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The Basics: Cousins leads comeback

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The Basics: Cousins leads comeback

CHICAGO--In summary: Reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins directed a late comeback Saturday night at Soldier Field. But their bid to stun the Bears came up just short when Robbie Goulds 57-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with 31 seconds remaining, sealing Chicagos 33-31 victory.Cousins, though, was the feel-good story on a night that left the Redskins hoping for the best with regard to a pair of key defensive players.Cousins, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs and had more than a dozen friends and family members in the crowd, torched the team he cheered as a youngster. The rookie out of Michigan State played the entire second half, connecting on 18 of 23 attempts for 264 yards, tossing touchdowns to Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe.Cousins passer rating was 154.1, just slightly below a perfect mark of 158.3, while facing the Bears second and third string defenses.It was a good performance, but again, it was great play calls, guys making plays, Cousins said. I just saw the open guy and they made it happen.Injury update: It appears that both linebacker Brian Orakpo (left pectoral muscle) and safety Brandon Meriweather (left knee) will be further evaluated Sunday morning.Orakpo said the injury was to the same muscle he injured in the season finale last season.Its a little scar tissue, we hope, Orakpo said. I dont think its too serious at all. But we just have to play it by ear, get an MRI in the morning and see how it goes. It felt something that was very uncomfortable.Meriweather was less forthcoming about his status.Im okay, he said. Well see.Shanahan said Meriweather also will get an MRI on Sunday.Another safety, DeJon Gomes, was seen exiting the building wearing a boot on his left ankle.Defensive line Kedric Golston was held out with an elbow injury, Shanahan said.London ailing? On Thursday, linebacker London Fletcher did not practice and Shanahan said he wasnt feeling well. On Saturday night, Fletcher did not suit up and after the game Shanahan danced around the subject.Im not exactly sure why, Shanahan said. But any time London saud hes not feeling very good, then you know something is wrong. Hopefully he will feel better this week.Play of the game: Brandon Banks needed a big performance and the smallish playmaker delivered. He returned a punt in the second quarter 91 yards for a touchdown, cutting from he left hashes to the right sideline, then turning on the afterburners.Banks did not, however, line up at wide receiver.I was going to fair catch it, but David Jones a good job at the gunner spot holding his guy, Banks said. I seen daylight and open field and it was off to the races.By the numbers: Safety Madieu Williams made a team-high six tackles and defended a pass in two quarters of play.Breakthrough performances: Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe are among a group of five receivers fighting for the final two wide receiver positions. Both were on the receiving end of touchdown passes from Cousins.He made a couple of great catches, Shanahan said of Briscoe, who finished with three receptions for 51 yards. Thats what you want.Robinson, meantime, made six receptions for 104 yards.My bad: Rookie Alfred Morris said he missed a block on the play where Robert Griffin III was stripped on the ball by Israel Idonije.I dont like people touching my quarterback, Morris said. That was on me. I take full responsibility.Quotable: I think all of starters wanted to go back in the second half after the half we had, Griffin said. We didnt play bad. We didnt play good either.Kicking battle finally begins, sort of: Neither kicker attempted a field goal in Buffalo, but Saturday Neil Rackers got two opportunities. He was 1 for 2, connecting from 28 yards and missing from 54.Graham Gano, however, still has not had a chance to kick a field goal.On the mend: Tackle Trent Williams said he did not have any adverse effects from the bone bruise he suffered last week in Buffalo. Guard Maurice Hurt also played after being limited in practice.Guard Chris Chester, though, did not play and was seen on the sideline, walking slowly with a slight hitch in his step.Did not play: Jonathan Crompton, Rex Grossman, Anthony Armstrong, Roy Helu Jr., Morgan Trent, Markus White, Fletcher, Jordan Black, Nick Martinez, Golston, Chester, Chris Campbell, Marlon Favorite, Richard Quinn, Lance Lewis, Beau Reliford and Kentwan Balmer.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

ASHBURN, VA—Here is a look at what Jay Gruden covered in his Monday news conference after the Redskins’ win over the Giants.

