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Flashback Friday: Redskins vs. Jets Timeline

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Flashback Friday: Redskins vs. Jets Timeline

A look back at the regular season history between this Saturday's opponents.

All Time: The Redskins lead the series 8-1

The First Time: Redskins 35, Jets 17, Shea Stadium, 11/5/72. The game completed a New York-New York sweep as the Redskins had beaten the Giants in Yankee Stadium the previous week (see details below).

The Last Time: Redskins 23, Jets 20, Giants Stadium 12/4/07. Shaun Suisham booted a 46-yard field goal in overtime to boost the Redskins over the Jets. Washington was in a hole for virtually the entire game after New York's Leon Washington returned the game's opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. Clinton Portis' 196 rushing yards spearheaded the comeback effort.

The Best Time: It has to be that initial meeting in 1972. The Redskins came in having beaten its two biggest division rivals in Dallas and the Giants and were ripe for a letdown. Not only that, they had a jinx to deal with. Larry Brown was on the cover of the current edition of Sports Illustrated, with the headline declaring, "Washington is a #1 Power".

New York led 10-7 in the second quarter, the Jets having bested Kilmer's 45-yard touchdown bomb to Roy Jefferson with a one-yard scoring burst by John Riggins and a short field goal by Ian Howfield. It was then that the Redskins took control, scoring on offense with another Kilmer long ball, this one 70 yards to Charley Taylor, and Chris Hanburger's 41-yard return with an interception of Namath.

Washington turned it into a rout in the second half. Brown took a little screen pass from Kilmer and, with the help of a wicked downfield block by Taylor, turned it into a 89-yard touchdown play and ex-Jet Verlon Biggs returned a Namath fumble 16 yards to make the final 35-17.

The Worst Time: Less than two years the Redskins reached their pinnacle as a franchise, claiming their third championship in 10 years with a dominating win in Super Bowl XXVI, they played one of the worst games in their history in losing to the Jets 3-0. The Redskins mustered just 150 yards of offense.

The Skins' best chance of scoring was the result of a comic lowlight. The Jets were setting up for a field goal and snapped the ball early. The ball bounced off of holder Louis Agular's head. Johnny Thomas of the Redskins scooped it up, but kicker Cary Blanchard alertly made the tackle.

Odds and Ends

--As a member of the Jets, Keyshawn Johnson was involved in two very controversial plays in the end zone against the Redskins. One was in a 1996 game at RFK Stadium. In the fourth quarter, the 0-4 Jets were giving the 3-1 Redskins all they could handle. Trailing by eight, in the fourth quarter, Johnson appeared to have caught a touchdown pass, gaining control just before defender Tom Carter ripped the ball away. The ball ended up on the ground The officials huddled and it seemed that the only two possible calls were a Jets touchdown or an incomplete pass. The call turned out to be a Carter interception and the Redskins held on for the win.

In that 1999 game, Johnson caught a pass in the late going that was called a touchdown to pull the Jets within three of the Redskins. The replays appeared inconclusive, but the official ruled that Johnson had lost control before getting both feet down. New York had to settle for a field goal and Washington sealed the win after recovering the ensuing onside kick.

--That 1972 game at Shea Stadium was blacked out in Washington. No, it wasn't due to any arcane NFL policy, but because striking TV technicians cut the broadcast cables at Shea, making a telecast impossible.

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins draft Vita Vea in the first round?

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins draft Vita Vea in the first round?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 24, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 41
—NFL Draft (4/26) 92
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 228

Fan questions—Surprise cuts, finding a playmaker

I put out a call for questions on social media and I got so many good ones that I’m splitting them up. Here are Facebook questions today and I’ll hit the best Twitter questions later this week.

 

Spencer Long could be gone but he is a free agent, so he could not be cut. As far as players under contract, a lot will depend on who they draft and sign in free agency. If they go heavy on the defensive line, Ziggy Hood and Terrell McClain could be in danger of being cut. An influx of defensive back might have Josh Holsey and Deshazor Everett headed out of town.

There won’t be any cuts that save a major amount of cap space. Thek players with the top 15 cap numbers per Over the Cap are all vital to the operation with the possible aforementioned exception of McClain.

The rub is that if you want an instant “bona fide” playmaker you are going to have to invest either a lot of cap dollars or high draft pick. They have invested cap dollars in Reed and, to a lesser extent, Thompson and a No. 1 draft pick in Reed. The plan needs to be to make sure that Reed stays healthy (as best you can) and hope you get 12-14 productive games out of him, get Thompson back in the swing of things, and continue to work with Doctson. Perhaps they can get a mid-round find like the Saints did with Kamara to add to the mix. But for the most part, the Redskins will have to make do with what they have.

The way things stand right now, I’m seeing Vea regarded as more of a late first-round pick than a player who should go in the top half of the round. That could change as the draft process goes on. I think the Redskins need to continue to strengthen their defensive line and if Vea moves up to a high first-round grade or slides to a second they should take a long look at him.

The player I’m keeping my eye on is Jordan Matthews, who spent three years with the Eagles before being trade to Buffalo. He had over 800 yards receiving in each of his three seasons in Philly before a knee injury hampered him last year. He’s 6-3 and still young (26 in Week 1). Sammy Watkins of the Rams is intriguing but he had just 593 receiving yards in 15 games in a Sean McVay’s very productive offense. An older but less expensive option might be Eric Decker of the Titans, who had just 30 fewer receiving yards than Watkins and would be much a much less expensive acquisition albeit as a stopgap.

I see them addressing other needs in the first round. That could change if there is someone there who is just too good to pass up.

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

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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. 

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