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Cousins likes low-risk, high-reward screen passes

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Cousins likes low-risk, high-reward screen passes

The Redskins have four pass plays this year that have gone for 45 yards or more. It’s not surprising that two of them are touchdown bombs from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson, one from 63 yards out and the other from 56 yards.

The source of the other two, however, is quite unlikely. Rookie running back Matt Jones, who at 6-2, 231 is cut out to be a power back, has caught screen passes of 78 yards for a touchdown against the Saints and another for 45 yards against the Giants.

Screen passes have not worked well for the Redskins of late. How long has it been since they worked effectively? Well Jones 78-yarder was the longest touchdown pass caught by a running back since Larry Brown went 89 yards against the Jets in 1972. More recently, Darryl Young caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III in 2013 but that one was a downfield pass, not a screen. Last year Roy Helu caught a short pass from Cousins and scampered for 55 yards but that wasn’t a traditional screen pass with the line blocking momentarily, releasing, and forming a wall for the back to run behind after catching the pass. Same with a pass from Rex Grossman to Helu in 2011 that covered 47 yards for a touchdown.

Kirk Cousins sees a lot of factors working together to make the plays work.

“I think it’s a combination of getting the screens called at the right times against the right looks,” said Cousins. “You’ve got to have an offensive line that can be good actors and sell the pass down the field and convince the guy on them that it’s a pass and they need to rush. To have the perfect timing to set that up and then let the guy go and then go find the downfield blocks.

“When you have athletic lineman like Morgan Moses, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus, they’re getting out and they’re able to run these guys down. I think you’ve seen the escort that Matt Jones has had on a couple. These guys can run. It’s great to see, it’s encouraging.”

The line is the key. If even one defender senses that his blocker is intentionally letting him get to the quarterback he can disrupt the play.

“Screens are plays that have low risk, high reward,” said Cousins. “The risks of a lot of things going wrong are not as high as if you’re throwing the ball down the field deep. In return you can get a lot of big, explosive plays. It’s a great play that when you can be good at it, it makes an offense very explosive and dangerous.”

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Bruce Allen does not know why Redskins would expect suspension for Reuben Foster

Bruce Allen does not know why Redskins would expect suspension for Reuben Foster

MOBILE, Ala. — Florida authorities dropped domestic violence charges against Reuben Foster earlier this month, and for Redskins team president Bruce Allen, that should mean no NFL suspension.

Allen said as much when speaking with reporters on Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. 

"The league is still finishing their investigation of it," Allen said. "I don't know why we would expect a suspension, but we'll let the league finish up."

There is precedent for an NFL suspension regardless of legal action. Recent examples include a three-game suspension for Jameis Winston and a six-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys tried to fight Elliott's suspension in the courts, but eventually, the NFL won. Winston and the Bucs did not appeal his suspension. 

Neither Winston or Elliott were ever charged with a crime, but the accusations against both included salacious details and possible sexual assault, and the NFL did not relent in their rulings. 

For Foster, in the last calendar year he has been arrested twice for separate incidents of domestic violence. The first case fell apart when testimony was recanted, and in the second case, charges were dropped. The 49ers released him after the second incident, and Washington swooped in to claim the linebacker off waivers. 

Throughout this process, the Redskins have maintained that Foster would not play for the organization if he was deemed guilty of any wrongdoing.

"Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player," Redskins VP of Personnel Doug Williams said in a November statement.

Allen said that the team conducted its own investigation then and expected Foster to be cleared. Now, Allen expects Foster to stay out of trouble. 

"We hold our players to a very high standard at the Redskins," the team president said. "We ask for a commitment that goes beyond the 60 minutes of a football game. Reuben understands what he has to do, and he's been doing it every day."

As a rookie in 2017, Foster played in 10 games and registered 72 tackles.

In 2018, Foster started the season on a suspension for a drug violation before playing six games. He logged 29 tackles but his year was cut short for injuries before landing on the commissioner's exempt list once the arrest in Florida happened. 

A first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017, Foster will be lined up with a number of his former college teammates on the Redskins. 

Assuming he gets through the offseason without any trouble, when Foster hits the field for Washington, he could be a major asset

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Bill Callahan should return as offensive line coach, answering one major question about Redskins' staff

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Bill Callahan should return as offensive line coach, answering one major question about Redskins' staff

Bill Callahan is expected to return to the Redskins for another season, taking care of one major question regarding Jay Gruden's staff.

Washington's offensive line coach of four years should be back for 2019, Bruce Allen told reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

There had previously been much speculation that Callahan was on the outs.

Callahan came to D.C. in 2015 and has long been hailed as one of the league's top O-line gurus. His tenure with the Redskins has featured both positives and negatives.

Among the positives? Brandon Scherff has grown into an elite NFL guard, Morgan Moses earned a pricey contract extension and 2017 sixth-round pick Chase Roullier spent all of last year as the offense's starting center. And Trent Williams, of course, is still Trent Williams.

However, the unit has been decimated by injuries the past two seasons. Some wonder if Callahan's intense coaching — often times, he keeps his players for an extra 30 minutes after weekly practices — has something to do with it.

In addition, the Burgundy and Gold's running game has never really emerged as a dominant one for a 16-game schedule, and Callahan has always had a large role in that area.

Allen said Gruden's full complement of coaches will be finalized in a few weeks. The head coach wasn't at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday; instead, he was conducting interviews at the Redskins' Ashburn facility. 

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