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After big game, Jackson wants to go 'get it' in Philly


After big game, Jackson wants to go 'get it' in Philly

The Redskins have been waiting for a game like this from DeSean Jackson all year.

The speedy wide receiver has been providing flashes of the player to whom they are paying $9.25 million. He caught a 63-yard touchdown pass against the Giants, a TD from 56 yards in Carolina, and another scoring pass against the Cowboys from 28 yards out. He had also caught non-scoring passes for 42 yards against the Saints and 29 against the Bears.

But he had not yet had a complete game in the first 13 games. Jackson had no more than 87 yards in any one game. The Redskins need him to have impact throughout the game.

He did on Sunday. Jackson came into the game with just six receptions of 20 yards or more. On Sunday, he got three of them capped by the 77-yard catch and run of Kirk Cousins’ pass that essentially put the game away by making the score 28-3 in the third quarter.

Jackson finished the game with six receptions for 153 yards. He said felt like he had felt like he was in the flow of the offense for the last several games but that things just weren’t clicking between him and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“You know with Kirk, he’s a young quarterback,” said Jackson. “This is his first full year of him being a starter in this league, so he has a lot that he’s trying to accomplish and he has a lot coming at him. Defenses are showing different looks and all that. I think the more and more we play together and the more snaps we take together, I think we’ll see more days like this.”

That all sounds good but Jackson had some pretty good games with Cousins under center last year. In the four games that Cousins started and finished last year Jackson had at least 115 yards receiving in three of them. The two connected on touchdown passes of 81, 60, and 64 yards during that stretch of games.

Even though Cousins, who was replacing an injured Robert Griffin III, had spent limited time with the front-line receivers in training camp and virtually no time at all with them once the regular practice cycle started up, he and Cousins seemed to be on the same wavelength. It’s unclear why there should be a learning curve to catch up in 2015. But the important thing now is that the Redskins got the big game from Jackson right when they needed it the most.

It appears that Jackson was helping Cousins play better even while he wasn’t catching a ton of passes. In the first seven games this year with Jackson playing just 13 snaps, Cousins averaged 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Since Jackson’s return in the eighth game of the season he has been averaging 8.8 yards per attempt.

Certainly passes to Jackson have been part of the boost in Cousins’ performance in this key metric. There have been 41 passes targeted for Jackson and the average has been a stellar 11.9 yards per attempt. But another 173 passes have been thrown to receivers other than Jackson and Cousins has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt on those throws. That compares quite favorably to the league average of 7.1 yards per attempt.

Can Jackson and Cousins keep it up? Certainly the Redskins hope so. There is plenty of motivation with the possibility of clinching the division title by winning the game Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Did someone say Philly? Of course, that was Jackson’s NFL home for six seasons before Chip Kelly unceremoniously dumped him in April of 2014. Jackson wants to be careful no to make it about himself.

“Inside, I definitely will be going crazy in my mind, but I don’t want to make it a bigger game than what it already is,” he said to reporters after the game.

But he couldn’t hide his enthusiasm as he wrapped things up from the podium at FedEx Field.

“Can't get any better than going back to Philly, Saturday night football,” he said.

“Let's get it!”

If he can repeat Sunday’s performance on Saturday the Redskins will have a pretty good shot at doing just that.

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

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

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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


Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it