Four days after redeeming himself in the final seconds by making the first of his four field goal attempts, Billy Cundiff said he received a number of supportive text messages from former teammates and coaches in the hours following the Redskins' 24-22 victory in Tampa.Everybody said the same thing: 'Its not how you start, its how you finish, Cundiff said Wednesday. They were all proud of how things ended up.The biggest show of support, though, came from his own coach. On Monday, Mike Shanahan said he did not intend bring in a free agent kicker in to challenge Cundiff, who missed kicks of 41, 57 and 31, respectively, before making a 41-yarder in the final seconds to clinch a 24-22 victory over the Buccaneers.You have to experience failure in the league in order to know how to bounce back from it, Cundiff said. I kept saying, Thank you God for giving me a chance to go out there and prove that the other kicks were just a fluke. As I told special teams Coach Danny Smith, I was going to make that kick even if I had to throw it through the uprights. It was going to go in.After the game, Cundiff hinted that he was still searching for chemistry with long snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca. As a result, Cundiff views the next four days of practice as critical. I dont think the issue really was dealing with pressure, Cundiff said of the misses. Its just trying to get as consistent as possible with the current situation that we have. Thats the big thing and thats what well continue to pound home in practice just trying to get more consistent and making sure that theres not these lulls, like having a game where you go 4 for 4 and a game where youre 1 for 4. We need to make sure that every time we go out there, we can be counted on.
Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.
Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.
Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards.
The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.
Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.
It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade.
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The Redskins have made official some coaching staff changes that have been reported over the last few days.
The team announced that they have filled both coordinator jobs with internal hires. Outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky is the new defensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is now the offensive coordinator.
The team also announced the hiring of two assistant coaches, one on each side of the ball. Kevin O’Connell will replace Cavanaugh as the QB coach and Jim Tomsula will coach the defensive line.
Tomsula was the 49ers head coach in 2015. He was fired after that one season after posting a 5-11 record. But it was his eight seasons as defensive line coach in San Francisco that the Redskins care about. Tomsula did a solid job there, working under Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, and Jim Harbaugh. He also was the defensive line coach under Manusky when he was the defensive coordinator in San Francisco.
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He is known as a fiery motivator, something that will work well with Manusky’s similar style. The line was one of the weakest areas of the defense last year. They are likely to add some talent to the line this offseason and Tomsula is a good choice to coach them up.
The Redskins still need a defensive backs coach. They have a strong in-house candidate in Aubrey Pleasant and now attention will turn to getting a deal for him. It remains to be seen if they will fill Manusky’s former job or if current inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti will add the outside backers to his responsibilities.