach is in D.C. through 2020.
  2. Players don't like him, they love him - Few coaches blend the right mix of humor and criticism that Gruden works through in almost every press conference. He backs his players up when they need it, but will point out mistakes and make changes when he sees fit. Last season, Gruden defended team captain and leader Trent Williams when he was suspended by the NFL, which players appreciated, yet benched RB1 Matt Jones when his play called for it. Speaking on CSN's #RedskinsTalk Podcast, tight end Vernon Davis said of Gruden, "Jay Gruden is probably one of my favorite coaches, all-time. And I say that because of his personality, his enthusiasm, his approach to the game. He's just a terrific coach. Everyone respects him, they look to him as a leader. He's just everything you could possibly want in a coach. I love him, I love him, and that's one of the other reasons that I wouldn't mind staying here. He allows the players to play really, really loose, and you want that in a coach."
  3. With everything else going on...- Despite somewhat promising news with free agent Chris Baker, and perhaps some movement towards a long-term deal for Cousins, the Redskins remain bogged down in the mire over the McCloughan situation. Things haven't seemed right with the GM since he told CSN and other reporters at the Senior Bowl in January that he could not speak to the media per instructions from Bruce Allen. McCloughan's absence from the combine only exacerbated the chaos. Gruden's extension should quell some of that uncertainty. Gruden has a strong relationship with Allen, dating back to working together in Tampa, and the 'Skins ship looks steady under the head coach's watch at least through 2020. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.