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Gruden says 'intent' is to stick with Cousins

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Gruden says 'intent' is to stick with Cousins

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins did not have a good game against the Jets, but it will not cost him his job, at least for right now.

When asked if Cousins, who threw two interceptions and averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt on 43 passes, would remain the team’s quarterback, Jay Gruden gave what seemed to be a lukewarm endorsement.

“Yeah, that’s the intent,” he said when asked.

Cousins’ biggest mistake on Sunday came at a very bad time. The game was tied at 13 early in the third quarter. It was second and eight at the Washington 23. The Redskins had three receivers lined up to the right. Cousins looked over there but couldn’t find anyone. He looked back to the left.

“I thought to run it, but I didn’t feel I had a window to run it,” said Cousins. “I needed to throw it away, I needed to put it in the bleachers, and throw it over Ryan Grant’s head. That’s something that was disappointing.”

The “disappointing” part happened because he threw an indecisive pass towards Grant. Darrelle Revis was lurking nearby and he was able to swoop in and pick off Cousins’ throw. That set the Jets up at the Washington 18 and Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled in for a touchdown on the next play. The Jets took the lead and never looked back.

Gruden said that a throw like that “can’t happen.” But he still defended his quarterback saying, “I’d like to see what happens when we get our full cast of characters back.”

He is referring to the four offensive starters who were out on Sunday including two who have been to the Pro Bowl in OT Trent Williams and WR DeSean Jackson, plus TE Jordan Reed, who was leading the team in receiving when he went out with a concussion in Week 4 against the Eagles, and C Kory Lichtensteiger, who calls the signals for blocking and protection on the offensive line.

But later in his postgame news conference Gruden refused to use the injuries as an excuse for the loss. “I just know that we had an opportunity to play the New York Jets today with 46 able players and they were better than us,” he said.

Cousins shouldn’t be given a pass for this game due to injuries although they certainly didn’t help. He threw a number of passes that were off the mark as evidenced by him needing 43 passes to gain just 196 yards, a miserable average of 4.6 yards per pass. Gruden pointed out that there was some wind swirling in the stadium. But the same breeze did not affect Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passes. The Jets QB averaged 9.7 yards on his 26 pass attempts.

It could also be pointed out that any quarterback is going to have a difficult time winning a game for the Redskins if the team rushes for just 34 yards. We heard all offseason long that the running game was going to be the foundation of the team but they have failed to muster over 88 yards rushing in a game just once in their last four games. They got just 34 on Sunday.

But these reasons/excuses aside, one would have to think that Gruden still believes that Cousins is his best option at quarterback on this team at this time. Colt McCoy could be good for a spark for a game or two but he showed last year and earlier in his career when he was with the Browns that any success he has is short-lived. The last time we saw Robert Griffin III on the field he couldn’t protect himself in the pocket and fact that his contract carries that $16 million option that could become guaranteed if he gets seriously injured makes playing him perhaps an unacceptable risk.

So, the lack of viable options keeps Cousins safe for the time being. But if we continue to see two-pick games from Cousins in losses it could get to a point where regardless of Gruden’s “intent” a change will be made. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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