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Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

It’s a little early in the week, perhaps, to be making bold predictions, especially since I will answer to them next week (for those of you who didn’t read this space last year, I will always go back and review my predictions gone wrong and ‘fess up). However, this week there really isn’t much purpose in waiting, in examining the moods of the teams during practice, checking out any last-minute shifts in the injury report, seeing what the weather will be like at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been known to agonize for thousands of words before coming up with a tentative prediction. Not this time. This one is easy. The Redskins will trash the Chicago Bears.

There is only one matchup that I need to know about—Kyle Orton vs. Gregg Williams. The Bears’ rookie QB may have potential to be a good pro quarterback, but this is the first NFL game he has ever participated in in any way, shape, or form except perhaps as a spectator when he was in high school. Williams, on the other hand, has coached in a couple of hundred NFL games. Whether his team is matched up against the likes of Orton or against a 10-year veteran with Hall of Fame credentials, his goal is always the same—rattle the opposing quarterback.

Orton will have the opportunity to meet, up close and personal, nearly every member of the Redskins’ defense. He’ll get introduced to Cornelius Griffin when the Redskins’ defensive tackle puts his facemask into Orton’s sternum. He’ll only get a quick glance at Shawn Springs before the cornerback plants his back into the FedEx Field turf. It’s unlikely that he’ll see LaVar Arrington before he helps him off of the grass since the linebacker will be coming from Orton’s blind side. Finally, when Sean Taylor comes after him from who knows where, Orton will want the license number of the truck that hit him. Note to Kyle, it will be # 21.

In all, Orton will have to consider himself fortunate if he can drop back and be comfortable in the pocket more than five or six times. The rest of the time he will either be running for his life or accumulating grass stains from having been slammed to the ground so often.

With Orton being slapped silly, who on the Bears is going to generate any offense? Muhsin Muhammad can’t make a catch if his quarterback more time on his back than a hooker at a convention in Vegas. Thomas Jones might sneak through for a few yards here and there, perhaps he could break one for 30 yards or so, but he can’t carry the team against the Redskins’ defense. So who else is there? Justin Gage? Desmond Clark? Very, very unlikely.

Not so fast, my friend, you might say. The Redskins’ offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut either and the Bears defense can’t exactly be described as soft. True those. Chicago’s cover two defense isn’t a good matchup for a team that wants to establish a deep passing game as the Redskins do. True that.

There are a couple of flaws in the scenario that says that neither team will score much and that the game will come down to a late break. One of them is that the Redskins’ offensive line is one of the elite units in the game. Note the lack of qualifiers such as they “might” be or they have the “potential” to be elite. They are right now. All five of them, Samuels, Dockery, Rabach, Thomas, and Jansen, could start for most of the teams in the NFL. They’re good blocking for the run and they’re good against the pass rush. Every member of the line won’t make the Pro Bowl but every one of them has a shot at it. They won’t allow the Chicago front four to generate the pass rush that they need.

The other factor is Clinton Portis. He ran for 171 yards the last time the two teams met in Chicago in 2004, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. It was too bad that the Redskins really hadn’t figured out how to use Portis in the offense as they have by now or he really could have done some damage. On Sunday, he’ll follow the zone blocking from the Redskins’ elite offensive line and put up over 150 yards and score a pair of touchdowns.

Despite the prowess of the line and the productivity of Portis, the Redskins won’t put up a lot of points. Patrick Ramsey will make some plays for both teams. Thomas Jones’ running could set up a score or two for the Bears, but they will only be three pointers. Perhaps those who only see the score in the paper on Monday will think it was a fairly competitive game.

But those who watch the game will know otherwise. The Redskins will dominate on defense from start to finish, they will get their offense in control by halftime and will trash the Bears by a score of:

Washington 17, Chicago 6







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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was 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. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

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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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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!