Redskins

Quick Links

OPEN THREAD: Just one game, or is the Redskins run game back?

usatsi_8928509.jpg

OPEN THREAD: Just one game, or is the Redskins run game back?

Remember the first month of the season when the Redskins controlled football games with a strong run game? It was an exciting time. 

After those first four games, however, Washington's run game imploded. Prior to Sunday's victory over New Orleans, the Redskins had been historically bad for four games running the ball. Less than 40 yards a game bad. 

And then, on a picturesque fall afternoon, everything clicked. The Redskins ran the ball up and down the field against the Saints as part of a potent and balanced offense en route to a 47-14 win. 

So what gives? Did the Redskins figure out their run woes? Or did Washington just take advantage of a very weak Saints defense?

MORE REDSKINS: PLAYOFFS? SERIOUSLY THOUGH, PLAYOFFS?

Here's what the key figures had to say after the win:

  • Jay Gruden: "It was excellent. It was good, and you notice that we didn’t have a lot of negative runs. We were stuck at second-and-seven, second-and-six, second-and-five – as opposed to second-and-10, so we were able to stick with it, and we were able to stick with our play-actions and we got our whole playbook basically."
  • Kirk Cousins: "I saw very good runs and breaking tackles and converting...I love seeing those guys make plays because they’re all really talented and they can help us.”
  • Matt Jones: "We came out and executed. It started with our offensive line. When our offensive line can get pushes like that off the ball on a great defensive line, we are capable of a lot.”
  • Alfred Morris: "We knew we could run and we stuck with it. We came out with a plan. We were able to control the clock and we were able to continue to get drives going early. When you do that, you can keep the ball on the ground as much as you can."
  • Trent Williams: "We controlled the game, so we’re able to stick with the running game and it took off.”

Moving forward, is the Redskins 213 rushing yards against the Saints an aberration? This is a team that struggled to get 50 yards on the ground for a month, then exploded against a bad defense that subsequently fired their defensive coordinator. More than 200 yards rushing should not be the expectation. Still, perhaps this is a game that can reestablish the run game, and more importantly, the Redskins commitment to the ground game. 

Up next, a stout defense in the the Carolina Panthers. Will the Redskins be able to run the ball in Charlotte? Or, perhaps as vital, will Gruden continue to try?

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

Quick Links

Redskins running back Bryce Love is headed for another knee surgery, per sources

Redskins running back Bryce Love is headed for another knee surgery, per sources

Redskins rookie running back Bryce Love is expected to undergo another surgery on his previously injured right knee on Tuesday, sources tell NBC Sports Washington.

Love, currently in Pensacola, Fla., to see famed knee surgeon Dr. James Andrews, tore his right ACL last December while he was a senior at Stanford University. The Redskins selected Love in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft but he has yet to play this season. He landed on the Physically Unable to Perform list before training camp opened and many believed the 2019 season would be lost for the runner. 

Asked about Love’s status last week, Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan was non-committal. 

“We’ll just see where he’s at,” Callahan said. “He’s still in the rehabilitation process.”

Love's injury-riddled 2018 season really damaged his standing in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a junior at Stanford in 2017, Love rushed for more than 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. He averaged an absurd 8.1 yards-per-carry that year. 

Many expected Love to turn pro after his junior year, but he elected to stay at Stanford. Playing on a worse team as a senior, Love was not as explosive even before the knee injury and his stats dropped. In 10 games, he had 739 rush yards but his YPC dipped to 4.5, the lowest of his four-year career and the only time his average fell even below 7. 

That decision and the subsequent torn ACL probably cost him significantly in draft status. 

Moving forward, it’s unclear what Love’s rehab schedule will look like. NFL Network reported back in April that some teams had concerns over Love's injury and lingering knee stiffness. One source explained that Love's medicals from the NFL Scouting Combine revealed that some doctors believed another surgery would be necessary. 

Even without Love, the Redskins have other injury concerns at running back. Derrius Guice is on injured reserve but on track to return to the team after their Week 10 bye. Adrian Peterson hurt his ankle in a loss to the 49ers and his status is unknown. Chris Thompson is dealing with turf toe. 

As a player on the PUP list, Love became eligible to return to practice after the Redskins' win in Miami. He does not have to play or practice all year, though, and can remain on the PUP for the entire season. The Redskins retain his rights for four years on his rookie contract. 

A Redskins spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Landon Collins: 'You never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting'

Landon Collins: 'You never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting'

Kirk Cousins started 57 games during six seasons with the Redskins and, well, um, it's hard to come up with one word to describe his time in Washington. 

There were certainly highs, none higher than the hot streak Cousins went on late in 2015 to capture an NFC East title. The Redskins closed that season on a four-game win streak where Cousins threw 12 touchdowns against just one interception. 

There were also lows. In Week 17 of 2016, the Redskins needed a win in the season finale to get in the playoffs while the Giants had already clinched the NFC East title. The Redskins had everything to play for, the Giants ended up resting a number of their starters. Still, the Redskins lost, and Cousins threw a dagger interception late in the game to seal their fate. For the game, Cousins finished with 287 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but the pick to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was the season killer. 

The point here is not to drag Cousins. He was the most durable and most stable quarterback the Redskins have had in decades. He never got hurt, and while he turned the ball over, he could deliver downfield strikes and run the team's offense at all times. 

The point here is to say Cousins is not always the most consistent QB, and that's backed up by Redskins safety Landon Collins.

"Like I was with the Giants, you never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting. Right now they're getting Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins over there," Collins said on Monday.

Collins faced Cousins plenty of times when the safety played for the Giants, and New York found plenty of success against the quarterback. In nine career games against the Giants, all as QB of the Redskins, Cousins threw 12 interceptions. 

So when Collins talks about slowing Cousins down, it's not from a hypothetical place. 

"Pressure. Pressure. When I was with the Giants, I know we put a lot of pressure on him, put a lot of guys in his face, a lot of blitzes, lot of different systematic fronts and stuff like that, disguises," the Redskins safety said. 

Cousins will come into Thursday's game against the Redskins on fire. He's thrown 10 TDs against just one INT in the Vikings last three games, all wins. In Detroit on Sunday, Cousins went for more than 300 yards passing with four touchdowns and wasn't sacked once. 

"Right now he's playing like a Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins," Collins said. "We would say at the Giants, 'You don't know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're going to get.' Right now they're getting Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins, and he's playing at a high level right now."

At 1-6 the Redskins defense doesn't scare anybody. The team has had some success upfront, however, causing pressures and getting to passers. Washington has 16 sacks on the season and the front five has gotten things going after a very slow start.  

Cousins isn't unique. Pressure causes turnovers for defenses. Players on both side of the football know that, and that's what Collins want to see in Minnesota against Cousins.

"That's the biggest game plan: try to force him into mistakes. Right now he's playing at a high level, so it's going to be hard. He's playing against a lot of good teams and he's been going against a good defense. That's probably made his skill level and his play much better."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: