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Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy is getting kudos for first providing a spark to the Redskins offense in the second half by throwng a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon to erase a halftime deficit and then engineering a 10-play drive in the last minutes of the game to set up the game-winning field goal.

His numbers looked pretty good in a half of work in relief of Kirk Cousins. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards with the one touchdown and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 138.9.

But a closer look at the numbers and what actually happened during the game might lead one to wonder if he should automatically get the start in Dallas next Monday night if Robert Griffin III is not yet 100 percent.

For one thing, while McCoy gets as much credit for that 70-yard touchdown play to Garçon as he would if it was a long, perfectly placed bomb, the fact is that it was a five-yard pass to the flat. It turned into a TD because Garçon was able to spin away from cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and because safety Michael Griffin did a poor job of being the last line of defense, taking a bad angle on the receiver as he sped down the sideline.

If you give McCoy five yards on that completion instead of 70, he has only 63 yards passing and his yards per attempt from an impressive 10.7 to a substandard 5.3. Add in the eight yards he lost to sacks and it comes to a net yards per attempt of 3.9.

A team can occasionally win a game with a passing performance like that but it’s unusual. A team has averaged 3.9 net yards per pass attempt in 285 games since the start of the 2010 season. Those teams are 31-254, a .109 winning percentage.

Until the final drive, half of McCoy’s completions really didn’t do the offense much good. On one third-quarter drive he went to Garçon for three yards on second and nine, to Roy Helu for a loss of seven on second and 11 and to Garçon for six on third and 18. In a key possession after the Titans had scored to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, McCoy was sacked on consecutive plays.

In between the TD pass to Garçon and the final drive, a span of about 24 minutes, McCoy completed five of six passes for a net of 10 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of eight.

But, to his credit, McCoy got it done when it needed to get done. He did what Cousins has not been able to get done since taking over for the injured Griffin.

On that final drive he was five for five for 38 yards. He had a 36-yard pass to DeSean Jackson wiped out due to offsetting penalties and he might have won the game a few plays earlier with a 29-yard TD pass to Jackson but Jason McCourty interfered, setting up the chip-shot field goal to win it.

Give McCoy credit, tons of it, for getting it done in the end of the game and for playing a part in the TD pass to Garçon. But Jay Gruden and company have to consider the whole game played by McCoy and some of it wasn’t very pretty. Will it be enough to give the Redskins a shot against the Cowboys in a week?

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a 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."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: