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Week 8: Redskins vs. Bengals report card

Week 8: Redskins vs. Bengals report card

LONDON — Here is my report card on various aspects of the Redskins and their 27-27 tie with the Bengals.


QB Kirk Cousins did everything he could to bring home a win — passing for more than 400 yards, rallying the team from a fourth-quarter deficit for the third time this season. If you don’t think the Redskins should sign him to a long-term deal, I have to think you’re watching a different team than I am every Sunday.

TE Jordan Reed gets an A based on his 23-yard touchdown reception alone. He showed everything you want in a tight end on that play — speed, athletic ability, desire, a nose for the end zone.

LB Will Compton played his best game of the year, getting eight tackles and picking up an interception that may have saved the game. Early in the fourth quarter, the Bengals were up by three and had driven down to the Redskins 20. Compton picked off Dalton’s pass giving the ball back to the Redskins. A 10-point deficit at that point would have been difficult to overcome.

WR Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 113 yards and his 33-yard touchdown catch was a lot like Reed’s TD catch — desire to get to the end zone and the athleticism needed to do it.


RB Rob Kelley probably gets an A from some but I’m not grading on the curve because it was his first start. He found the going tough in the first half, averaging just 2.9 yards on his 10 carries and falling down in pass protection one occasion. But the rookie finished strong.

LB Su’a Cravens played only 30 snaps but he made two huge plays, a sack that ended the Bengals’ chances of winning in regulation and he batted down a pass at the line in overtime. Could be higher but I don’t like to do that for a player in on just a third of the snaps


CB Josh Norman had his hands on two interceptions during a time when Andy Dalton was really scuffling. And A.J. Greed didn’t have a huge day but the had eight catches for 111 yards and it seemed whenever the Bengals needed a play they could get the ball to him. He did give a great post-game presser, which does not factor in to this grade.

HC Jay Gruden had his team ready to play but there were two key strategic errors. Going for it on fourth and one in the red zone early in the second quarter of a 7-7 game didn’t make a whole lot of sense. It was an easy three points. And near halftime he had a good notion to use a timeout on defense but he let about 12 seconds run off the clock before calling it. They could have used the time to get a bit closer on Hopkins’ 55-yard field goal try that fell short.

The Wembley stadium turf looked great but when I went into the locker room I saw something I’ve never seen before—grass, a lot of small clumps of it. Apparently it got stuck in the players’ cleats on the field and was tracked in. That has to make the going a little tough.


I don’t think I need to explain why I’m giving this grade to Carl Cheffers and his crew. Just roll the tape on Norman yesterday and on Jay Gruden today.

MORE REDSKINS: The tie leaves the Redskins in the thick of the NFC race

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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.

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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


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.