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Five things we learned about the Redskins on Sunday


Five things we learned about the Redskins on Sunday

Here are five things we learned about the Redskins during their 34-20 loss to the Jets. 

—He still has as many as 10 games to get himself right but Kirk Cousins is clearly trending in the wrong direction in his effort to establish himself as a viable, long-term starting quarterback for the Redskins—or for any other team for that matter. Even setting aside the interceptions, his accuracy has been off and he’s not being asked to throw particularly challenging passes. Even though Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III are flawed alternatives, if Cousins keeps playing like he has the last two weeks it’s inevitable that a change will be made to provide “a spark”. And that would be the beginning of the end for Cousins as the Redskins QB. 

—Jay Gruden is 22 games into his NFL head-coaching career and he is unable to find some credible middle ground between ripping his quarterback for a bad performance and making excuses for him. We have gone from Gruden hammering Griffin after his performance against the Bucs to him using injuries and the wind to explain away a bad day for Cousins. There is something in between being a hater and being an apologist and Gruden needs to find it on the podium.  

—Despite some flaws, Bashaud Breeland is the best player on the Redskins’ defense. He certainly is having the most impact. In the last two games he has two interceptions, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries (one force and a recovery came on the same play when he wrestled the ball away from Brandon Marshall). The takeaways set up 16 points for the Redskins, much needed on a team that is struggling to find some rhythm on offense. Marshall did beat Breeland for a touchdown later in the game so he got some revenge but he beats a lot of cornerbacks. Once Breeland polishes his game he could be a Pro Bowl caliber player. 

—Look, I know that Alfred Morris never really got warmed up against the Jets with just 11 carries. But that’s still no reason for gaining just 41 yards on 22 carries over the last two weeks. Morris never used to let the first defender who made contact bring him down. For at least the last two weeks that has not been the case. He seems to run into the pile and go down. The blocking hasn’t been great but there are bad OL’s all around the league and you won’t find many former 1,000-yard backs averaging less that two yards per carry. 

—I like Ryan Grant, I think he works hard. But at this point in his career he has no business starting NFL games. In five games as a starter in place of the injured DeSean Jackson Grant has caught just 13 passes for 125 yards. You can’t live with that kind of production, especially the last few weeks with the rushing game struggling. I’m not sure if the Redskins have a better alternative on the roster—Rashad Ross doesn’t know Grant’s position and Andre Roberts is not playing well in his opportunities either—but it’s something they will need to address in the offseason.

RELATED: Someone made a change to Jay Gruden's Wikipedia page

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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.

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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


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.