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Bold Predictions: Every Which Way to Lose

Bold Predictions: Every Which Way to Lose

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Since October 30, the Redskins have experienced an agonizing variety of losses. They lost a blowout in New York and dropped a shootout in Tampa. Against Oakland, they lost because the couldn’t score an offensive touchdown and they lost to San Diego despite holding a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

After all of this, can they find a way to win?

They can, but it will be a tough task. The Rams aren’t the Greatest Show on Turf any more, but they are still fourth in the NFL in offense this year despite the fact that they may be using their third different starting quarterback this season this Sunday (more on that coming up). On top of that their head coach/offensive guru Mike Martz is on the shelf for the season with a heart ailment and Torry Holt and Issac Bruce have missed a combined seven games this year. Still, they crank along at a pace of 372 yards a game.
They have scored 24 or more points in nine of their eleven games. Contrast this with the Redskins’ scoring output, which has reached that 24-point milestone just twice.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, a rookie from Harvard, led a stunning comeback last week against the Texans, rallying the team from deficits of 24-3 with 30 minutes to play and 27-17 with 30 seconds left. Although he’s the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week, he might not start for the Rams on Sunday. If Jamie Martin has recovered from the concussion that knocked him out of last Sunday’s game, opening the door for Fitzpatrick, he will start and Fitzpatrick, the only Harvard quarterback ever to throw an NFL pass, will go back to the bench. Martin did not practice on Thursday and he is listed as questionable.
If Fitzpatrick does indeed end up starting, he won’t be quite the mystery he was to the Texans. Gregg Williams and company have 30 pass attempts to study to find his tendencies and his weaknesses. That’s 30 more than Houston had.

Because they are no longer unknown, quarterbacks often have a considerably tougher go of it in their second appearances than they do in their debuts. In 2002 Patrick Ramsey got his first NFL game action in Tennessee after starter Danny Wuerfel got hurt. He went 20-34 for 248 yards, two TD’s and no interceptions with a QB rating of 103.6. The next week Ramsey got the start and his stats took a nosedive as he threw four interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 48.8. He created a book in that first game and the Saints read it and took advantage of it in his second appearance.

If he plays, Fitzpatrick’s rating will almost certainly take a tumble from the lofty career 117 mark he now sports. Martin, on the other hand, is in his 11th NFL season (he actually was with the Redskins for a while in 1997, but he didn’t play) and, while shouldn’t look for gaudy numbers from him he should give a solid, workmanlike performance.

You never want to root for anyone to get hurt or remain hurt (bad karma), Redskins rooters might want to hope that the Rams err on the side of caution and give Martin an extra week to clear his head.

So, back to the original question, will the Redskins be able to beat this team on the road in a very loud dome? If you’re one who believes that defense quiets a crowd and wins games, you have to think that they will. We looked at scoring output earlier, now let’s look at scoring prevention. St. Louis has allowed the other team to put up 24 points or more eight time, the Redskins just three. If form holds, we’re probably looking at a game with scores in the upper teens to lower twenties.

Redskins 23, Rams 20

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

Tandler on Twitter

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 www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

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