The Redskins have been elusive about how they plan to deploy the teams three running backs this season.Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, however, might have provided a clue Thursday when he said, Whoever you think is doing the best, you keep him going."And when hes not going, you make a change presumably.That probably is not what Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr. and Alfred Morris wanted to hear, but itcouldbe the reality of the Redskins approach this season.I dont think that theres any philosophy, theres no set way on what you do, Shanahan added, speaking at Redskins Park. You put the guy in thats going to help you win the game. And I think the three guys are all capable runners.Head coach Mike Shanahan has said he knows which running back will line up behind Robert Girffin III on the Redskins first series at the Superdome on Sunday. But hes been coy when asked to disclose which one he plans to tap.In the end, though, it might not matter all that much.It doesnt matter to me which one is in because all three are capable, Kyle Shanahan said. Some do some stuff better than others. But you go with the hot hand. You want to keep him fresh so you rotate guys in. Its not a planned rotation, but I would expect all three of them to play.
During the Kirk Cousins franchise tag/long-term contract debate, the question of whether or not Cousins could continue to play as well as he did in the last 10 games of 2015 was pivotal. In that stretch of games he completed 72.4 percent of his passes with an average of 8.7 yards per attempt with 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating was 119.1.
Those who saw that run as a fluke were not inclined to want the Redskins to give Cousins a long-term deal near the top of the quarterback pay scale. Those who saw the stretch as things clicking for a quarterback in his first year as a starter were inclined to lobby the Redskins to lock him up no matter what it cost.
How realistic is it to expect Cousins to repeat that stretch over a full season? It would be difficult. His completion percentage of 72.4 would top Drew Brees’ single-season record of 71.2 percent. The passer rating of 119.1 would be the fourth best of all time, better than any season ever posted by Tom Brady, Steve Young, Breese, and others.
From the same perspective, it might be a little easier for Cousins to repeat what he did in the interception department. In the last 10 games he threw three of them in 315 pass attempts, a percentage of 1.0 percent. Eight quarterbacks have had an interception percentage of 1.0 or lower for a full season. Some of them, like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, are among the best quarterbacks ever. Others, like Damon Huard, Nick Foles and Joe Ferguson, are not.
A look at the single-season leaders list implies that some luck may be involved when it comes to interception avoidance. You see a lot of players, like Huard, Ferguson, Seneca Wallace, Brian Griese, and, yes, Robert Griffin III who have seasons ranking in the top 30 of all time and never came close to duplicating it again. Griese, for example, had 1.2 percent of his passes intercepted in 10 games in 2000. In his 10 NFL seasons before and after that he never had an interception percentage lower than 3.6; his career average was 3.5 percent. That’s about a percentage point over average.
Was Cousins just lucky towards the end of last year? Some who have looked at the latter part of his season closely think so. Matt Williamson does scouting work for ESPN and some other publications. Focusing just on the last half of the season, he said that he saw a lot of interceptions dropped.
While he only threw two interceptions during that eight-game stretch, quite a few more easily could have ended up in the other team’s hands - and probably should have. This was even truer in his uninspiring playoff game against Green Bay, the last time we saw Cousins.
I will say that I am suspicious of statements like that. How many is “quite a few”? Four? Ten? More? What is the standard for a “drop”? And all quarterbacks benefit from would-be interceptions that get dropped. How do Cousins’ dropped picks compare to those of other quarterbacks? More? Fewer? About the same?
But there it is and you can take it however you would like. The fact that he had a career 3.9 interception percentage going into that 10-game stretch lends some credence to the theory that Cousins benefitted from some good luck. But it’s also possible that he figured out how to avoid the turnover bug after 15 NFL starts prior to the game against the Bucs that got things rolling for him.
Last year the Redskins won nine games and took the NFC East title. Washington brings back largely the same team for 2016, and had a quiet, relatively drama free offseason.
But in Las Vegas, none of that matters.
Steelers are currently getting 86% of spread bets at Washington for Week 1, the most lopsided opening game: https://t.co/Ba8mkeCzyr— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) July 22, 2016
Washington opens the year at home as underdogs against the Steelers, and considering that home field is generally worth three points toward the spread, clearly the betmakers don't expect much from the 'Skins. Or the betting public doesn't, that's for sure.
Pittsburgh is good, last year they went 10-6 and have two of the games best in QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown. Star running back Le'Veon Bell may miss the game, however, due to a suspension. It will be interesting to see if the line moves once Bell's situation becomes finalized.
Surprised by the overwhelming Steelers support? Should the spread look different? Let us know what you think in the comments.
KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- Four people were killed Sunday when bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players collided with a van on a northwestern Arizona highway.
The fatalities were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. But the bus occupants emerged uninjured.
"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) said in an email.
Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.
The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman, according to DPS.
The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.
After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.