Redskins

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Seen on the way in, the perfect solution for those of you who have the dilemma of picking a player’s jersey to wear. This fan had what looked like your standard replica jersey, except there were four numbers sewn to the back: 28, 17, 81, and 33. A good way to pay tribute to four Redskins legends.

On the first play, Ladell Betts drove the pile for a gain of five, again showing the power that he’s been exhibiting during camp. The Redskins have a solid 1-2 punch at running back

Ramsey’s lack of calm in the pocket and touch on the ball on the first series gets him a smattering of boos as he left the field after the first series. Who said that the NFL fan, circa 2005, isn’t rational?

Not good for Andy Groom to airmail a punt from his own 48 about 8 yards deep into the end zone. It would have been a great kick from his own 20. Midfield is a great spot for a punter to pooch it and Groom lacked that touch.

Lemar Marshall had great technique on the opening play, waiting for Rudi Johnson on an off-tackle for no gain.

Betts is a North-South runner. He lost one yard when he tried to go wide on second down. While he has some speed, he needs to use it after going through the hole straight ahead, not moving laterally.

Groom booms one 50 and hangs it up there for the coverage, who tackle the returner for a loss of one.

Another example of a runner who needs to stick with North-South is Cincy’s Rudi Johnson. On one play he kept trying to bounce a run outside and wound up with a bigger and bigger pack of Redskin tacklers in front of him every time. He wound up losing 10.

A horrible throw by Palmer leads to Carlos Rogers’ first NFL interception (not that it counts, this being preseason). Rogers showed some speed during his 30-yard return, but unrefined running skills. He appeared to have clear sailing up the sideline.

Rollout, throwback, reminiscent of Mark Rypien in his prime, from Ramsey to James Thrash for a Redskins TD from 25 yards out. Is that the one play that Ramsey needs to get it going? The first player out to congratulate Ramsey with a high-ten was Mark Brunell.

Thrash celebrated the touchdown by lining up on the kickoff team and sprinting all the way into the end zone to make sure that the returner kneeled down for a touchback.

Carson Palmer has had two nice scrambles for first downs, but I’m not so sure that Marvin Lewis is all the excited about it. The #1 overall pick a couple of years ago is wearing a knee brace, having missed the last three games of last year with an injury to that joint. Not only that, but Carlos Rogers nearly took his head off just before Palmer went into the slide move on the first scramble.

Second Quarter

Derrick Dockery just made a Bengal cornerback disappear when pulling on an off-tackle by Betts. The massive guard didn’t pancake number 34 as much as simply engulf him.

Yep, it just took one. Ramsey couldn’t have gone up and placed the ball in Daveid Patten’s hands any better on a 46-yard hookup deep into Bengal territory. Patten had half a step and Ramsey put the ball just beyond the defender’s reach.

That is followed up by a bad interception, with Ramsey throwing in the end zone to a tightly-covered Kevin Dyson. He got a little too cocky, perhaps.

They’ve got Carlos Rogers covering Chad Johnson, who is still in the game midway through the second quarter. Johnson beats him with a move to the sideline to pick up a first. Next play, Rogers is on Houshmandzadeh, who drops a TD pass. After that, he’s on Kelly Washington, who again beats Rogers and this time the receiver caught the ball for a 45-yard TD (who put on one of the most obnoxious dance displays ever, going on for about 15 seconds to celebrate a touchdown in an exhibition game).

Following the point after, Gregg Williams met Rogers at the sideline and offered him some advice that seemed to be neither particularly friendly nor particularly harsh. LaVar Arrington came over offered Rogers some words of encouragement.

Antonio Brown didn’t seem to exhibit much in the way of being able to make tacklers miss against the Panthers last week. Tonight, he’s showing a nice ability to chance both direction and speed to elude tacklers.

The good and the bad from Ramsey again. Drops in a nice one to Patten for 33 yards and then throws another horrid INT. After the pick, Ramsey and the other QB’s huddle with Bill Musgrave, looking at what likely was a high-level snapshot of the play.