—We hit on some of the major injury news but there is the complete list: “DeAngelo [Hall], torn ACL, has surgery – he’ll be out for the season. [Bashaud] Breeland, he got an MRI, he has strained tendons in his ankle – he’ll be week to week. Shawn Lauvao has a moderate ankle sprain, we’re going to evaluate him on a week-to-week basis. [Kory] Lichtensteiger has a moderate calf strain, again, week-to-week. [Josh] Doctson went out to pregame warmup and could not push off the way he wanted to, his Achilles was too sore, so we’ve just got to continue to treat him and figure out the roots of the problem and try to get it fixed. DeSean Jackson aggravated his knee and ankle, came back and finished the game. And [Dashaun] Phillips has a hamstring strain. That is it.”

—Gruden said that the loss of a veteran leader like Hall was a big one. “It’s a lot. He’s a captain, you know? He’s coming along, playing a lot better and better at safety, so it’s pretty significant.”

—He tried to sell the 0-3 Browns as a big threat but he wasn’t very convincing. “It’s a tough opponent, very good coaching staff, and got a lot of work to do.”

—Kirk Cousins was pretty good according to the coach but they need to get touchdowns in the red zone. “We tried a quarterback draw one time and we missed the hole a little bit. Had a couple throws that were covered, just couldn’t get it done. Can’t put a finger on one person in that area. It’s not all on Kirk,”

—Going into it, Gruden was about as confident as a coach could be on the fake punt play in the third quarter. “We did it in practice and Tress Way has a great arm – very accurate. Coaching staff on the special teams side of it saw that it was a possibility. We practiced it. He caught it every time but the first day in the walkthrough.”

—A majority of those in the press box plus the TV broadcast crew all thought that David Bruton had made a spectacular interception when he ripped the ball away from Odell Beckham in the end zone. So did Gruden. “I’ve heard that everybody says it was an interception except for the replay guy. I don’t know what the rule is. We just have got to live by it. I thought his elbow was down, I thought his butt was down, I thought he had control of the ball.” Gruden admitted that, like most of us, he doesn’t know what a catch is.

—The Redskins aren’t thinking about cranking out another winning streak like the one late last year that got them into the playoffs. “Yeah, I think the only thing you can do is… the ultimate clich√© is take it one game at a time. That’s the only thing can do. You can’t look ahead.”

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Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Facing multiple injuries, all options on table for Redskins O-line, including Trent Williams at guard.

For the second year in a row Redskins left guard Shawn Lauvao got injured playing against the New York Giants in Week 3. Lauvao's injury, combined with an injury to center Kory Lichtensteiger, left the Washington offensive line in disrepair. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that both offensive linemen are now on a week to week basis, and it sounds quite possible neither player will go next week against Cleveland. The coach called both injuries "moderate" - ankle sprain for Lauvao and calf strain for Lichtensteiger. 

The injuries mean the 'Skins are likely to bring in new linemen, particularly at center. 

"We're going to have to," Gruden said when asked about new help for the line. 

Once Lauvao and Lichtensteiger were injured in the Giants game, Gruden was forced to try an interesting combination. Veteran left tackle Trent Williams slid down to guard and Ty Nsekhe took over for Williams at tackle.

Importantly for the 'Skins, the results weren't bad.  

"He's so good at tackle but he actually played pretty darn good at guard," Gruden said of Williams. 

"He's a great athlete, probably be a good center too," the coach joked. 

MORE REDSKINS: NEXT MAN UP IS ROOKIE IN WASHINGTON

But Williams playing more guard should not be laughed at. The Redskins showed some of their best run game of the season late in the win against New York with Williams lined up next to Nsekhe.

Further, the coaching staff has repeatedly talked about how much they like Nsekhe as a tackle but that there was no spot for him with Williams and Morgan Moses healthy. As unusual as it sounds, with Williams at guard allows Nsekhe to get on the field at tackle. 

The Redskins do have another option in house: Arie Kouandjio. In his second year out of Alabama, Kouandjio has the size needed to play guard, but he is yet to be active on gameday this season and has been considered more of a development project than a player that is ready to roll. 

If Kouandjio is ready, he can play left guard and Williams stays in his normal spot at left tackle, protecting Kirk Cousins' blind side. 

"We'll just have to evaluate that situation and see how it goes, see how Arie does at left guard," Gruden said. "Ty is an excellent player, there's no question about it, but to move your Pro Bowl left tackle out of the mix to guard is something that's a little unique and hard to do."

Scot McCloughan made some strong moves last season bringing in players as injuries impacted the Redskins. Looks like the GM will again have that opportunity, this time on the offensive line.