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Five observations from Redskins' season-ending loss to Giants

Five observations from Redskins' season-ending loss to Giants

Here are my 5 observations on the Redskins’ season-ending 19-10 loss to the Giants:

Good teams don’t pull out close games. Good teams make sure that they do not end up in close games. The 8-7-1 Redskins outscored the opposition by 396-383, an average of one point per game. That’s good enough to sneak into the playoffs maybe but the quality teams in the playoffs outscore the opposition by 100 points or more. The point is that if the Redskins were a quality team this game against an uninspired Giants team would not have come down to a 44-yard bomb to a reserve WR and a pick with less than two minutes left.

There will be plenty of analysis of Kirk Cousins, that killer interception, and the rest of his season over the coming days and weeks. He did save one of his worst games of the season for last. How that should factor into what his next contract might look like remains to be seen. But did he put the team on his shoulders and carry the team through its most important game? Clearly not.

PHOTOS: GIANTS 19, REDSKINS 10

This offensive line is approaching what the team wants in terms of personnel and they did not get the job done today or two weeks ago against the Panthers. It is not the “impose your will” group that you want when it comes to running the football. Good defenses don’t just slow down the Redskins’ rushing attack, the slam the brakes on it. Add that to Cousins taking a season-high four sacks and it was a poor day for a unit that is supposed to be a strength of the team.

I like Josh Norman and I think he was a tremendous addition to the team. But he can’t pick up dumb personal foul penalties like he did in the first half. I get that his game works with emotion and if he squashed that he wouldn’t be as effective. Still, he has to be smarter.

Despite all that went wrong, the Redskins still had the Giants where they wanted them, backed up in their own territory in a tie game in the fourth quarter. But then Tavarres King, who had one reception for six yards on the season, took off down the sideline, got a step on Greg Toler, and hauled in Eli Manning’s pass to set up the game-winning field goal. Odell Beckham had five receptions for 44 yards but none really hurt. The Redskins were done in not by the all-world Beckham but by a little-used reserve.

MORE REDSKINS: Gruden still supports Cousins after devastating INT

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Dwayne Haskins has secured the starting job, now he wants to secure more authority

Dwayne Haskins has secured the starting job, now he wants to secure more authority

The Redskins' starting quarterback job now officially belongs to Dwayne Haskins.

Next up? The rookie wants take more ownership of and have more confidence in the offense he's being asked to direct for the next seven games.

In his first midweek turn at the team's podium in Ashburn, Haskins reflected on how he felt more at ease as his first start in Buffalo progressed. That's a comfort level he hopes grows starting with this Sunday's matchup versus the Jets.

"The more reps I got, the more rhythm I got with my eyes and my feet and being able to look at guys in the huddle and tell an All-Pro Brandon Scherff what the play is and have some authority behind it meant a lot for me," Haskins told reporters on Wednesday. "I feel like I'll continue to get better at that."

One thing Haskins has spoken of often, even going back to training camp this past summer, is wanting to play the position more with his instincts as opposed to instincts-after-thinking. It sounds like that process has begun, and with each contest, those instincts will kick in more and more.

That authority Haskins wants to have, though, doesn't just come from on-field performance. It's about how he behaves each day leading up to Sunday and the commitment he displays while preparing.

Those were things that apparently weren't being taken care of early on this year, but he certainly seems more aware of them now, which is quite encouraging.

"Everyone is watching what you're doing, how you handle yourself, how you walk in the building and how you walk into a meeting," he said. "That's all very important for the guys who want you to lead them."

So, the question now becomes how all of these factors — a deeper understanding of the offense, a more mature approach, the security that comes from knowing he's the No. 1 signal caller — influence Haskins' production. Can he show enough flashes from now until the end of the season for the Redskins to believe they can truly build around him?

Terry McLaurin, who's seen what a locked in Haskins can do firsthand, gave a terrific comparison for what that version of the QB looks like. And if No. 7 can get to where No. 17 has witnessed him get to before, then this final stretch of 2019 will be very fun.

"I kind of describe it as an elite shooter," McLaurin explained. "Ray Allen, any type of elite scorer in the NBA you can think of being in a zone. It's like, 'Man, it doesn't matter who's in front of him, what he's seeing, it's just the ball's going in.' I see that a lot out of Dwayne when he gets going, when he's confident."

Haskins, meanwhile, was more straightforward when it came to describing what he wants to get out of this next month and a half.

"I know I can play at a high level," he said, "So, I've just got to do it."

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Redskins will send scout to Colin Kaepernick workout

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Redskins will send scout to Colin Kaepernick workout

The Redskins will send a team representative to Colin Kaepernick's private workout on Saturday in Atlanta. The NFL set up the workout and a Redskins spokesperson said that it's expected most if not all of the league's teams will send somebody to the workout.

Kaepernick famously hasn't played since 2016, and in that time his protests became national news. He's also reached a settlement with the NFL about his absence from the league.

Looking ahead, even though the Redskins will attend the workout, it seems highly unlikely Washington would sign Kaepernick. On Monday, Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan installed rookie Dwayne Haskins as the team's starting quarterback for the rest of the season. At 1-8, It's arguably overdue for the Redskins to turn their offense over to the 15th overall pick, but now that it's finally happened, that leaves veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy as extra roster spots. 

Callahan said that the Redskins quarterback group does not need an addition. 

"Our situation is full at this juncture right now because of the two veteran quarterbacks we have along with Dwayne," the coach said Wednesday. "We have three on our roster where generally a lot of teams just carry two on their roster. We're really carrying one extra quarterback than most teams normally carry."

Of Kaepernick specifically, Callahan added, "We wish for the best for him."

Interestingly, the Redskins coaching staff has ties to Kaepernick. Washington offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell was an offensive assistant in San Francisco in 2016, Kaepernick's NFL last season. Also, Jim Tomsula was 49ers head coach in 2015.

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