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LaVar Gibbs and Bold Predictions

LaVar Gibbs and Bold Predictions

LaVar, Gibbs, and Bold Predictions

Arrington

Before getting started here, a few non-words about Arrington. It’s really simple—he’s not playing because he’s not playing within the defensive scheme. Will he be back next year? Next year is 13 games away, possibly more, and too much is going to happen to make anything but a wild guess about whether or not Arrington will wear the B&G next year. Not that I’m foreign to making a wild guess from time to time, but I’ll pass on this one.

Gibbs

We’ve discussed media templates here before and one of the prime ones surrounding the Redskins is some variation of “the game has passed Joe Gibbs by”. He was stuck in the 1980’s world both strategically and mentally, with a game plan that went out of vogue with disco music.
 
Like most of the templates, this wasn’t made up out of thin air, there once was some basis in fact for it. Even Jon Jansen said that the team was running plays from 1992. The awful results from the offense last year speak for themselves.
 
A template, however, is static. Joe Gibbs is dynamic. As soon as the 2004 season ended, he got down to work in a way that few of us ever will get down to work on anything. For most of the offseason, the work days of Gibbs and his coaching staff started at 12 hours and usually went longer, six and seven days a week. They looked at what was wrong with the offense from every possible angle--plays, game plans, personnel, game management, everything. Gibbs got some new weapons, jettisoned some old ones, went into OTA’s and minicamp and installed the revamped offense.
 
Some elements, like a max protect pass package, are old. Others, like the shotgun, are new to Gibbs. The Redskins haven’t lit up the world offensively, but they have scored enough to win three games out of three and rank 14th in the NFL in offense. That may not be very impressive, but it is better than 17 other teams, including Mike Shanahan’s Broncos.
 
And it means that Joe Gibbs gets it. He can adjust, he can get it done. It doesn’t mean that the Redskins will go undefeated this year; it doesn’t mean that they will even win a playoff game. It just means that those who said that the game had passed by Gibbs were wrong.
 
I don’t expect the legion of Gibbs doubters out there to suddenly grow a pair and come out and admit that they were wrong like Terry Bradshaw did on FoxSports.com.
It's damn impressive what the Redskins have accomplished thus far.
Let's go back to last year. Remember, at the end of last season, Gibbs came out and said, "Let's not be so quick in writing off Brunell." Patrick Ramsey, yes, he's pretty good, but Brunell can still play.
Now, I was one of those guys who openly questioned Gibbs when he said that. Did he really believe that? I was saying, "Hey, get the young kid in there. You can't win with Brunell."
Why did I do that? Because I'm following into a trap like everyone else. Pick up the papers back in Washington. The writers thought Gibbs was dead wrong about Brunell. I've learned my lesson. There is no way I know more about what's going on in Washington than Gibbs. I just see it from a studio and I'm impressed that the Redskins are 3-0 and in first place.
Such statements as Bradshaw’s are nice but not necessary. As long as they drop this outdated template, that will be fine with me.
 
Bold Predictions
 
Whenever the Redskins play an AFC team I feel like it’s a game that’s being played on the moon or something. It’s very foreign and very hard to figure out. When you play a team only once every four years there just isn’t much to go on.

But, hey, I’ve made a living here on making a lot out of not very much, so here goes.

I do know one thing for sure—this is a statement game for the Redskins. Win and a quality road victory (make that a second one after Dallas) will force the detractors to take some notice.

The Broncos, after years of having a reputation for being a high-powered offense but a mediocre defense and something of a soft underbelly, are now playing it rough. It’s back to the days of the Orange Crush with the defense leading the way. Or make it the Brown Crush (sorry, can’t come up with anything more poetic there) as ¾ of their starting defensive line played for Cleveland last year. Wherever they came from, they are ranked fourth in run defense and sixth in overall defense. They physically beat up on the Jacksonville Jaguars last week and the Jags are quite physical themselves.

The Redskins still aren’t a smooth-running offensive machine and it’s unlikely that they’ll score a ton against this defense. Without some help from the defense (more on that in a minute) it’s hard to see the Redskins putting up more than 14-17 points, whether Champ Bailey, who missed last week’s game and is listed as questionable this week, plays or not.

And that could be good enough to win. The Denver offense is middle of the pack at best. It’s not as good as the Seattle offense that the Redskins beat last week. Shaun Alexander is better than either of the Broncos’ backs, Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram are better than Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie and Matt Hasselbeck is much better than Jake Plummer.

This is the week that Gregg Williams does less talking about the blitz and faking the blitz and starts bringing it. Plummer is at his most effective getting outside of the pocket and making plays on the move. If you force him to make decisions quickly and get rid of the ball, he can be rattled.

And a rattled Jake Plummer means turnovers. Last year, he threw 20 interceptions, not a bad number for a guy who started 16 games at all. However, they tended to come in bunches. Plummer had six games in which he threw no picks. But seven times he had games with two or more completions to the other-colored jerseys.

If the Redskins can coerce one of those multi-INT efforts out of Plummer on Sunday, they will win and they could win easily. If not, it will be yet another game that goes into the final minutes, or extra minutes, until it’s decided. If that happens, it’s anyone’s game.

The call here is that Gregg Williams will get inside Plummer’s head and he will throw those two or three picks. Champ Bailey will play and will get beaten by Santana Moss. Clinton Portis won’t have a spectacular game in his homecoming, 80-90 yards or so. It won’t be spectacular, but it will be successful. Nick Novak kicks another late field goal and the Redskins hold off a late Denver bid and win.

Redskins 17, Broncos 13







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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: