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Browns won’t sneak up on Redskins

Browns won’t sneak up on Redskins

There is no question that the Washington Redskins will be ready when the Cleveland Browns come to town on Sunday. After being ambushed by the St. Louis Rams in what was supposed to be a cakewalk to a 7-1 record at midseason, the Redskins will be sure that the Browns do not sneak up on them.

The question is, will it matter?

The Browns broke out of a season-long funk on Monday as they spanked the defending champion New York Giants 35-14. At the core of their woes going into that game was quarterback Derek Anderson, who was erratic at best and almost was benched on a few occasions. It now seems that Brady Quinn will stay anchored to the bench for a while longer Anderson went 18 for 29 for 310 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants.

His favorite target was 6-3 receiver Braylon Edwards. Not coincidentally, Edwards also was struggling this year prior to Monday night. He torched the Giants for 154 yards and a touchdown on just five catches.

The Cleveland defense played well, getting three interceptions off of Eli Manning, who decided that it would be a good idea to start throwing off of his back foot. Eric Wright returned the third pick 94 yards for the clinching touchdown.

In order for the Redskins to beat the Browns, they will need more than just being in the proper mental state. They'll need to put pressure on Anderson, something the Giants failed to do. They'll need to do that while keeping a blanket on Edwards. They'll need to keep Jason Campbell's streak of interception-free play this season intact.

The Redskins can go a long ways towards achieving those goals by exploiting one of the few sore spots for the Browns on Monday. The Giants rushed for 181 yards, averaging 7.2 yards a carry. There were no long runs to puff up the average; their longest gain was 18 yards.

This wasn't a fluke poor performance by the Cleveland run defense. They are 25th in the league in that category, giving up an average of 134 yards per game.

Running the ball, of course, is right up the Redskins' alley. Clinton Portis leads the NFL with 643 rushing yards and as a team the Skins are third in the NFL, averaging 152 yards per game on the ground.

Still, the Redskins may have to throw a bit more than they might want to. Shaun Alexander isn't used to running behind this offensive line, which does a good job of creating daylight but the running back needs to know how to read the blocks and find the hole. Alexander's touches probably will be in the passing game.

Defensively, the Redskins will have to get some degree of pressure on Anderson. The Giants didn't sack him once. That means covering Edwards one on one with Shawn Springs in order to bring Chris Horton on the blitz.

Blitzing also can be an effective tool against the run. Jamal Lewis is one of those power backs who needs to build up a head of steam to be effective. If first contact comes in the backfield from a blitzing safety it becomes much easier to bring him down.

Bottom line, it's not rocket science here. Pound the rock, rattle the opposing QB, win the turnover battle and do the hip-hip-hooray thing in the locker room afterwards.

It says here that Portis goes for a buck-fifty but the defense will have a hard time getting at Anderson. There's no reason to think that they will get consistent pressure since they haven't done it all year. The Redskins will have to score three touchdowns in order to take this one and they will.

Redskins 27, Browns 21

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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

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Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

With the offensive and defensive coordinators now in place, the Redskins now turn their attention to two other matters.

One is the NFL combine, which gets underway on February 28. The other is the NFL franchise tag deadline, which happens to come the very next day, on March 1.

There has been plenty of talk lately about the possibility of the Redskins giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag designation and then trading him if they don’t think that they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

While one team, the 49ers, has been talked about as a potential landing spot for Cousins they would not be the only interested team if there is going to be a deal.

Let’s take a look at what teams might be moderately interested or highly interested.

RELATED: GRUDEN'S FATE WITH REDSKINS HINGES ON MANUSKY

49ers (2-14)
Head coach:
Vacant, but will be Kyle Shanahan after the Super Bowl
First-round pick: No. 2
2016 leading passer: Colin Kaepernick

Connecting the dots here is easy as Shanahan was the offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted by the Redskins in 2012. There would be no need for the two to get familiar with each other; they had two years to do that. Cousins seems like a natural fit in Shanahan’s offense. The 49ers are likely to move on from Kaepernick rather than taking his $19.4 million cap hit. They may try to move that No. 2 pick, or a package of other picks, to try to get Cousins. Anticipated interest: High

Bears (3-13)
Head coach:
John Fox
First-round pick: No. 3
2016 leading passer: Matt Barkley

This is the year that the Bears can finally move on from Jay Cutler without taking a crippling cap hit. Releasing Cutler, who played in just five games last year due to injury, would cost them just $2 million in dead cap. But do they really want to move on from Cutler, who wasn’t bad the last two years he was able to play? If they do, it seems unlikely that they would part with the No. 3 pick. Anticipated interest: Moderate

RELATED: 2017 MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Jets (5-11)
Head coach:
Todd Bowles
First-round pick: No. 6
2016 leading passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick

In the last four drafts, the Jets have spent a second-round pick on Geno Smith, a fourth on Bryce Petty and a second on Christian Hackeberg. Smith is on his way out, Petty was shaky in four starts last year and Hackenberg didn’t see the field as a rookie. It would not be surprising to see them shop for an established, young-ish starter like Cousins. The No. 6 pick might be too much for Cousins. Another factor to consider is if Cousins would agree to a long-term deal to play in New York. They would have to carve out some cap space to get a deal done; they currently are $7.7 million over the anticipated cap. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Browns (1-15)
Head coach:
Hue Jackson
First-round pick: No. 1 and No. 12
2016 leading passer: Cody Kessler

Robert Griffin III is under contract for 2017 with a $6 million salary plus a $1.5 million roster bonus that the Browns can move on from for a relatively modest $1.75 million cap hit. It would not be outrageous for them to deal the No. 12 pick for Cousins. The question is if Cousins would want to be the latest QB to join the Browns’ Trail of Tears. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Other possibilities: The Cardinals might wonder if Carson Palmer’s slide from MVP candidate to mediocrity will continue and look to bring in an alternative . . . The Broncos can’t be happy with Trevor Simeon as their long-term starter and if they didn’t like what they saw from Paxton Lynch they might want to deal. But John Elway isn’t going to overpay . . . It will be another year before the Texans can move on from Brock Osweiler without a killer cap hit but they could just bench him and bring in their long-term answer a year early . . . Blake Bortles has just one more year left on his rookie deal and the Jaguars may move to get his replacement this year.

Note: The Rams are not mentioned here despite the presence of Sean McVay. They gave up a lot of draft picks to move up to No. 1 overall to take Jarred Goff last year and while he struggled they are not going to move on from him after one season. 

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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.