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Redskins have plenty of “what ifs” to ponder after loss to Patriots

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Redskins have plenty of “what ifs” to ponder after loss to Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA—You can play the “what if” game for a while when looking at the Redskins vs. the Patriots.

—What if Pierre Garçon had caught that first pass from Kirk Cousins rather than it bouncing off of his hands and into the hands of a Patriots defender? The Redskins had just gotten a takeaway and it looked like the play was going to be a solid gain. Maybe they move down the field and score, tying the game and showing the Patriots that the Redskins were not going to go away easily. Instead, New England gets the pick, they move in for a touchdown and it’s 14-0 in the first quarter.

—What if Keenan Robinson had been able to get around Tom Brady and return his first-quarter interception for a touchdown? That also would have sent a message that the Redskins were going to hang around all afternoon.

—What if the Redskins had managed to push the ball into the end zone at the end of the first half instead of settling for a field goal? They got the second half kickoff and a pair of touchdowns would have made it 17-14 in the third quarter.

—What if Matt Jones had not fumbled to end their initial possession of the first half? That was a promising drive in progress, one that would have made it a one-score game if the Redskins gone into the end zone.

MORE REDSKINS: NEEDING PERFECTION, REDSKINS DROP CHANCE TO WIN VS PATRIOTS

But the main “what if” happened in 2000. What if another team had decided to draft Tom Brady before the Patriots took him in the fifth round. Bill Belichick is an outstanding coach, the Patriots have some talented players. But they were banged up on both sides of the ball, lost their best running back in the second half, and didn’t get a whole lot out of All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski. It was Brady, completing 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns who made the difference.

The Redskins did some things well. When his receivers were catching the ball Kirk Cousins had an OK day, throwing some nice passes, making no mistakes (his only interception was the ball that Garçon should have caught), and mostly staying upright in the pocket. After a rocky start the defense settled in and they ended up holding the Patriots to their lowest point total of the year.

The Redskins won’t dwell on the “what ifs”. They can’t, they have yet another must-win game coming up, this one against the Saints. They are better than they were last year but it would be a mistake to think that they are just a bounce here and a well-timed score there from being with the elite teams in the league.

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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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