Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 4, 33 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 25
—NFL Draft (4/27) 82
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 218
The Redskins week that was
Crazy finish at the Pro Bowl for Kirk Cousins—By now you’ve seen Kirk Cousins chase down Aquib Talib to knock the ball out after he threw an interception late in the game. Was it great hustle to be cheered or a dangerous and unnecessary play that a pending free agent who has a hundred million bucks or so on the line just should not make? I think it’s both but I do know one thing—we haven’t seen a Redskins defender chase down a ball carrier and successfully execute a classic chop like that in years. Maybe if Cousins comes back he can spend a little time showing the defense how it’s done.
Is Gruden really on the hot seat in 2017?—We keep hearing about this but there is nothing coming out of Redskins Park that this is a “win or else” season for Jay Gruden. If the Redskins collapse and go, say, 5-11 things could get uncomfortable, assuming there is no big, apparent issue like Kirk Cousins not being behind center. But one thing to consider is the fact that Dan Snyder has not let go of a coach following a season of less than double-digit losses since he fired Marty Schottenheimer in 2001 after going 8-8. Snyder is not anxious to get back on the coaching carousel.
Assessing five Redskins mock draft selections—When I did this, I dismissed the idea that Ohio State safety Malik Hooker would be available when the Redskins are on the clock with pick No. 17. But then a couple of days later news that Hooker has undergone two surgeries, one to repair a torn labrum and another to fix a hernia. Will that push his draft stock down to where the Redskins would have a shot at him? And, if he is there, will they want him or be concerned that he is damaged goods? In any case, it just goes to show you that there is no point is getting too locked in on the draft at this point. A lot will happen between now and April 27.
With John Lynch now GM, does 49ers interest in Kirk Cousins change?—I don’t think that Cousins is going anywhere but if he does go to the 49ers the No. 2 overall pick will not be part of the package. Sure, the Vikings gave up a No. 1 pick for Sam Bradford. But Minnesota thought the pick would be in the twenties after they made the playoffs and it turned out to be No. 15. But even that pick is not close to the No. 2 pick in terms of value. Per the draft pick trade chart, it would take two No. 15 overall picks plus an early second-round pick to equal the point value of pick No. 2. It’s hard to see that happening even if the Redskins do agree to deal Cousins away.
The numbers are in: The 2016 Redskins faced a very tough schedule—Were the Redskins substantially better last year than then were in 2015 despite finishing a half game worse and missing the playoffs? It’s possible to say that they were considering that they played a fairly soft schedule two seasons ago and one of the toughest slates in the league in ’16, especially in terms of opposing defenses. I get that you are what your record says you are. But you can’t ignore strength of schedule when it comes to evaluating a team’s season.
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