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Just Shut Up

Just Shut Up

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at

There was a time, not too long ago, when a comment such as this one made by Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline in his mid-season evaluations would have really made me mad:

Worst coaching job: Joe Gibbs. It pains me to have to do this because Gibbs is a legend and a great coach, but has he done a good job with a team many predicted would be in the playoffs?

Allow the old me to rant so that you can see what I’m talking about:

Prisco, you pinhead! Why don’t you pull your head out of your rear long enough to watch this team play a few times before you go shooting off your stupid mouth about our coach? This team is better in almost every way than it has been since Gibbs packed it up in ’92. It’s an actual professional organization unlike the burgundy and gold circus it’s been. There is pride, there is discipline. The Skins are a couple of screwed-up officials’ calls away from being 5-3 and in the playoff driver’s seat.

And the worst gosh-darned coaching job? Puhleeeeze! Vermiel’s Chiefs were Super Bowl favorites and they’re the same 3-5. And, yeah, John Fox’s Panthers are pretty banged up but Gibbs’ Skins haven’t exactly been injury free and last year’s NFC champs are sitting at 1-7. Weren’t Marvin Lewis’ Bengals and Bill Parcells’ Cowboys supposed to take the next step? Don’t forget, Pete, the most consistently underachieving team in the NFL, perhaps in all of sports, Jim Haslett’s New Orleans Saints.

OK, that’s a cleaned-up version, but you get the idea.

Certainly the new me believes all of the arguments made above. It’s the attitude that’s different. I have empathy for the Pete Priscos of the world.

These “national” reporters, guys like Prisco, Clayton, Pasquarelli, and Mortensen have gotten to be sources of information that are a mile wide and an inch deep. There is so much going on with the 32 NFL teams that it’s simply unrealistic to expect them to be as intimately familiar with what’s going on with all of them. They can’t possibly watch more than a few games a week even if they have multiple Tivos and multiple NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions at home. Even if they work 12 hours a day seven days a week, and they don’t, they can only spend about a couple of hours a week on each team. Most of us do that before lunch on Tuesday.

In short, it’s not realistic to expect Prisco to have as good a handle on how the Redskins’ season has gone and how it compares to past seasons as I do, or as most of you reading this blog do. He may get a little more “inside” scoop here and there, but we observe this team closely, watch and replay each game, and discuss and analyze every aspect of the team on a daily basis.

His editors at Sportsline, however, do not care. He’s expected to write a midseason report, shallowness of knowledge be damned. On top of that, if what he has to say makes some people mad and draws a flood of irate emails and raging discussions on message boards, so much the better. Busting on an icon like Gibbs is a sure-fire way to get a reaction.

Don’t get me wrong, I often find the national guys’ material to be informative. I always try to have ESPN Radio tuned in for a Mort Report. But I don’t listen for information on the Redskins. I’ve already gotten that from Demasio or Foldesy or from my own observations. It’s to get the scoop, however shallow, on what’s going on with other teams.

So, quite simply, comments like Prisco’s are what they are—only vaguely informed and designed not to add knowledge but to fill Web pages in need of content and, to some extent, to generate some heat. Nobody should get angry when such comments are negative nor should anyone find any particular pleasure in positive remarks from this group of writers either.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market


As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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