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The Basics: Stunner in the Superdome

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The Basics: Stunner in the Superdome

In summary:AsRobert Griffin IIIaddressed the media following Sundays 40-32 upset of the Saints, the Redskins rookie held a football his hands.Players dont normally bring balls to the podium. But Griffin didnt want to let this one out of his sight. This ball was special.It was the same one he threw toPierre Garonfor an 88-yard touchdown in the first quarter. That pass not only marked the first touchdown of Griffins career, just as important, it staked the Redskins to a lead they would not relinquish while hushing a boisterous crowd that had come to Superdome expecting a very different outcome.My first touchdown in the NFL, Griffin said, beaming.The touchdown pass to Garon was the seventh of eight consecutive completions to start the game for Griffin. In a lot ways, the missile he fired over the middle of the field also was a sign of things to come.Asked if his debut could have gone any better, Griffin revealed the perfectionist side of his personality that coaches and teammates hinted at throughout the preseason.We could have scored a few more points, he said. Nothing is every perfect; there are some plays I wish I could have back. Falling down on a keeper, fumbling in the red zone when he we had an guy open for a touchdown. Im not going to be a Debbie Downer. We won the game, so Im going to be happy about that.Enough about Griffin for the moment, though. (If you indeed want more, click here for my instant analysis of the game and here for Rich Tandlers breakdown of Griffins outing and where it fits historically.)Here are some other items of interest from todays stunner at the Superdome:Griffin, unplugged:Asked about his preparation, Griffin said he accidentally left his cell phone at home in Ashburn, allowing him to focus on the game and not field calls from the dozens of friends and family members who attended the game.My mind was really clear going into this game, he said. I just sat in my room and watched some TV, had time to think about things.Garon hobbled:Griffins top target did not play after scoring the touchdown. Its unclear how he was injured, but he said it happened on the scoring play, possibly when Saints corner back Patrick Robinson attempted a low, diving tackle from behind near the goal line and struck the top of his right foot.I should be good to go next week and be ready for St. Louis, Garcon said. Garcon added later that tests revealed he did not suffer a break.Third string safety Jordan Bernstine suffered a serious right knee injury in the fourth quarter. More could be known later this week.Sundbergs heroics:Long snapper Nick Sundberg suffered a broken left forearm on the blocked punt the Saints returned for a touchdown. Sundberg, however, returned to the game and made nine more snaps on field goals and punts.In high school, I broke the same bone, said Sundberg, adding that it was snapped by a Saints helmet. So I knew right away when it happened that it was broken. Were going to evaluate it this week. I dont want to sit out but ultimately its up to the coaching staff and how everything turns out once all the adrenaline goes away.Offensive play of the game:Garons 88-yard touchdown reception. On first and 10 and needing an answer to Jimmy Grahams touchdown moments earlier, the powerful receiver cut to the middle, then found himself alone in space when two Saints defensive backs collided. The official stats say Griffin threw the ball 16 yards and Garon did the rest.We just got lucky; they got out of position, Garon said. Robert threw a great ball and did my best to get in the end zone. The end zone looked like it was far. Looked at the screen a couple of times and was like, Gosh.Griffin added: One thing receivers dont want to do is run across the middle for a long period of time. I commend him for that.Defensive play of the game:With the Redskins clinging to a 33-25 lead after a touchdown and two point conversion by the Saints in the fourth quarter, DeJon Gomes cut in front of wide receiver Lance Moore and intercepted Drew Brees risky deep pass.Gomes then returned the ball, zigzagging across the field 49 yards to the New Orleans three-yard line. Alfred Morris punched the ball in one play later.Pass of the afternoon:In the second quarter, Griffin was flushed out of the pocket to left. Then he eluded Malcolm Jenkins, sprinted to the right and found tight end Fred Davis along the sidelined for a 26-yard completion.He made so many huge plays, the off-schedule plays, where the play breaks down a little but hes able to roll out of the pocket, buy some time, linebacker London Fletcher said. You see the poise and talent.By the numbers:Kicker Billy Cundiff was 4 for 4 on field goals, connecting from 37, 41, 37, and 45. He also booted six touchbacks, including one that hit the top part of the upright. Asked if that was his longest, it wasnt. He said he put one into the stands in Dallas a few years ago.Quotable:Wide receiver Josh Morgan on Griffin: Im real proud of the way hes just taking over the team. Hes making changes himself, kind of anticipating things. Thats what exciting for us as an offense, when you quarterback gets that type of confidence and that type of comfort. The sky is the limit because then he can start calling the plays himself.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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