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Grading the Redskins: Defense 'manned' up in clutch

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Grading the Redskins: Defense 'manned' up in clutch

Defense

Grade vs. Giants: B

Comment: For the first 30 minutes Monday, Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense had its way at FedEx Field. The visitors converted 8 of 10 third downs, outgained Washington 273 yards to 156 and dominated time of possession.

Then the Redskins regrouped at halftime.

“We changed up what we were doing third down-wise,” said defensive captain London Fletcher, who finished with a game-high 12 tackles. “We came with a different type of coverage, brought some pressure, allowed [linebacker] Rob Jackson to rush a little bit more, and he was able to get a sack and a holding penalty.” 

Indeed, Jim Haslett’s adjustments – and timely plays at critical moments – made all of the difference. Jackson’s fourth quarter sack of Manning, for instance, came on a third down and prevented the Giants from immediately answering Pierre Garçon’s go-ahead touchdown. It was the only sack for a Redskins’ pass rush that struggled most of the night. But it ignited the crowd of 80,246 and changed the game’s momentum.

The Giants converted only 1 of 7 third downs in the final two quarters, and were limited to three points. They punted on three of their four drives. 

Overall, though, the numbers weren’t especially pretty for Haslett’s unit. It yielded 390 yards, including 117 on the ground. But the numbers didn't bother cornerback Josh Wilson afterward.

“You don’t win games by getting a lot of yards. You win games by getting points,” Wilson said. "At the end of the day, it’s about putting points on the board. And when they got down there, we manned up and stopped them. You guys can go calculate the stats, we’re going to go calculate the wins.”

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Redskins will try in-house options to replace Galette

Redskins will try in-house options to replace Galette

RICHMOND—The Redskins are going to go with the younger players on the roster to fill the void left when outside linebacker Junior Galette went out for the season with a torn Achilles. At least that is the plan for now, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Gruden tried to make it clear that the team was not down about the loss of Galette except for feeling bad for the player as a person.

We're upset, obviously, more so for him as an individual,” said Gruden. “Just watching him work, getting ready from the previous injury, how hard he was training, the attitude he came into the building with and the excitement that he was going to bring to this football team only to see it cut short with another Achilles, I'm devastated . . . for him.”

But Gruden said that the organization is taking the proverbial “next man up” approach.

“As far as this football team, injuries are part of the game,” he said. “We have to rebound. We have Ryan Kerrigan, we still have Preston Smith, we have Lyndon Trail, we have some young guys, Houston Bates. They're going to have to fill the void that he so-called would have filled for us. We still have some good pass rushers in here who are going to produce.”

What about the possibility of converting Trent Murphy, who moved from outside linebacker to the defensive line this offseason, back to a linebacker?

“That could happen,” said Gruden. “But there's so much nickel pass rush nowadays, the amount of time we're in a true 3-4 alignment is very slim, about 30 percent now. We have guys that can fill that void, we want to keep Trent inside for now to play defensive end in our nickel and our sub packages.”

In other words, they aren’t going to make any major moves until they have a good idea of what they have in house.

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Gruden says focus with Kirk Cousins is on football, not contracts

Gruden says focus with Kirk Cousins is on football, not contracts

RICHMOND - Talking for the first time since both sides did not reach a long-term deal, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he and Kirk Cousins will focus on football, not contracts.

"The contract will take care of itself," Gruden said Wednesday from the Redskins training camp facility.

"We won't have any conversations about the contract, any of his future contracts, any of that stuff. All we're going to focus on is this year and him getting better and being the best quarterback he can possibly be."

Earlier this year, Cousins signed the franchise tag offer from the Redskins, a one-year deal that will pay him nearly $20 million for the 2016 season. The club had until July 15 to work on a long-term deal with their quarterback, but none was reached. Reports showed the sides to be quite far apart in negotiations, but Gruden does not expect the negotiations to have any impact on the season.

Gruden said he knows Cousins intends to focus just on football now that the team is in camp, and with it, heightended expectations.

"He's a great football player, made great strides last year," the coach said of his QB. "We're all excited about it but he's got to continue that progress."

Cousins made significant progress in 2015. Named the Redskins starter in August, Cousins relatively average first half of the season was more than eclipsed by his second half. The Redskins finished the season on a four-game win streak to claim the NFC East title, while the team scored at least 34 points in each of their last three regular season games. Along the way, Cousins 4,166 passing yards set a new franchise record.

Despite the strong finish to 2015, some believe the lack of a long-term deal means questions remain for Cousins.

"He's got a year out of film, people are going to study on him and he's going to have to study other people and prepare himself no differently," Gruden said of Cousins. "We're going to coach him no differently."

Defenses will have year of film on Cousins, yes, but the quarterback now also gets the benefit of being the unquestioned starter throughout an offseason. With contract time now over, COusins and Gruden can get back on the practice field in Richmond and continue their progress throughout training camp.

Asked what he wants Cousins to do now, Gruden was clear: "He's got to get himself ready, his body ready, his mind ready to play a tough NFL season."

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Madden ranked its top five tight ends. Jordan Reed isn't one of them

Madden ranked its top five tight ends. Jordan Reed isn't one of them

Jordan Reed had 39 more catches, 347 more yards and nine more touchdowns than Jimmy Graham last season, but in Madden's recently released rankings of its top five tight ends, Graham's name makes the list while Reed's doesn't.

Is this Madden 15 or Madden 17?

Other than the developers mixing up the years, it's hard to see how the Redskins' top pass catcher can be given a rating that's lower than Graham's in the upcoming edition of the popular video game franchise. And as it turns out, Reed's team is just as confused as anyone:

Fortunately, the official Madden Twitter account sent this response back to the Redskins. Unfortunately, it provided zero clarification for their selection of Graham over Reed:

The newest Madden hasn't even been made available to the public yet, but it already has one major glitch.

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