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Need to Know: Redskins' third-quarter woes have faded away

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Need to Know: Redskins' third-quarter woes have faded away

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 17, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Carolina Panthers.

Final thoughts following Redskins 47, Saints 14

—I can accept fans and media saying that Kirk Cousins has not yet proven that he is a franchise quarterback. In fact, I tend to agree with them. But I don’t get those who can look at Sunday’s game and at the comeback win over the Bucs and still say he will never be a quality quarterback. Yes, I get that the Saints defense is bad and that the Bucs are a mediocre team. But the Redskins have played hundreds of games against bad teams over the years and a quarterback has never posted a perfect passer rating or led a comeback from 24 down. Such performances have signature significance.

—Meet your new starting safety, ladies and gentlemen. Rookie Kyshoen Jarrett played 37 of the 58 defensive snaps. Sometimes he played near the line as a strong safety, at other times Dashon Goldson was in the box and Jarrett was lined up in the middle deep like a free safety. Jeron Johnson played 20 snaps at safety. Trenton Robinson, who played virtually every snap of the first seven games at safety, didn’t get on the field for a single defensive play.

—It was good to see Alfred Morris get going, gaining 92 yards on 15 carries and catching three passes (!) for 15 yards. I doubt that he will be back next year but it will be better for all if he can make a strong case for himself to get a solid free agent contract on a team that emphasizes zone running. He wasn’t going to do that going into the line, finding no running room, and averaging less than two yards per carry.

—If you don’t like hearing about playoff tiebreakers in mid-November, skip this item. One thing that the Redskins have going for them is that three of their losses are to AFC teams. They have just two NFC losses while the Giants and Eagles have four each. Conference record is fourth in the tiebreaking priority after head-to-head, division record, and record in common games. So, as Bill Murray said, they have that going for them.

—Hey, remember a long time ago, like about a month or so, when there was major hand wringing over the Redskins getting outscored in the third quarter? The storyline was that the coaches weren’t making halftime adjustments or getting the players fired up and they were coming out flat. Well, I guess that the coaches stopped texting their buddies and checking on how their fantasy lineups were doing at halftime and started making adjustments. In the last three games the Redskins have outscored their opponents 24-3. It’s also possible that they’re not doing anything different and the performance is simply reverting to the mean, but that isn’t as good a story.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 5; Giants @ Redskins 13; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 21

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.

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