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After Further Review: A muddled first half

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After Further Review: A muddled first half

Here is my review after looking at the recording of the Redskins-Bengals game. The first half is here, the second half will be posted at 4:00 p.m.First quarterOn the first snap of the game, all 11 defensive players were within seven yards of the line of scrimmage. From the snap of the ball that was a touchdown, assuming that Sanu could throw a decent pass. He could.It was pitch right to Alfred Morris on the first play of the game, pitch left on the second. Ten yards on each play. Among others, Leonard Hankerson did a good job blocking on the first run, Josh Morgan did the same on the second one.Its hard to see how Trent Williams could have sustained a bone bruise on that second run. He stayed engaged with his man as Morris ran past him and then went to the ground. Many thought the injury could be somewhat serious as it looked like a classic scenario for ligament damage.There must have been some sort of a protection mixup on Rob Jacksons interception. Ryan Kerrigan just went through virtually untouched and hit Andy Dalton as he was throwing a little swing pass. Jackson saw the gift fluttering through the air and pounced on it, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to get a zero-yard interception return for a touchdown.The Bengals had to overcome a second and 18 to start the drive that led to their second TD. They got most of it with a Dalton scramble. The score itself came on second and 20. Madieu Williams did hit Dalton on the blitz but he was a step and a half away when the QB released the ball. It didnt look like Josh Wilson, who had single coverage on receiver Armon Binns, misplayed the ball. He got caught flat-footed when Binns made his cut and he had no chance after Dalton threw the ball. Perhaps he could have taken a better angle and cut off the receiver after the throw but even that seems doubtful.After being sacked with 2:46 left, Griffin is in a pile that includes a few Bengals and tight end Logan Paulsen. The offensive linemen, all five of them, are standing and looking at the pile, all but Jordan Black at least five yards away. Although it was more of a coverage sackGriffin pumped, apparently looking to go deepthe optics here are not good.The next play was one of a few where Black looked truly awful. Carlos Dunlap made him look like a statue as he sped around him to RG3. Black wasnt perfect the rest of the way by any means but he did seem to realize that he had to do better.Second quarterTwice the Bengals caught the Redskins bunched up in the middle of the line on third and short and went to Andrew Hawkins on an end around. They easily got the first down both times.The Bengals fake field goala highly questionable call to begin withnever had a chance. Madieu Williams just stayed home and the holder turned runner ran right into him.On the fumbled pitch (which they still are calling a sack but its not as Griffin had no intent to pass) it looks like Griffin simply should have held on to the ball since Dunlap was on him so quickly. I am not sure why Morris didnt recover the ball. They had several replays, some of them from the right angle to see what happened but they stopped them before the recovery. The all-22 view comes out tomorrow, maybe we can see then.And, as the announcers pointed out, Griffin did grab Dunlaps facemask as the defender was on top of him in an apparent effort to keep him from going after the ball. Smart move or a dirty one? It didnt matter as Dunlap ultimately recovered the ball anyway.Niles Paul got off a nice block to spring Brandon Banks on that 55-yard return late in the first half. He didnt knock anyone to the ground but he got himself into position to get between the ballcarrier and the would-be tackler.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Trade winds, Cousins vs. McCoy

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Trade winds, Cousins vs. McCoy

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 25, 12 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 4
—NFL Combine (3/2) 5
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 51
—NFL Draft (4/27) 61
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 197

The Redskins week that was

Here is my take on some of the week’s top stories from Real Redskins and CSN Mid Atlantic.  

Cousins trade to 49ers could happen at combine, per NFL analyst—The Redskins must decide if they are ever going to sign Kirk Cousins long term. If the answer is no, they must figure out if they are better off having him around for one year prior to losing him without compensation or trying to trade him now. It is possible to simultaneously believe that the Redskins should sign Cousins for the long term but that trading him may be necessary.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Will McCloughan go defense in 1st round? If the best player available plays defense, he will. If he doesn’t I’m just going to have to shut down Twitter for a while. Or maybe I won’t have to since it will crash.

Under the radar issues for the Redskins—The offseason checklist has more than quarterback, D-line and wide receiver on it. The nine draft picks they have will be critical as they try to build on 2016’s occasionally frustrating results.

Why can't the Redskins sign Garcon and Jackson? That question is easy to answer—with Jamison Crowder due to get an extension next year they will run into cap problems if they bring both of them back. It does look like the numbers will work with one of them coming back, however, and if they do let both walk it will be a head-scratcher.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Can McCoy produce similar results at less cost than Cousins? With Colt McCoy under contract for $3 million and a potential Cousins tag costing nearly $24 million some at Redskins Park are wondering if Cousins is eight times better than McCoy and if he’s not, why pay him? This is kind of a silly question, like asking if Trent Williams is 15 times better than Ty Nsekhe or if Josh Norman is 20 times better than Kendall Fuller. The question is, does that player at that key position good enough to play his part in getting the team into the playoffs? McCoy hasn’t proven that he is, while Cousins has been to the playoffs once and just missed last year. The proven ability to do something counts for a lot in the form of the number of zeros in a player’s paycheck.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!