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Brunell goes marching out

Brunell goes marching out

We won't have Mark Brunell to kick around anymore.

It seemed clear that this would be the case on the first day of free agency when Todd Collins signed on to return as the Washington Redskins' backup quarterback. It became official on Thursday when Brunell signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Brunell was the first player that Joe Gibbs went after when the Hall of Famer returned to coaching the Redskins. Many will say that that first decision doomed Gibbs' second run as coach to mediocrity.

The view here is that Gibbs' unwillingness to take chances—crossing the line from coaching conservatively to coaching scared—was the main issue that led to the 30-34 record from 2004-2007.

There are those who will argue that Brunell's game, mainly his lack of arm strength, forced Gibbs to play things close to the vest. It's really a chicken-or-egg argument and I can see that side of it.

Brunell did have his moments. In the second game of the 2005 season the Redskins were down 13-0 midway through the fourth quarter and looking horrible offensively. Like a bolt out of the blue, Brunell cranked out two touchdown bombs to Santana Moss, both deadly accurate thrown made without much margin for error.

But in between the high points there were way too many dump offs to a back on third and eight, way too many passes thrown to a cheerleader when there seemed to be plenty of time to continue to scan for a receiver.

They don't do approval polls for quarterbacks, but if they did it's likely that we would have found that, for most of his career in Washington, Brunell's would have matched that of other Washington residents such as W or the members of Congress.

Through it all, though, Brunell remained a class act. He cheerfully answered questions through two benchings and a demotion to third string. No teammate ever had a bad thing to say about him either publicly or off the record.

I wish him well.

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Need to Know: Murphy and Kerrigan a potent sack combo

Need to Know: Murphy and Kerrigan a potent sack combo

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 5, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 6; Panthers @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 19

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (possible concussion/stinger)
Postgame injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals by the numbers

—Kirk Cousins passed for 271 yards. While compiling those yards he moved up six spots in the team’s record book for single season passing yardage. He passed four different quarterbacks in the process and passed Mark Rypien and Joe Theismann twice.

—Cousins also moved past Jason Campbell for sixth on the team’s career passing yards list.

—DeSean Jackson caught a 59-yard pass from Cousins in the third quarter. It was his 35th career reception of 50 yards or longer. Since he entered the league in 2008 no NFL player has more.

—Ryan Kerrigan sacked Carson Palmer in the second quarter, giving him 10 for the season. He now has his second career season with double-digit sacks; he had 13.5 in 2014.

—Trent Murphy recorded a third-quarter sack of Palmer; he now has eight sacks this season. He had a total of six in his first two NFL seasons.

—Dustin Hopkins kicked a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It was the second-longest of his career. He hit a 54-yarder in Atlanta last season.

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]