I am trying to remember the last time thee was as much hysteria over a fourth-round draft pick as there has been over the Redskins selection of Kirk Cousins. I cant. I honestly believe that Mike Shanahan would have been under less fire if he has just passed on the pick and not taken a player there at all.A multitude of different arguments agains the pick have been made. Some, such as saying that the Redskins could better have used the pick on another area of need, are debatable. Others, like Skip Bayless inserting a racial component into the pick, are just hysterical and stupid.The one I want to look at here is that this is a repeat of 1994, when the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler third overall and then came back and took Gus Frerotte in the seventh.Veteran John Friesz started the first four games of the season before Shuler was thrown into the fray against the Super Bowl champion Cowboys. The result was a highly predictable 34-7 beatdown. His grip on the starting job lasted for all of three games before Norv Turner, out of the blue, started Frerotte in the eighth game of the season against the Colts in Indianapolis.Frerottes performance in the 41-27 win earned him offensive player of the week honors. That created a controversy that lasted a year and a half and ended up with Shuler first being benched and then shipped to New Orleans for a mid-round draft pick.The conventional NFL wisdom is that picking a quarterback in the top five who busts is a death sentence for an NFL franchise. It is supposed to set a team back for years.But a funny thing happened to the Redskins when Shulers career cratered. They got better. While nobody was forgetting the glory days under Joe Gibbs, they were in contention for the playoffs until the last weekend of the season in both 1996 and 1997.They were able to remain competitive in large part because they had drafted bust insurance. They had a young quarterback ready to go when Shuler demonstrated that he couldnt get it done.The mistake wasnt drafting Frerotte, the mistake was drafting Shuler. Whether it was intentional or not, the Frerotte selection was a stroke of genius. Gus ended up starting games for seven different teams in his 15-year NFL career that ended just four years ago.Nobody thinks that Robert Griffin III will be another Shuler. But reality is that history says that there is a chance, perhaps as high as 50 percent, that RG3 will join Shuler on the scrap heap of NFL history.If the unthinkable happens, who would you rather have take the snaps, Rex Grossman or whatever other quarterback you could find on the street or someone like Cousins, who could provide a long-term solution?
The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game.
Let's be honest: the call was terrible.
Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation.
We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.
The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan).
Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.
If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong.
You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.
“Glossed over”? The ball was released from within the pocket w a free rusher and no receiver in the area - intentional grounding. It’s a judgement call as to "facing loss of yardage." Receiver running the wrong route is not a criteria that bails the QB out. https://t.co/IOuAICQfKb— Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) November 22, 2017
Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.
The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.
Vikings @ Lions
Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.
Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.
Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.
Chargers @ Cowboys
Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.
Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues.
Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that.
Giants @ Redskins
The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.
Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.
Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.