Palmer had another chance to scramble, but he wisely threw the ball 15 yards out of bounds. It appears that Lewis had a little chat with him.

The Bengals aren’t holding much back on offense—five WR sets, quick-pitch plays, a little swing pass where the receivers cleared out the left side and Palmer dropped it into a running back, a shovel pass for a touchdown--the works.

For most of the second quarter it has been the Bengals’ first offense against the Redskins’ second defense and Washington’s first offense against Cincy’s first defense.

Kelly Washington caught a three-yard pass from Palmer. Fortunately, it was inside the two-minute warning and he had to get lined up, so we were spared the dance that surely would have ensured otherwise.

Groom did do a nice job of holding for John Hall on a field goal try that was just like an extra point. The ball was a bit inside, but Groom handled it and got the ball down in plenty of time.

Third Quarter:

Some dumb football by the Redskins early in the third. Khary Campbell made a nice hit to force a fumble and Clifton Smith, rather than falling on the ball, tried to scoop it up at about knee level. He never got the handle and ex-Redskin Larry Moore recovered the ball. After that, Chris Clemons hit John Kitna when the quarterback was almost on the far side of the wide white stripe that is the sideline. Combine those two and instead of Washington driving for a score Cincinnati has a first down near midfield. That’s the stuff that drives all coaches, particularly Gibbs, absolutely crazy.

Gibbs went for it on fourth and one at the Bengal 31, figuring that his first-team offensive line should be able to push back the Cincinnati backups on the line. A defensive tackle got penetration, though, and Cartwright never had a chance and lost four.

After that initial boomer into the end zone, Groom has been booming them from better spots on the field, just launching one 52 yards. He’s still a long shot to make the team, but he’ll be playing in the NFL somewhere soon.

Omar Stoutmire had a good chance at a highlight-reel hit on a pass over the middle, but he ducked out of it and allowed a first-down completion. He’s a veteran who needs to make those plays if he wants to snag that last safety spot.

Ade Jimoh has made a couple of nice open-field tackles, but he just can’t blitz to save his life. Last week he missed the tackle on the quarterback, tonight he seemed to have an open lane to Craig Krenzel but instead looped outside and never got near him as the quarterback converted on third and eight.

Fourth Quarter:

The Redskins are getting killed on third downs. Through three quarters the Bengals are 11 of 16 on third down conversions.

Brunell made a good arm pass to Antonio Brown. With a defender preventing him from stepping into the throw, he zipped the ball in to Brown for 12 yards.

Manny White lined up at fullback and made a classic lead block to move Broughton from the Bengal nine down to the three. White kicked out the linebacker trying to fill the hole and Nemo cut right off of his butt and rumbled down to the three. Broughton scored on the next play.

Robert McCune made an excellent little play on a run up the middle. He got into the backfield and had nobody between himself and Kenny Watson. Instead of going for the kill, he stood his ground and let Watson make his move and got just enough of a hand on him so that the rest of the defense could gang tackle Watson at the line. It won’t show up on the stat sheet or on ESPN, but it was a smart play.

Three straight drops, by Elliott, Combs, and Farris kill a promising drive to tie the game up. Can’t blame Brunell for that one.

Ramsey had more positive plays than Brunell on the night, but the two interceptions were killers. The first one looked just like the Philadelphia game at FedEx last year when he just threw into coverage in the end zone. The second one was just an awful throw. Still, he averaged over 10 yards per attempt on the ones he got to the guys who were wearing the right-colored shirts.

Antonio Brown is going to be dragging tonight. In addition to handling all of the return duties in the first half, he’s been lined up at receiver virtually every play since early in the second quarter. It seems like they’re trying to make sure he picks up the finer points about

Broughton just put a damper on an otherwise great evening by fumbling away the Redskins’ last chance to tie it up.

Gibbs was visibly agitated about the turnovers during his post-game press conference. There was an edge to his voice that has rarely been heard in public. The audio clip will be up in a little while.

Quick Links

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. 

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!

Quick Links

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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!