Washington Redskins

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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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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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