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At quarterback for the Redskins it’s Cousins and question marks


At quarterback for the Redskins it’s Cousins and question marks

Over the next few weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2015, break down the current personnel situation and evaluate the unit's outlook for 2016. Previously, we took a look at the defensive line, offensive tackles, interior offensive line, wide receivers, running backs and tight ends. Today, it’s running backs.


Grade: A-

2015 starter: Kirk Cousins

Backups: Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III

Free agents: McCoy

Rewind: Did Cousins have a magical season? Or was it a pretty good half year that was built on the backs of a string of mostly mediocre opponents? Whether you viewed it optimistically or pessimistically, the results were pretty good as Cousins broke a few team passing records and led the team to a 9-7 record and the NFC East title.

He did this after spending OTAs and all of training camp as Griffin’s backup. After a bizarre incident in which Griffin was first cleared to play after suffering concussion only to have the independent neurologist reverse the decision, Cousins started the third preseason game against the Ravens. He played well and a few days later Jay Gruden announced that the Redskins were “Kirk’s team”.

Griffin’s fall from franchise savior hit rock bottom as he was active for just one game and didn’t take a snap. He handled the situation well, staying in the background and working to stay prepared if his number had been called.

The issue was at least as much about money as it was about Griffin's ability. Last May the team picked up his fifth-year option, which carried a salary of $16.1 million. The money was guaranteed only if Griffin suffered an injury that would cause him not to pass a physical at the end of the year. The organization was unwilling to risk an expense and a cap charge that big so Griffin was glued to the bench.

McCoy appeared in two games in mop up duty.

Fast forward: There are a couple of things we know about the Redskins’ 2016 quarterback situation. One is that Cousins will be behind center in Week 1. He signed his franchise tender and he is guaranteed nearly $20 million in salary. We will see how he performs with higher expectations and with defensive coordinators having a year of film on him.

We also know that Griffin will be playing elsewhere in 2016. That $16.1 million option becomes guaranteed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and there is no chance the Redskins will pay him that money to be a backup. There is a very slim chance for a trade; his release is more likely. He will move on to another team and the Redskins will start to get some evidence as to whether they made a mistake in making the megadeal to acquire him or if they goofed in letting him go.

McCoy will be a free agent on Wednesday. While the Redskins are interested in bringing him back McCoy may want to go somewhere that he has more of a chance to play.

If McCoy doesn’t return the Redskins will be in the market for two quarterbacks. They will need to sign a veteran to serve as a backup in 2016, perhaps someone like Matt Schaub or Charlie Whitehurst. It’s likely that they won’t use a top pick on a quarterback but anytime from round four on they might grab Dak Prescott of Mississippi or, perhaps a little later, Kevin Hogan of Stanford.

If McCoy is back they still will look to draft a QB. Unless Cousins has signed a long-term contract by draft day the Redskins will have to look at him as though he is on a one-year contract. If you’re not always looking for a successor at the most important position on the field you can find yourself in trouble quickly. 

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.


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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

USA Today

2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.

It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.

Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?


Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.

The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.

So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?

And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards. 

How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance?