Here is one blogger’s opinion on the best and worst of the Redskins’ season at the halfway mark.
Offensive MVP—The obvious and only choice is Robert Griffin III. He has been the catalyst for the team’s three wins and he has given them a chance in all but one of their five losses. He has made more memorable plays this year—the 76-yard TD run, the scrambling fourth-down conversion, the 88-yard “Griffining” TD to name a few—than the team has had in the past several years combined.
Defensive MVP—As easy as it is to choose an offensive MVP, it is just as difficult to pick one on a defense that has been a major disappointment. The front seven is not generating a pass rush with any consistency and the coverage has been spotty. And although the rushing defense has been pretty solid that is in large part because teams don’t run against them because it’s so easy to pass on them. Still, Ryan Kerrigan has played well. He’s not piling up a lot of sacks but he has been steady at many aspects of the game and at times, like when he plucked Matt Ryan’s pass out of the air and rolled in for a touchdown, spectacular.
Special teams MVP—This award is almost as easy as the one for the offense. Special teams have had plenty of issues with blocked and missed kicks and an inability to break out and get a big return. But the coverage has been solid and captain Lorenzo Alexander has been a demon in in that department and the glue that has held the units together.
Surprise development—The emergence of Alfred Morris as not just the team’s leading rusher but as one of the best running backs in the league is something that nobody expected when training camp opened. The sixth-round pick seemed to be on the roster bubble in early August but by the time the season started he was the opening day starter in New Orleans.
Disappointing development—The defense was ranked 13th in the NFL last year and if they just could have duplicated that performance this year the Redskins likely would be in the thick of the playoff hunt. But they are near the bottom of the league overall and on pace to become the first NFL team to allow 5000 yards passing in a season. Nobody every thought they would long for the Redskins’ 2011 defense, or even the 10th-ranked 2009 edition.
Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.
Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.
“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.
But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?
Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?
It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”
There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it.
MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington
Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:
- If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
- Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
- Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden.
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