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With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

The obstacles mounted for the Redskins on Sunday. Injuries and fat rain drops and wind and more injuries, stacking up like Beltway traffic. 

There were plenty of reasons for the Redskins to lose to the Cowboys, every one of the 70,000 people at FedEx Field knew as much.

For Washington to win, in a game with a depleted roster and a devastated offensive line, Jay Gruden's team would need to play their best. 

And they didn't. 

Early in the game, it looked like the Redskins had a chance for their first NFC East win of the year.

Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott fumbled his first carry of the game. The first play from scrimmage, the Redskins defense got a turnover and gifted the offense with prime field position. Only the offense couldn't convert, not even a single first down, and the team settled for a field goal. 

It was a sign of things to come.

There was a brief period of prosperity for the Redskins and an early 13-7 lead even. But late in the second quarter, disaster struck. The Cowboys blocked a Redskins field goal attempt, a low shot from rookie kicker Nick Rose. Dallas returned the ball more than 80 yards, nearly scoring, and Elliott punched it in a few plays later. 

It was a 10-point swing. Instead of a 16-7 lead, the Redskins now trailed, 14-13. 

RICH TANDLER: WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT REDSKINS FROM WEEK 8

"The blocked field goal which was very costly, obviously. We could have gone up by nine," Gruden said after the game. "Instead, they got the ball at our one-yard line. That was a big one."

In the second half, turnovers and ineffective offense combined with even more injuries to sink the Redskins. Even Chris Thompson, Washington's best player through seven games, had a fumble. 

In a game that started with a beat up offensive line lacking three starters, things got worse when guard Shawn Lauvao left the action. The line was a mess, the Redskins couldn't run the ball, and Kirk Cousins didn't play all that great either.  

Cousins' play has become a flash point for Redskins fans. Like the city's biggest business of politics, Cousins has become a divisive topic in Washington. 

His stats show a player that completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards to go with one touchdown and one interception. Like he usually does, Cousins completed more than 65 percent of his passes. 

Beyond the stats though, Cousins had two near interceptions in the second half, one thrown right after the other. The same thing happened against San Francisco. 

And Cousins also threw a late interception that sealed the loss for the Redskins. The same thing happened last week in Philadelphia. In three of the Redskins four losses, Cousins has thrown a late interception that effectively ended the game. 

To be fair, the INT came on a tipped ball. It was hardly Cousins fault, or at least entirely his fault. 

RELATED: THE UGLY SIDE TO THE REDSKINS 3-4 RECORD

And it's also worth pointing out Cousins played the game in terrible conditions.

The rain fell fast and hard by the end of the game, and it was nasty out there on the field when the Redskins passer had the chance to pull off the game-winning drive. Cousins also had a patchwork offensive line, no Jordan Reed or Niles Paul for much of the game, and had to deal with wide reciever drops all game.

In no way did Cousins lose the game for the Redskins, but he didn't win it either. 

A few different times now this season, Cousins has had the opportunity to go win the game for the Redskins. It's not all on him, obviously, but a lot of it is. Quarterbacks get too much credit for wins, and yes, they also get too much blame for losses. 

To beat Dallas on Sunday, the Redskins needed the best out of Cousins. They didn't get it. And they didn't win. 

Some games, some teams can win without a great game from their quarterback.

For the Redskins, Sunday's contest against Dallas was not one of those games. 

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

REDSKINS vs. JETS, PRESEASON WEEK 2

Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy

REDSKINS vs. PATRIOTS TV SCHEDULE:

5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live

REDSKINS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

 

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Deciphering the important stuff to watch in Redskins 2nd preseason game

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USA Today Sports

Deciphering the important stuff to watch in Redskins 2nd preseason game

The Redskins take on the Jets in their second preseason game and their 2018 home opener. All the coverage starts on NBC Sports Washington at 6 p.m.!

Remember the TV show Lost? It ran for more than six years, often confusing viewers with a rangy plot that veered from emotional to supernatural and rarely made a ton of sense. Still, the show gained a big audience by being compelling, even if weird. 

That's a little like preseason football.

Viewers know the product isn't the same game that will be played in just a few weeks when the regular seasons starts. Still, the product is compelling and offers hints, sometimes vague, at what will actually matter when the real games start. 

So when watching the Redskins take on the Jets Thursday night, don't get too caught up in stats. The leading rusher, receiver or tackler in that game isn't necessarily the most important thing to watch. Here's what is:

  • Alex Smith will likely play at least two series in this contest. The Redskins new QB1 needs to show command of the offense and familiarity with his pass catchers. An impressive drive would also help win over fans still smarting from the loss of Kirk Cousins. 
  • Losing Derrius Guice for the season last week in the preseason opener hurts. Guice looked like a dynamic runner and a talent injection into the Redskins offense. Well, he's gone, and that means a hole for Jay Gruden's group. Rob Kelley will likely get the RB1 work, but what happens after him? Chris Thompson is an established player and elite third down back, but he might not even play against the Jets while he works back from a broken leg last season. Byron Marshall, Kapri Bibbs and Samaje Perine will have the biggest opportunity in this game to prove they belong and should be more prominently involved in the game plan. Who emerges from that trio is arguably the most important subplot to watch Thursday night. 
  • Defensively, Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are the pass rush stars for this team. Quietly, however, Ryan Anderson and Pernell McPhee strung together impressive training camp sessions. Neither player has a ton of speed off the edge, but both have size and strength. In this game, watch to see if either can generate pressure off the edge. 
  • Washington made a big move in the  secondary this week, releasing veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick before he even played a game. The Redskins truly believe in their young group of corners, and a lot of that is the emergence of undrafted rookie Danny Johnson. He can continue to force his way up the depth chart with a solid game and more in the punt return game.
  • Speaking of special teams, watch for fringe roster guys to make an impact on coverage teams. One player in particular could be Cam Sims. He looks to be on the outside looking in at receiver, but at 6-foot-5 he has height and length that can't be taught. Could Sims push for a spot on the 53? Not without making standout plays on specials. He made a big catch and run in New England to set up a touchdown, and he will need more of that against the Jets. 

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