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Cousins: Redskins don't have a prime time problem


Cousins: Redskins don't have a prime time problem

There are many Redskins fans who have an uneasy feeling about the game against the Cowboys coming up on Monday night. It’s not so much that they are playing Tony Romo-less Dallas, although they can be a dangerous team. It’s the fact that the game is being played in prime time.

The Redskins have not done well under the lights in recent times. Since the start of the 2013 season they are 1-7 playing on Monday, Thursday, or Sunday night. That certainly does not make the investment fans make of staying up late and showing up bleary-eyed to work the next morning worthwhile.

Kirk Cousins was asked if the Redskins have had any discussions about the problems under the lights. He made an excellent point.

“Well, we haven’t been great under the big spotlight the last couple years, but we haven’t been great in a lot of situations the last couple years, you know?” he said.

That’s true. In the last two-plus seasons their winning percentage in night games has been .125. In all games it has been .302. Sure their record in all games is better but if it was on a report card you would be reluctant to bring it home. They would have had problems winning games on Tuesday afternoons or Friday at midnight. 

When they have been playing well in all games, they have been playing well under the lights.

“[In] 2012, we were really good under the spotlight,” said Cousins. “I remember the division came down to the last game on Sunday Night Football, we won that game. I remember playing on Monday night against the Giants, we won that game. Played on Thanksgiving Day, we won that game. There have been games where I’ve been here where the spotlight was on us and we did consistently win.”

Cousins, of course, is right. In 2012 they went into their bye week at 3-6. They came back and beat the Eagles at FedEx Field on a Sunday afternoon. Four days later they beat the Cowboys 38-31 on Thanksgiving Day. They extended their winning streak to three and evened their record at 6-6 on Monday night against the Giants with a 17-16 win. Three wins later they found themselves playing the Cowboys on Sunday night with the winner taking the NFC East and the loser going home. The Redskins won 28-18.

“I don’t see it so much as, 'Oh, it’s unique to feeling like there’s a lot of eyes on us.’ I think it’s more that we just haven’t been that good, period,” said Cousins. “And we need to be better. Whether it’s Monday night or Sunday afternoon, we need to be better. That’s the focus every week.”

It makes sense that the prime time record will get better if the overall record gets better. The Cowboys are a team the Redskins should beat at FedEx Field no matter when the game is played. We will see if they are a better team.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins' offense starting to have issues on third down

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Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

You're going to feel absurd for reading the following sentence, but probably not as absurd as it felt to type the following sentence.

The Redskins, who are on their fourth option at QB, who made the '18 Giants look like the '72 Dolphins and who are large underdogs this weekend to the 4-9 Jaguars, actually still have a straightforward path to the playoffs.

Now, the word "straightforward" only applies to the path on paper, because realistically, there's nothing straightforward about fixing the litany of issues that are plaguing Washington at the moment.

Regardless, by losing on Monday night to the Seahawks, the Vikings blew a chance to separate themselves from a pack of NFC teams chasing(?) them and their final wild card spot. The Redskins are one of those teams, and here's how they could pass Minnesota to qualify for the postseason:

With the way the season is unfolding, you'd expect the Burgundy and Gold's playoff scenario to involve a bunch of teams losing a bunch of times in these final three weeks. The tweet above illustrates that's clearly not the case. They only need Minnesota to drop one more to go along with the Redskins winning out.

Of course, the Redskins stringing three straight plays together without committing a holding penalty feels like too much to ask for, so anyone expecting a three-game winning streak is either a bit crazy or a relative of Josh Johnson. But still, they're not out of the hunt quite yet. Somehow.


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Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

The Redskins gave up 40 points and more than 400 yards in a loss to the Giants last Sunday, and that was without Odell Beckham suited up for New York. 

The Redskins have lost four straight games, and five of six, while giving up more than 30 points three times. 

The Redskins surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Giants, and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in their last six games. 

You get the idea. 

After the Washington defense got out to an impressive start to the season, things have fallen apart down the stretch.

Despite the struggles, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has no intention of shaking up his coaching staff.

"No. Not really," Gruden said on the Redskins Talk podcast when asked about any coaching changes. 

As the Redskins struggle and lose their grip on a playoff spot, it's not unheard of to think some staff changes might be coming. The Panthers fired two defensive assistants last weekend, and as the NFL season approaches the finish line, more coaches will lose their jobs. 

In Washington though, it seems the staff is safe. Still, the Giants loss stings. 

The Redskins' offense has been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and along the offensive line. There was some leeway for a loss to New York, but not when the home team got down 40-0 to a 4-8 Giants team. 

That type of deficit brings questions. Questions about the coaches, questions about effort.

On Sunday, Gruden made clear he understands his future is week to week.

"We have a game to win next week in Jacksonville," the coach said. "We have to go about trying to find a way to do it."

On Monday, he made clear his assistants are safe. As far as he is concerned anyway.