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Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

The Eagles started making news on Tuesday afternoon when word got out that they were going to part ways with cornerback Cary Williams and pass rushers Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. While Philly fans and media were working on figuring out how these starters would be replaced with no obvious candidates to step in on the roster, the bombshell hit.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Eagles and Bills had agreed on a trade that would send linebacker Kiko Alonso to Buffalo in exchange for LeSean McCoy. Chip Kelly, who was give full control of player personnel in January, had traded away arguably his team’s best player for a linebacker who had a very good rookie season but missed 2014 with a torn ACL.

It is clear that Kelly is not afraid to use his newly acquired personnel power. Cole and Todd Herremans were the two longest-tenured Eagles, both drafted by the team in 2005. McCoy, who will be 27 before the season starts, came aboard in the 2009 draft. Graham was the Eagles’ top pick in the 2010 draft. The Andy Reid era, the most successful in team history, is fast fading into the rearview mirror.

Trading McCoy saved the Eagles $8.55 million in salary cap space. Alonso may take the place of veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who may also be released to save $6.9 million. That would give Kelly nearly $60 million in cap space to work with.

But what would he do with it? The word around Philadelphia is that Kelly only wants players who buy into his system, his way of doing things. It started last year when he was the driving force behind the decision to cut DeSean Jackson a year ago. The best way do that is to build through the draft, bring players in out of college and train them the way you want them. As Scot McCloughan says, free agents come in with their own agendas. You can only vet players so much during the interview and background check process. If Kelly does it that way it will be largely a process of trail and error.

One could surmise that Kelly wants the cap space because he intends to use a good chunk of the next two drafts to move up from 20th into the top five and take Marcus Mariota in the draft. That’s possible but putting all of your eggs in the basket of a spread offense QB is risky business, as the Redskins have learned. The fact that Mariota played for Kelly at Oregon may increase the chances for success but it’s far from a guarantee.

So what does this mean for the Redskins? In the short term is means that they won’t have to face McCoy twice a year. He has 206 carries for 807 yards and five touchdowns rushing and 51 receptions for 479 yards against the Redskins. The receiving numbers are by far his best against any opponent.

But beyond that it depends largely on if Kelly, who has 20 NFL wins, none of them in the postseason, knows what he has doing. He apparently convinced Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie that he does. Now he has to show Eagles fans and the rest of the NFL that he does.

If Kelly’s way works, the Redskins could find themselves needing 11 or 12 wins year after year to contend for the NFC East title. That would make the Redskins’ rebuilding job that much tougher and increase the pressure on Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan to get big results in a hurry.

And if Kelly busts? Well, for right now it would give the Redskins some company at the bottom of the division. Beyond that, we would have to see but given their record since 2007 the Redskins have little room to revel in the difficulties of other division teams.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.