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Pros, cons and X factors: Redskins vs. Jaguars game prediction


Pros, cons and X factors: Redskins vs. Jaguars game prediction

Jaguars at Redskins
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.

Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and X factors for the Redskins as they take on the Jaguars on Sunday.

Here are three factors that work against a Redskins win:

—To sum up what killed the Redskins’ chances of winning against the Texans in two words, sloppy play will work as well as anything. Two fumbles, the blocked punt, the blocked extra point, poor coverage and bad tackling on a long Houston touchdown pass all contributed heavily to the loss. They can work to clean those things up but there is no guarantee that they can do it in just one week. And even if they do fix those issues there is a chance that other issues will pop up. It’s hard to be sloppy one week and clean and crisp the next.

—With Barry Cofield out until at least mid-November and Kedric Golston likely out this game, the Redskins are precariously thin along the defensive line. One player who is likely to benefit from this is Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart. It appears that he is over the ankle injury that caused him to leave Jacksonville’s game against the Eagles last week. Jim Haslett should remember him well. In the 2011 game at FedEx field where Adrian Peterson went out with a torn ACL, Gerhart filled in and ripped through the Redskins for 109 yards on 11 carries as the Vikings won.

—The Jags don’t have a dominant defense but they sure gave the Eagles a hard time last week. Philly had all kinds of pass protection issues, giving up five sacks and three quarterback hits. Jacksonville also picked off Nick Foles, who threw only two interceptions all of last year. To be sure, they did blow a 17-0 halftime lead so they still have plenty of holes but after watching the Redskins last week and seeing them give up 14 quarterback hits (10 to guys not names J. J. Watt) there has to be cause for concern.

Here are three factors in favor of a Redskins win:

—Alfred Morris got his season off to a great start in Houston, picking up 91 yards on 14 carries, a healthy 6.5 yards a pop. If he keeps that going he can not only move the chains on his own but he also can set up play action passes by Robert Griffin III. If they use him, which they didn’t do enough against the Texans, he can be the straw that stirs the drink on offense.

—Griffin played a decent game overall and he was particularly sharp in the second half. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 193 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns in the last 30 minutes of play. That’s an average of 9.6 yards per attempt and a stellar passer rating of 118.8. If he comes close to those numbers and eliminates mistakes like the one he made handing off when he was falling to the ground, the Redskins are likely to have a decided advantage at quarterback.

—The Washington defense played well, allowing only 10 points to the Texans. The tackling was impressive with only nine misses and most of those causing minimal damage since there were a lot of players around the ball. They need to get more sacks and takeaways but it was a solid start for a maligned unit.

And three X factors:

—Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne had five multi-interception games last year and he had six games where he didn’t throw a pick. If the Redskins get the bad Chad on Sunday they have a good shot at winning easily. If Henne protects the ball the Jags could be in it until the end.

—The Redskins have three players who are out of Sunday’s game and one who is doubtful. Jacksonville lists four players out and one doubtful. That is a lot of banged up players for this early in the season and it remains to be seen how much of an effect the missing players will have on the contest.

—The Redskins’ safety position remains in turmoil after Bacarri Rambo whiffed on a open field tackle that turned a long gain on a pass into the go-ahead touchdown. It was noted above that the Redskins missed only nine tackles but five of those misses were committed by Ryan Clark. They are very thin behind those three with Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis having no NFL experience and Duke Ihenacho barely familiar with his teammates with just six practices with Washington under his belt. If the Jags can figure out a way to exploit the weakness they could come up with a game-changing play.

So what will happen?

This could be an easy one for the Redskins but nothing comes easy for this team. As Ryan Clark reminded everyone earlier this week, the Jaguars’ draft slot was behind that of the Redskins last year. Washington is not good enough to take any team lightly and they unlikely to overlook the Jaguars.

It says here that Griffin gets in a rhythm thanks to Alfred Morris’ effective running and finds DeSean Jackson deep once, maybe twice. But they can’t shake the catastrophic mistakes and the Jags hang around the whole game. It’s tight in the end until a late clinching score by the offense or maybe a return TD by the defense.

Redskins 24, Jaguars 14

(record this year 0-1)

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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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