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Five observations on the Redskins 27-20 win over the Rams

Five observations on the Redskins 27-20 win over the Rams

LOS ANGELES—Here are my five key observations from the Redskins’ 27-20 win over the Rams:

You have to run the ball to run the ball—The Redskins didn't have much traction in the running game last week against the Eagles. Sunday they ran early and often, setting the tone for the game. In the preseason Trent Williams often preached patience, saying that the running game needs time to wear down a defense. They never had a chance to do that last week. But in LA they got it rolling with 39 rushing attempts. They don’t need to rush that often every game but something in the 25 or more range will help.

Defense got the quick shut down—In four games last year the Redskins’ opponent need a touchdown in the last two minutes to win the game. They won three of those games, against the Ravens, Eagles, and Vikings but not before the Redskins had to survive a drive into the opponent’s territory. Sunday, a potential game-tying drive in the last two minutes was shut down immediately with Mason Foster’s interception. That’s the way good defenses do it. I’m not sure in the Redskins are there yet but it’s a good start.

RELATED: INSTANT ANALYSIS OF REDSKINS' WIN

Getting a win with a subpar game from Cousins—The Redskins have had trouble winning if Kirk Cousins is not on the top of his game. He wasn’t awful vs. the Rams—he didn’t turn the ball over unlike last week when he had two fumbles lost and an interception—but he wasn’t good enough to win without the strong running game. To his credit, he came through at the end, completing four of four passes on the winning drive with two completions to convert third downs including the game winner to Ryan Grant.

The Rams are an improving team—It’s early but it appears the Sean McVay has the Rams on the right track. You could argue that Jared Goff was the better of the two quarterbacks on the field in this matchup despite the interception. Todd Gurley had 88 yards rushing, his best game since December 13, 2015. I don’t see them as playoff contenders or anything but they will battle everyone on their schedule.

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The Redskins needed this win, badly—As I said coming in, it wasn’t a must-win game but an 0-2 start would have been miserable and alarm bells would have started to go off. Now they can look to a pair of matchups against the AFC West with a degree of confidence. If they can win at least one against the Raiders or Chiefs they would be no worse than 2-2 going into the bye week. And it’s too early to pay that much attention to division standings, but after the Cowboys and Eagles lost they will be in either a three- or four-way tie for the division lead, pending the result of the Giants game Monday night.

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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Wanting increased playing time, Junior Galette intends to pursue free agency, per source

Wanting increased playing time, Junior Galette intends to pursue free agency, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Junior Galette intends to pursue free agency to find a team that will give him plenty of snaps, per a source with knowledge of the situation.

Galette's contract will expire once the 2017 regular season ends, and while the 29-year-old pass rush specialist appreciates the Redskins organization and fans, he wants to play. 

After suffering season-ending Achilles injuries in 2015 and 2016, Galette has stayed healthy throughout the 2017 season. 

Still, he hasn't been on the field much.

Ryan Kerrigan leads the Redskins with 358 snaps in pass rush situations, and Preston Smith ranks second with 297, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Galette has played only 197 snaps this season in pass rush situations. 

For comparison, rookie Jonathan Allen logged 112 snaps in pass rush situations. Allen played in just five games before heading to the injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury. Galette has played in all 13 Redskins games this year, and hasn't appeared on the injury report once. 

Compounding the issue, Galette has been effective when on the field. 

Pro Football Focus rated him the third best defender on the Redskins this season, behind only Kerrigan and cornerback Kendall Fuller. 

As Rich Tandler noted, there will be a market for Galette. All NFL teams need pass rushers, and it appears Galette still has plenty left after his two-year layoff. Remember, in 2013 and 2014 Galette had 22 sacks for the New Orleans Saints.  This season, he has two sacks. 

The Redskins deserve credit for sticking with Galette after two lost seasons, though Galette deserves credit too for working back from not one but two Achilles injuries. 

Washington's coaches and front office speak highly of Galette, and there haven't been off field issues. For whatever reason, the playing time just hasn't been there. 

Looks like that will change next year. 

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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Robert Griffin III listed the best places for Kirk Cousins to end up, and he left off the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

Robert Griffin III listed the best places for Kirk Cousins to end up, and he left off the Redskins

Of course this was going to happen. 

The moment it became known that Robert Griffin III was going to be on ESPN's shows for a few appearances this week, you knew he was going to be asked about Kirk Cousins at some point.

And, surely enough, come Wednesday afternoon, the stars aligned and the question was asked on NFL Live: Where, in Griffin's opinion, was the best place for Cousins to land this offseason?

"I think it depends on what he's trying to do," Griffin began.

"If he's trying to make the most money, he goes to Cleveland," he said. "If he's trying to be in the best situation, he goes to one of these teams that have a great defense that isn't gonna put it all on his shoulders."

MORE: POWER RANKINGS - REDSKINS FALL LOWER THAN THEY HAVE ALL 2017

Don't worry, he doesn't stop there. In fact, he saved the good stuff for the latter half of his answer.

"He's had it all on his shoulders in Washington, and we've seen the result," Cousins' draft classmate continued. "But if he's got a great defense like, say, Denver, say, Jacksonville, it makes it easier for him as a quarterback. Whereas in Cleveland, he's gonna have to go in and he's gonna have to do more of the workload."

So, the Browns, Broncos and Jaguars are among the teams Griffin considers options for Cousins. But, uh, what about the one he's on right now?

"I don't think it's Washington, just because of, you've seen what's been going on," he said. "Do they want him there? Does he want to be there?"

This isn't to say that the former rookie of the year doesn't bring up valid points; Cousins has had to play with below-average defenses for much of his career in D.C. and the franchise hasn't exactly shown a ton of admiration for him.

But nevertheless, it was interesting to see Griffin declare wish such confidence that his old backup needs to bolt from the Redskins and head elsewhere.

And thus concludes another chapter of the Griffin-Cousins-Redskins saga. You can leave your comments about how you don't care about it below, even though you made the choice to click on the story in the first place.