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For Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson, this could be just the beginning


For Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson, this could be just the beginning

FEDEX FIELD - The ball was slightly under-thrown, but DeSean Jackson broke back on his route, adjusted to the ball, and grabbed it along the Bills sideline. What happened next was a blur for Redskins fans, and a nightmare for Buffalo defenders, as Jackson broke back across the field, and then raced to the end zone, jumping over the outstretched arms of the Bills secondary. 

"That's what I live to do," Jackson said after the Redskins win. "Spark it up, get big plays and get the momentum."

The 77-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Jackson made the score 28-3 midway through the third quarter, a lead big enough that it became a certainty the Redskins would win and maintain their first place status in the NFC East. Cousins to Jackson happened more often than just the dagger TD, however, as the QB looked to the wideout early and often. On the day, Jackson finished with six catches for 153 yards and one TD, but for what seemed like the first time this season, Jackson was much more than a home run threat.


"As a wide receiver it's tough because you do want to make the big plays," Jackson said. "I just credit the coaches, Sean [McVay], Jay [Gruden], and Kirk honestly - just for staying patient with me, him getting me the ball and being able to know what I'm capable of doing."

Perhaps what's most remarkable is that Cousins and Jackson have not spent too much time together, on the field at least. Last season Cousins was part of a three QB circus for the Skins along with Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy, and Jackson missed most of the first two months of this season with a hamstring injury. 

"With a young quarterback who doesn't have as many reps as you would think, or you would want, it really just comes down to trusting," Jackson said. "He's doing a great job of staying with it, that's the biggest thing."

Though he may be in his fourth season - and 27 years old - the reality is Cousins is still early in his NFL career. This is his first season installed as the starter, and though there have been rough patches, Cousins is coming on down the stretch. Against the Bills he was terrific, completing 22 passes on 28 attempts for 319 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD while committing no turnovers. 

"It's a player's game and Kirk is doing a great job of managing it," 'Skins coach Jay Gruden said after the game. 

Gruden also talked about Cousins' development, and that it's still a work in progress.

"That's the good thing about Kirk, he's never lost confidence," Gruden said of the years Cousins spent on the bench behind RG3. "He's studied the game and worked to get himself to be a starter in this league. Hat's off to him."

For Cousins, believing in himself and a strong religious faith have gotten him to this point.

"I think any experience you have is going to make you better, whether it's a positive experience or a negative experience," he said. "I've learned from every opportunity that I've gotten."

Since a rough outing in New England in early November, Cousins has been strong for Washington, throwing for more than 1,200 yards and 12 TDs to go against just two interceptions in his last six games. He's also rushed for three TDs in that span. The hot streak for Cousins coincides with the return of Jackson, as well as tight end Jordan Reed, allowing the QB to prove how effective he can be surrounded by offensive weapons.

"We've got a lot of guys who can catch the football for us and make plays and be electric," Cousins said. "It's my job to be a distributor and today was no different. They kept making me look good."

With two games remaining in the battle for a playoff spot, his return to Philadelphia the first stop, Jackson sounds optimistic about the days ahead with Cousins. 

"This is his first full year of him being a starter in this league, so he has a lot he's trying to accomplish," Jackson said of his quarterback. "I think the more and more we play together and the more snaps we take together, I think we'll see more days like this."

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

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.