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Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders

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Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders

Victor Cruz is going from being nice, feel-good story to being someone who is getting to be, well, annoying.

He was an undrafted free agent whose first attempt to make the Giants was lost due to injury. Last year he broke through in spectacular fashion, catching 82 passes for 1536 yards and nine touchdowns and the Giants won the Super Bowl.

But then, he decided that this one season was great enough for him to write a book about it. Then he filmed the soup commercials, which are aggravating no matter who does them (looking at you, Donovan). And now the salsa dance he does after scoring a touchdown has become a “thing” to the point where NBC piped the dance music they play at the stadium into our TV speakers after Cruz scored against the Packers Sunday night.

And now he thinks he is some sort of NFL personnel evaluator.

When New York reporters asked him if the Redskins were legitimate contenders for the playoffs, he said this:

They’re still a couple pieces away from actually being a contender, them being in legitimate talks for playoffs and things like that. They’re still a few pieces away whether it be defensively or wherever they are missing some pieces.

He did go on to say that the Redskins are “in the conversation” for the playoffs but apparently that talk is not “legitimate” in his eyes.

The Redskins, as anyone who watches them can see, are not a team without flaws. They do have some major holes. But Cruz really has no business judging whether or not the Redskins are a complete team. They beat his team twice last year and were within a minute and change of beating them again this year. If they are “a few pieces away” then one might conclude that the Giants are missing a few vital parts as well.

In fact, they are. New York won the Super Bowl last year with a sub-mediocre offensive line and with linebackers and defensive backs who wouldn’t be starters for many other NFL teams. They ranked 27th in yards allowed, 25th in points allowed, and were the only Super Bowl champs ever to be outscored during the regular season. Nobody is saying that they are not “legitimate” champions.

The 2012 Redskins are not the 2011 Giants but they are only one game out of the playoffs and one game behind where New York was after 11 games last year. Again, if the Redskins are not legitimate then you have to wonder if the Giants are.

I’m not sure why Cruz would choose to talk down his team’s upcoming opponent. One can only hope that his words come back to haunt him. Perhaps then he will go back to being the happy, humble guy who was such a great story a year ago.

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A lucky win for the Redskins? Or were Giants lucky to be in it?

A lucky win for the Redskins? Or were Giants lucky to be in it?

Giants guard Justin Pugh thinks the Redskins got lucky in their 29-27 win on Sunday.

I feel like we should have won that game,’’ Pugh said. “If they weren’t playing for the Redskins, they probably feel like they should have lost that game, too. We hurt ourselves with turnovers, penalties, everything you can do to lose a game today we did.’’

Perhaps the Giants should have won. But perhaps the Redskins should have won going away instead of having to sweat it out until Su’a Cravens’ interception with just over a minute left to play. Let’s add up the points the Redskins gave away during the game.

—The Redskins forced the Giants to go three and out on the first possession of the game, but Quinton Dunbar accidentally touched the ball and New York recovered. The play cost the Redskins seven points as the Giants drive down the short field to a touchdown.

—Josh Norman had both of his hands on a Eli Manning pass later in the first period but he couldn’t hold on to it. If he gets that pick the Giants don’t get a touchdown on the next play. Seven more points given away, 14 so far.

—A ticky-tack illegal contact foul on Cravens let the Giants covert a fourth and two in the second quarter. The drive ended with a New York touchdown run. That’s 21 net points the Redskins have lost to this point.

—Kirk Cousins had a brain cramp and didn’t get rid of the ball when he needed to from the six yard line at the end of the first half. The mistake could have cost the Redskins seven but we’ll go with three because a field goal from there was a certainty. So that’s 24 points the Redskins left on the table.

—In the third quarter it appeared to almost everybody that David Bruton had taken a ball away from Odell Beckham and should have had an interception. But the officials disagreed and the Giants kept the ball and kicked a field goal. So that makes a net of 27 points that should be in the Redskins favor.

I’m sure that Pugh can come up with a similar list for the Giants. But that is life in the NFL. The outcome of almost every game could swing on a handful of plays. The Redskins made theirs when the absolutely had to and the Giants did not.

MORE REDSKINS: BECKHAM GETS YARDS, BUT NORMAN GETS WIN

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MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

A veteran and a leader for the Redskins defense, it appears DeAngelo Hall's season is now finished just three games into 2016.

Hall injured his knee in the first half of Sunday's game against the Giants. The play looked bad in real time and Hall looked to be in much pain leaving the field.

Somewhat encouragingly, Hall was spotted on the sidelines after the play he was injured on, though Redskins PR announced the safety would not return to the game.

In the moments following Washington's dramatic win, Hall told the media he believed his ACL was torn, certainly putting a damper on the jubilant scene.

Beyond Hall, the Redskins are waiting for further diagnosis on starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland as well as offensive linemen Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger.

Assuming Hall misses significant time, the Redskins will be forced to juggle their secondary, especially if Breeland also misses time. When Hall went out in New York, veteran Will Blackmon picked up much of the slack and played well.

Going forward, defensive coordinator Joe Barry can also look to players like Duke Ihenacho or Deshazor Everett for help. Ihenacho is an experienced NFL safety while Everett showed in the preseason he's not just a special teams player but can play safety at the pro level.

Beyond Ihenacho and Everett, the Redskins may also consider some playing time for rookie Su'a Cravens in the secondary. Drafted as a hybrid linebacker/safety, Cravens made a big-time impact in the win over the Giants and has proven he needs to be on the field a lot for Barry's defense.

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE REDSKINS WIN OVER THE GIANTS