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Redskins fans need to get used to seeing Cousins behind center


Redskins fans need to get used to seeing Cousins behind center

Redskins fans should get used to seeing No. 8 behind center for their team.

Even before yesterday’s win over the Bills there was a media report that the team wants to lock up Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal sooner rather than later and that the organization would be willing to use the franchise tag on him if necessary.

If the Redskins do decide to use the tag, the non-exclusive variety of that would pay Cousins over $19 million in 2016. Even the most ardent supporters of Jay Gruden’s decision to say, “It’s Kirk’s team” back in August would have had trouble saying that Cousins would be a near-$20 million quarterback.

Chances are that Cousins will end up making less than that on an annual basis but the Redskins will do what they have to do to lock him up. A deal likely will tie Cousins to the Redskins for at least two years and would guarantee Cousins something well north of the $19 million he would get with that franchise tag.

There are those who want to pump the brakes on bringing back Cousins, saying that the Redskins have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record this year with Cousins under center. That’s true but their opportunities to win such games have been extremely limited. they only had three such games on their schedule this year and they played the Patriots, Panthers, and Jets on the road. In fact, there are only 11 teams in the NFL that possess a winning record.

Let’s get some perspective here. Many of the same people who are preaching fiscal restraint with Cousins would have been happy to throw $20 million or more at Robert Griffin III after his 2012 rookie season. But the Redskins won just one game against a winning team that Griffin started and finished. That was against the 9-7 Giants at FedEx Field. The Redskins did beat the 10-6 Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl, at FedEx Field but Cousins came in for an injured Griffin and completed the tying drive, scoring the two-point conversion on a QB draw.

The point here is not to denigrate Griffin’s 2012 season. It was a great, magical year. It’s just to point out that the standard sometimes changes depending on the preconceived notions that some people hold.

One thing we are no longer hearing much from Cousins’ detractors is that he is a turnover machine and that the tendency to throw interceptions was ingrained in his DNA. The criticism looked valid through the first six games of this season. At that point he had 27 interceptions in 20 career games.

Since then, starting with the comeback win over the Bucs in Week 7, he has thrown just three interceptions in nine games.

Again, get used to seeing No. 8 behind center. He’s not elite, he’s not perfect but if the team around him improves the Redskins will be able to win with them. Given that there are more NFL teams than there are quarterbacks they can win with, the laws of supply and demand will dictate at least a couple of years’ worth of hefty paydays for Cousins. 

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Expect Redskins to bring back Trey Quinn next week as Jamison Crowder's status remains unclear

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Expect Redskins to bring back Trey Quinn next week as Jamison Crowder's status remains unclear

The Redskins need help at wide receiver, and while head coach Jay Gruden allowed a potential trade might bolster the group, the return of rookie Trey Quinn might do the same. 

Quinn landed on the injured reserve after the season opener in Arizona when he injured his ankle on a punt return. The IR designation means Quinn must miss eight weeks of action but can return after that period. 

"We’ll get Trey Quinn back here pretty soon," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Quinn could be back as early as Week 9 against Atlanta, and it sounds like Gruden expects to see him then.

A record setter at SMU and the final pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Quinn's return could immediately help the Redskins at their inside slot receiver position. Jamison Crowder has missed the last two games for Washington, and reports say he could miss a few more weeks. 

Of the trio of injured Redskins skill players, Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, and Crowder, Gruden said the slot WR has "probably got the furthest to go" before he can return from injury. Last week, Crowder was spotted in the Redskins practice facility riding a scooter and with a boot on his ankle. 

With Crowder out an elongated period of time, Quinn could step right in. Both on the smaller side and more quick than fast, Quinn is best suited to play the inside receiver position and can also return punts.

Asked if Quinn is a natural fit to fill in for Crowder, Gruden replied, "exactly right."

Fellow rookie receiver Cam Sims also landed on the IR after Week 1, but Gruden did not indicate that he would be brought back on the same timeline as Quinn. 

"We’ll probably just take one of them. Right now I think Trey is probably closer to returning than Cam ."

NFL rules stipulate that the team can bring only two players back from the injured reserve over the course of a season. So if the 'Skins bring back Quinn as soon as he is eligible next week, it makes sense for the organization to wait before using their final retrievable IR slot on another wide receiver.

Gruden's comments make two things clear: The organization sees Quinn back on the 53-man roster ASAP, and Crowder's return seems to be a serious question mark. 

Washington also seems likely to have a roster spot for Quinn next week. Special teams ace Jehu Chesson has already been up and down on the Redskins roster twice, and it would be little surprise if Quinn's return means Chesson gets released. Should that happen, Washington might again try to bring Chesson back to their practice squad. 



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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.