Redskins

OU vet Jones vs. A&M's freshman Heisman at Cotton

201212301643602176009-p2.jpeg

OU vet Jones vs. A&M's freshman Heisman at Cotton

IRVING, Texas (AP) Landry Jones is back where he made his Oklahoma debut, and again in the shadow of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Jones took over as the Sooners' quarterback in the first-ever college game at Cowboys Stadium, in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford after halftime.

Three seasons later in the same stadium, Jones will make his 50th and last career start. The 12th-ranked Sooners play the Cotton Bowl on Friday night against 10th-ranked Texas A&M and dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman.

Jones has won 39 games while throwing for 16,368 yards and 122 touchdowns. There have been two Big 12 titles and three bowl victories, including the Fiesta Bowl.

``It's crazy, what a great quarterback he is,'' Manziel said. ``He's thrown for more than 3,000 yards every year. Just the things he's done at OU have been amazing. ... I was in high school for two years while he was in college. I'm a big fan. I think he's a great player.''

Manziel, meanwhile, burst on the scene in the Aggies' first SEC season with plenty of highlight plays and big numbers of his own.

The redshirt freshman known as Johnny Football has thrown for 3,419 yards with 24 touchdowns, and run for another 1,181 yards and 19 scores. His 4,600 total yards broke the SEC record, and he's only the fifth player with 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.

``It's a testament to what kind of player he is, what type of person he is to be able to come in and play as well as he did as a freshman,'' Jones said.

The Cotton Bowl matchup of 10-2 teams and former Big 12 rivals pits the steady veteran against the exciting 20-year-old freshman in only his 13th game but already with college football's highest individual award.

``He knows exactly what he can and can't do and he tries to do those things as well as he can, and certainly his ability to extend and create plays, there's not really a defense for that,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said Tuesday.

Manziel got his chance as the Texas A&M starter after Ryan Tannehill was the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft last April. Aggies linebacker Jonathan Stewart remembers Manziel being erratic at times during spring drills, but saw a huge difference when fall practice got started.

``You could see him starting to try to be a true quarterback and not just a backyard quarterback, just trying to run around and improvise every single play,'' Stewart said. ``And then see him growing and growing all season, and then getting better and better every single week.''

Coach Kevin Sumlin announced Manziel as the starter two weeks before the season opener.

As a redshirt freshman, Jones was expected to back up Bradford, who as a sophomore the previous season won the Heisman Trophy as the Sooners made it to the BCS national championship game.

But Bradford injured his throwing shoulder when he was driven to the turf by a BYU defender in the opener. Jones took over after halftime and, except for two games Bradford played a few weeks later before leaving Oklahoma early for the NFL, has started every game since.

``Landry has had a long and great journey. It started here out of nowhere when Sam Bradford got hurt, and he genuinely could not wait for his opportunity,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ``Through the year he did a great job in tough circumstances with the other guys around him that were hurt. He has grown and developed through the years. ... It has been special. He has been a great QB for us.''

Asked about his confidence going into any game with Jones, Stoops responded, ``We have great confidence in Landry and we recognize what a great quarterback Johnny Manziel is, but we love our quarterback as well.''

As much as the Aggies love Manziel.

Texas A&M, like Oklahoma, enters the Cotton Bowl with a five-game winning streak. That includes a 29-24 win at then top-ranked Alabama, the SEC champion playing in the BCS national title game next week against No. 1 Notre Dame, the last team to beat the Sooners.

``You've got one guy that's been doing it for a long time, then you've got Johnny, who's been doing it for a year. But I'm confident in Johnny because he plays with a motor,'' Aggies receiver Ryan Swope said. ``He's got a lot of confidence on the field. When the light's flick on, it's game time for him. He's been huge for us.''

Just imagine what Manziel might be able to accomplish in 50 starts if he keeps up what he's already doing.

``That will be interesting,'' Swope said with a smile. ``He's got a bright, bright career ahead of him.''

For Jones, the Cotton Bowl is the finale of the career when he holds Sooner records for wins, passing yards, TD passes, pass attempts and completions. His Big 12-record 16,368 yards are nearly twice as many as No. 2 Bradford's 8,403, and he's doubled the attempts and completions of Josh Heupel, now the Sooners' quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.

``It's just been a ride. I'm extremely blessed to have come this far in my career and have a chance to end it where it started,'' Jones said. ``It's starting to hit me knowing that this is my last game, and wanting to go out on a positive note.

``I can still remember the first day and moving into the dorms and getting on campus,'' he said. ``It definitely has flown by.''

Quick Links

The Redskins' loss to the Bears needs to be remembered as the humiliation it was

The Redskins' loss to the Bears needs to be remembered as the humiliation it was

The 31-15 final score suggests that the Redskins were beaten soundly on Monday night by the Bears, but not dismantled. Don't fall for that.

What happened at FedEx Field — in front of a national audience, in a game that was needed to turn around the season — was yet another humiliating result and it needs to be remembered and evaluated as such.

31-15 isn't what you need to look at. 28-0 is. That was the advantage Chicago held over Washington late in the first half.

This time, the hosts couldn't even make it to the third quarter before their usual collapse.

Case Keenum's pick-six after an opening stop by the Burgundy and Gold was an enormous buzzkill. That said, it is possible for a group to come back from an unfortunate start. That didn't happen, though.

Instead, Greg Manusky's defense — a unit that was supposed to bring more aggression and play with tighter communication, a unit that was supposed to take advantage of a slumping opponent — allowed three second quarter touchdowns, two of which came on drives that spanned more than 60 yards.

As a whole, the problems that Jay Gruden's squad had in Weeks 1 and 2 returned for a third time. The running game was ineffective. The defense was really ineffective. The Redskins racked up nine penalties. 

On a larger scale, the problems that Jay Gruden's squad has had throughout his entire tenure in D.C. returned for a who-knows-what-number-this-is time. They started slowly. They were destroyed at the end of the first half. They faltered in primetime. They were the ones reacting instead of initiating.

Afterward, the quotes coming from Gruden and his players sounded very familiar. Things need to "get cleaned up." It's only "the beginning" of the year. No one is "jumping ship."

In that respect, this was just another standard loss for Washington. It shouldn't count as one, however. This one was exceptionally awful and unacceptable.

Now, the Redskins stand at 0-3 and arguments can be made for changes at quarterback, defensive coordinator and even head coach. No player at any spot should feel comfortable with their spot on the depth chart.

Just 16 days ago, there was talk about hope and possibly a surprise playoff push. The talk now, sadly, is about plenty of other things, and none of them are good. And right now, this team simply isn't, either.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Emotional post-game speech by Jonathan Allen tries to keep Redskins together 

Emotional post-game speech by Jonathan Allen tries to keep Redskins together 

Jonathan Allen was blunt and to the point. 

The Chicago Bears had just trashed the Redskins in yet another Monday Night Massacre at FedEx Field. Don’t let the late rally fool you. This game was 28-0 late in the second quarter. It finished 31-15. Washington is 0-3. This is about the time when NFL teams go off the rails. 

Allen gave an impassioned post-game speech demanding teammates stay accountable and united despite their clear frustration, a source told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay. 

“We’re supposed to be the best athletes in the world,” Allen said. “If you don’t have the mental toughness to stay focused after three weeks in a 17-week regular season, I don’t know what to tell you. Each guy has to be held accountable and just take it from there. There ain’t no magic sauce to get this thing turned around.”

Listed as questionable before the game, playing on a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Allen gutted through the game after missing the Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. 

The Redskins were left seething because they have found different ways to lose every week. They blew a 17-0 lead to the Philadelphia Eagles. They were sloppy and out-manned at the line of scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys. Turnovers killed them for the first time this season against the Bears in a disaster of a first half. 

Allen insisted the locker room will not fracture. Those could be dismissed as just words, but the expression on his face made you uneasy. He played college football at Alabama. He is not used to losing. 

Neither is wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who caught another touchdown pass and had six catches for 70 yards. It’s been a great individual start to his rookie season, which means nothing to a player who won so many games at Ohio State. 

“I’m a win-loss kind of guy. I scored. We lost," McLaurin said. "I want to be productive for my team, but at the end of the day I want to win and we all want to win. The boxscore doesn’t say ‘Terry had a great game.’ It says ‘The Redskins lost.’ I feel like that. Our team feels like that.” 

The Redskins next travel to New York to play the 1-2 Giants in what absolutely is a must-win game. Jobs are on the line now. Allen and McLaurin said there would be no finger-pointing. Accountability starts with each individual player and they vowed to check their own play. Running back Adrian Peterson echoed his younger teammates.

"Everyone contributes. From Week 1 to now," Peterson said. "If anything you've got to point the finger at yourself. For me, even with everything that happened in the first half, at the end of the day, we were in a position to convert a first down and I didn't execute. And if we do that we're in a position with a fresh set of downs to get seven [points] and now we're down six and it's a totally different ballgame."

But these are all words. They must be backed up on the field in New York on Sunday or they don’t mean much. The Redskins better adhere to the message or the season will slip away from them a quarter of the way into it. Will they? Allen’s manner suggested anyone who isn’t on board will face consequences.       

“Nothing is ever impossible to fix. I don’t care how you lose,” Allen said. “Nothing is ever impossible. Losing sucks. Regardless of how you lose, we lost...[But] they’re going to have to be. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but you’re going to have to be and we’re going to be.”

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: