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Redskins vs Seahawks Bold Predictions

Redskins vs Seahawks Bold Predictions

Redskins vs. Seahawks Bold Predictions

When the schedule first came out in the spring and Seattle at Washington at 1 PM EDT was on it, the instant, knee jerk reaction was to put down a “W” for the Redskins and move on. Such instant analysis was based on the following factors:

  • Seattle can’t win on the road, especially games that start at 10 AM their time.

  • The Redskins can stop the run and the Seahawk receivers can’t hold on to the ball, so how are the Seahawks going to score?

  • Mike Holmgren couldn’t beat Spurrier (with George Edwards as Washington’s defensive coordinator), how is he going to beat Joe Gibbs/Gregg Williams?


As the game has drawn closer, however, thoughts of a potential easy victory have given way to some degree of trepidation. A great deal of it, as a matter of fact.

First of all, that road inferiority of Seattle’s is one of those lingering myths that has far outlived its basis in fact (Redskins fans are quite familiar with those). They went 4-4 on the road last year, a respectable mark. None of their wins was over a powerhouse team, but the Redskins certainly don’t fit into that category.

The inability of their receivers to get a grip on the ball is not as much of a problem as it used to be either. The King of the Dropsies, Koren Robinson, Seattle’s version of Michael Westbrook, was given his walking papers and by that subtraction it seems that the entire receiving corps has added considerable grip to its hands.

And, frankly, if Butch Davis and Mike Sherman were able to beat Gibbs and company last year, there’s no reason why Holmgren can’t do it this year.

So, with all of the myths stripped away, here is what we have on Sunday—2-1 vs. 2-0, a good Seattle offense against a very good Redskin defense and a shaky Washington offense against an average Seahawk defense.

At the risk of making a Master of the Obvious statement, we’ll know a lot more about how this game is going to go when we’re about 10 minutes into it. The Redskins need to establish some rhythm on offense. After their first couple of possessions, we’ll see if those two late bombs to Moss in Dallas have any effect on their ability to move the ball. Joe Gibbs, any offensive coach for that matter, is much more effective in calling plays when he has the defense guessing, when more than one aspect of the offense is working. If Seattle plays soft to prevent Moss from going deep, that can open up both Portis on the run and underneath passes to Chris Cooley.

That’s all Football 101 and most reading this already know that. The reason that it’s so important here is because football is a game of confidence, of momentum. Washington gained a big boost of both in the last five minutes of their last game. But that was a week ago Monday. If that is going to have any carryover effect, the Redskins have to have some offensive success in the early going. Otherwise they will struggle to score the 20 points that they may need to win.

So both strategically and emotionally, the first two possessions for the Redskins are critical. A couple of three and outs or even five or six and outs and they’re almost certainly in the doldrums the rest of the day. A couple of double-digit gains by Portis, a medium to long completion to Moss or to David Patten and Seattle will have a very hard time keeping up with them.

If I’m Joe Gibbs, I go play action and deep on the very first play I have the ball. Send a message, both to Seattle and to your own team, that the last time out was no fluke and that you’re willing to go deep at any time.

So how will all of this work out? The Redskins will contain Shaun Alexander, as they do every opposing running back, but he will get some yardage. Holmgren will try the “death by a thousand paper cuts” approach with West Coast offense, and, especially if Walt Harris is out with his calf injury, that may be reasonably effective. It’s not hard to envision Seattle scoring in the 13-17 point range.

That leaves it up to the Washington offense and, no disrespect to the Seattle defense, but the success there is largely up that unit. If they’re aggressive and take what they want to take rather than what the defense gives them they will move the ball and score points. If the attitude is to play it safe and take a nibble here and a probe there, they will have a problem scoring 13 points.

There is a chance that the Washington offense will explode and ring up 35 points, but it’s a slim one. We’ll probably see some modest but noticeable improvement. If that happens, Seattle doesn’t have much of a chance.

Redskins 20, Seahawks 13

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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. 

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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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!