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Redskins-Giants Fourth Quarter

Redskins-Giants Fourth Quarter

Giants just past the 50 as the fourth quarter begins.

14:51—Manning is still enjoying too much time to throw. Skins aren't getting enough pressure from the front four and the secondary isn't getting good enough coverage.

13:21—Nice play by Smoot, knocking a TD away from Burress. Third and 10 at the 21.

13:15—Not sure what Manning was trying to do there, but thanks, Eli.

13:10—Tynes (I think I've misspelled his name earlier once or twice) goes wide left on a 38-yard try. I still think the Skins will need another score, but a 12-point lead looks pretty nice right now.

12:20—Portis is on a roll, a couple of runs get a key drive off to a good start with about 13 yards and a first down.

10:50—Not quite for Betts on a screen on third and nine as he comes up a yard short. Redskins will punt.

9:17—Thanks to the wind on that pass intended for S. Moss. That would have been a big one.

8:03—Man, that clock sure is moving slowly. Third and one, look for the deep pass.

7:59—No, a short one to Burress, knocked away. Fourth and one, ballgame here if the Skins stop them.

7:53—Quick pass to S. Moss gets the first down and then some.

7:20—Jacobs with his third drop. They've been getting good yardage on first down, let's see if a second and ten helps the pass pressure.

7:00-A great catch by Smith sets up another fourth and short.

6:30—And Jacobs gets it.

6:06—Jacobs again drops one. Skins need to come down with one of those.

5:27—Another fourth down, this one with five to go.

5:22—Skins knock down a low pass and take over on downs. Not sure exactly what happened or exactly what Eli was thinking there. A couple of first downs ice the game. The question is, do Gibbs and Saunders let Collins take to the air if necessary?

5:17—Betts in for Portis on first down. Considering how well CP has been toting it, I find that curious. It looked like Betts was heading for the sideline after the play. Second down is the down to pass in this situation.

5:10—Portis for four. A big third and six coming up here. I'm not sure what the call will be, which is a good thing. A few weeks ago, I knew it would be a run.

5:05—Portis for nothing. The Giants had to burn their last timeout. Again, a few weeks ago, I felt pretty good when the Bills burned their last TO. Of course, that was a one FG game and this is a two-TD game.

3:33—NY is moving, but they are burning a lot of time in doing so.

3:20—Fourth and 10. Blitz time.

3:14—No blitz, but incomplete and the Skins can just about put a bow on it. One first down will seal it and even if they don't get one the Giants won't have much time to get two scores.

2:00—Third and one. Another interesting playoff possibility opens up for the Skins now. They don't necessarily need NO to lose a game to get in. If the Skins win out and the Giants lose out vs. Buffalo and New England, the Redskins are in regardless.

1:54—Ironic, isn't it? Betts was in at the end in September against the Giants and he couldn't score. Today, he gets three carries and the Skins go into victory formation.

Final score
Redskins 22, Giants 10

The next couple of Sundays are going to be very, very interesting. As I said in the pregame, I would love it if the Skins got into the playoffs by knocking the Cowboys out of the top seed.

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins draft Vita Vea in the first round?

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins draft Vita Vea in the first round?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 24, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 41
—NFL Draft (4/26) 92
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 228

Fan questions—Surprise cuts, finding a playmaker

I put out a call for questions on social media and I got so many good ones that I’m splitting them up. Here are Facebook questions today and I’ll hit the best Twitter questions later this week.

 

Spencer Long could be gone but he is a free agent, so he could not be cut. As far as players under contract, a lot will depend on who they draft and sign in free agency. If they go heavy on the defensive line, Ziggy Hood and Terrell McClain could be in danger of being cut. An influx of defensive back might have Josh Holsey and Deshazor Everett headed out of town.

There won’t be any cuts that save a major amount of cap space. Thek players with the top 15 cap numbers per Over the Cap are all vital to the operation with the possible aforementioned exception of McClain.

The rub is that if you want an instant “bona fide” playmaker you are going to have to invest either a lot of cap dollars or high draft pick. They have invested cap dollars in Reed and, to a lesser extent, Thompson and a No. 1 draft pick in Reed. The plan needs to be to make sure that Reed stays healthy (as best you can) and hope you get 12-14 productive games out of him, get Thompson back in the swing of things, and continue to work with Doctson. Perhaps they can get a mid-round find like the Saints did with Kamara to add to the mix. But for the most part, the Redskins will have to make do with what they have.

The way things stand right now, I’m seeing Vea regarded as more of a late first-round pick than a player who should go in the top half of the round. That could change as the draft process goes on. I think the Redskins need to continue to strengthen their defensive line and if Vea moves up to a high first-round grade or slides to a second they should take a long look at him.

The player I’m keeping my eye on is Jordan Matthews, who spent three years with the Eagles before being trade to Buffalo. He had over 800 yards receiving in each of his three seasons in Philly before a knee injury hampered him last year. He’s 6-3 and still young (26 in Week 1). Sammy Watkins of the Rams is intriguing but he had just 593 receiving yards in 15 games in a Sean McVay’s very productive offense. An older but less expensive option might be Eric Decker of the Titans, who had just 30 fewer receiving yards than Watkins and would be much a much less expensive acquisition albeit as a stopgap.

I see them addressing other needs in the first round. That could change if there is someone there who is just too good to pass up.

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.

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was 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. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

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