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Charley Casserly explains why he would take Joe Flacco over Kirk Cousins

Charley Casserly explains why he would take Joe Flacco over Kirk Cousins

His first eight seasons in the NFL, Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl and signed a $120 million contract. It was not until Flacco's ninth season, however, that the Ravens quarterback passed for more than 4,000 yards.

Named Redskins QB1 in 2015, Kirk Cousins threw for more than 4,000 yards his first full season. In 2016, Cousins nearly got to 5,000 passing yards, passing for 4,917 yards. 

Despite the difference in statistics, long-time NFL personnel executive and former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly still would take Flacco over Cousins.

"Let me say this, if I’m picking Joe Flacco or [Cousins], I'm taking Joe Flacco," Casserly said Tueday on The Junkies (full video above). 

The Redskins again face a huge decision with Cousins, as their passer is slated for free agency unless the organization can reach a long-term deal or deploys the franchise tag for a second straight season. Asked if he considered Cousins a Top 10 NFL quarterback, Casserly was clear.

"No. Uh uh."

Casserly went on to explain that Cousins puts up impressive stats, like more than 9,000 passing yards in two seasons as starter, but that he has not been able to win big games.

"Here's the tough thing, you got two years on him now, is this the guy? Guy put up great stats, a lot of good players around him, great stats though. The defense kept them out of the playoffs [in 2016], I'd say, not him," Casserly said. "But he ended both seasons in big games not on a good note. So is this kind of what we got? The league thinks, a lot of people in the league think, that's what he is."

The two games Casserly's referring to would be a pair of season-ending losses.

In 2015, that came at home in a playoff loss to the Packers, where Cousins completed 29 of 46 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked six times in that game, where the numbers look more impressive than the game play did. 

In 2016, the season again ended with a disappointing home loss. This time the Redskins fell to the Giants. Washington needed a win to reach the playoffs, while New York had little to play for after already clinching a playoff spot. In that game, Cousins completed 22 of 35 passes for 287 yards to go with one touchdown and two interceptions. Cousins was sacked four times in that game, but the play most remember is the interception he threw late in the game when the Redskins were driving with a chance to take the lead or tie the game. 

Judging Cousins by the two games against the Packers and Giants is naive, the QB needs to be considered for his entire body of work. Yet, it's obvious those two games left an impression with Casserly and elsewhere in the NFL.

What happens next for the 'Skins and their signal caller will face much scrutiny. Is Cousins worth a long-term contract that would likely go for more than $110 million if he's not considered a Top 10 passer? Or is that simply what the market dictates for a starting quarterback in the NFL?

"This is a tough one now. There's no easy answer to this one," Casserly said.

The GM of the 'Skins 1991 Super Bowl team explained that his "gut" says Washington will use the franchise tag on Cousins. A second-franchise tag brings with it some questions, especially about the long-term prospects of signing Cousins in 2018 and beyond. 

For Casserly, basically another franchise tag means the team does not want to give Cousins a long-term deal. 

"That's the decision," he said. "If we don’t think we can get him signed, why go through another year."


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Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

The Redskins added some linebacker depth Saturday afternoon by signing former Texas LB Gary Johnson, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

Johnson, 23, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs back in June following mandatory minicamp.

This signing immediately addresses a position of need as Washington's linebacker room is banged up. Reuben Foster was ruled out of the entire season due to a torn ACL he suffered in May, Josh Harvey-Clemmons is going through concussion protocol while strengthening an ailing knee, and Shaun Dion Hamilton is still questionable with a chest injury. 

In his two seasons at Texas, Johnson tallied 147 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and two pass breakups in 23 games.

Johnson took to Twitter to celebrate his latest opportunity in the nation's capital: 

Johnson's Twitter profile also features the statement "I Hate QB's & RB's."

It's fair to say the Redskins are always on the lookout for defensive guys with that mentality. 


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Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

The Redskins lost to the Bengals Thursday night at FedEx Field, but in the preseason, final results don't really matter. What matters comes in individual and group performances, particularly among first-team units.

In that vein, the Redskins starting defense looked strong against Cincinnati. Outside of some dumb and wacky penalty calls, the starting defense barely gave up any first downs. A number of players impressed on that group, so let's start with the stocks trending in the right direction. 

Stock Up

  • Montae Nicholson - The 96-yard interception return for a touchdown was an impressive display of playmaking ability and speed, but more than that, it was the culmination of a strong offseason and training camp. For the Redskins to be a Top 10 defense, Nicholson needs to be the hard-hitting stud that Washington fans saw glimpses of as a rookie in 2017. Last year was a lost season for Nicholson, who dealt with injuries, getting benched and legal troubles. 2019 is a new start, and so far, it looks quite good. 
  • Adrian Peterson - Not that a first-ballot Hall of Famer really needs preseason validation, but when Peterson ripped off a 26-yard run in the first quarter against the Bengals it became pretty obvious he's ready to go for 2019. And it's important too as second-year back Derrius Guice still isn't cleared for competition. 
  • Robert Davis - Another week, another long touchdown. If there's a handbook to show how to force your way onto a roster, Davis is reading from it. 
  • Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - These dudes are beasts. 

Despite the good news, there was bad news too. Here's that list:

Stock Down

  • Samaje Perine - Five carries for one yard against Cincy. You read that right. That comes after a poor showing in pass protection in the preseason opener. Jay Gruden always sings praises of Perine but hasn't after the last two preseason games. Prior to Shaun Wilson's ankle injury, he seemed like a guy that could really push for Perine's roster spot. Could that be Byron Marshall now?
  • Paul Richardson - The speedster wideout missed the Bengals game, and the word from one Redskins coach was "he's hurt." Many players get held out of preseason action with slight injuries, stuff they would play through in the regular season. That's not the deal with Richardson. He needs to get right. 
  • Cole Holcomb - If you can't make the club in the tub, Holcomb needs to get back on the field. While he's not in actual roster danger because of the growing number of injuries at inside linebacker, Holcomb is dealing with an AC joint issue. Linebackers need their shoulders, and Holcomb missed a valuable opportunity against the Bengals with presumed starter Shaun Dion Hamilton already out for that game. 
  • Nate Kaczor - The Redskins new Special Teams coach is off to a rough start. In two preseason games Washington has already given up two punt return touchdowns, and against the Bengals, kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point and a field goal. Special teams are tricky in the preseason. In the regular season with 53-man rosters, starting players land on special teams. In the preseason with 90-man rosters, it's largely a collection of players that won't make the final roster lining up on special teams. Still, ugly start.