CHICAGORobert Griffin III turned in an uneven performance in the Redskins second preseason game, a 33-31 loss to the Bears on Saturday night.Griffin played the entire first half, completing five of eight pass attempts for 49 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also was sacked three times, losing a total of 19 yards, and fumbled for the second consecutive game.There were two injures to defensive starters, however that overshadowed Griffins struggles.Linebacker Brian Orakpo suffered an apparent left shoulder injury, while strong safety Brandon Meriweather sustained a left knee injury.Neither player returned to the game and the seriousness of the injuries will be determined after further examination.If either is sidelined long term, the Redskins depth will be seriously tested. Rob Jackson is listed as Orakpos backup at right outside linebacker. Meriweather was replaced by Tanard Jackson.Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to update the status of both players during his postgame news conference.A few other observations from Soldier Field:--If Brandon Banks was on the bubble entering the game, he should be off it now. The diminutive special teams ace returned an Adam Podlesh punt 91 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to cut the Redskins deficit to 17-10.Banks fielded the punt near the left hashes, burst through a seam, then raced down the right sideline. It marked the third straight preseason in which he returned a punt for a score.--Alfred Morris was tapped a starter and given he biggest opportunity of his young career. It was so-so. He rushed for 38 yards on his first five carries, including a 21-yard scamper on his first carry. But the rookie, who is competing for a spot on the 53-man roster, had only 34 yards on 10 carries when he left the game at the end of the second half.--Kirk Cousins, playing primarily against Chicagos reserves, put up impressive statistics and made a strong opening argument to be tapped as Griffins backup (instead of Rex Grossman). Cousins tossed three touchdown passes and finished 18-23 for 264 yards and three touchdown passes. with a passer rating of 153.Well have more news, notes and reaction from the locker room in a bit.
As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.
No. 7 worst play of 2016
Giants at Redskins, Week 17
4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10
Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).
Related: The Redskins week that was
Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.
More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?
Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season.
10 best plays countdown
- No. 10—Some good fortune in Baltimore
- No. 9—Trickeration works in the Meadowlands
- No. 8—Kelly’s run the clincher in big win
- No. 7 - Josh Norman INT seals the deal
10 worst plays countdown
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.
His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.
Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach.
Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:
Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.
Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.
This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity.
Still, much must be worked out.
While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.
MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach
What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost.
Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.
Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible.
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!