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Brunell Injury Raises QB Questions

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Brunell Injury Raises QB Questions

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

The news today that Mark Brunell broke the index finger on his left hand—his throwing hand—in workouts earlier this week is hardly earth-shattering stuff. While the expected 2-3 weeks that he will be out of action may force him to miss the team’s June 16-18 minicamp, there should be no problem with him being in shape and in rhythm for training camp, even given the fact that he’ll have to learn Al Saunders’ new offense.

What the injury does, however, is bring up the question of what would happen if this had occurred in, say, October. Would it be Todd Collins at the helm or would second-year player Jason Campbell get a shot?

The conventional wisdom is that Joe Gibbs would go with the veteran Collins as the caretaker should Brunell wind up on the sidelines for a significant amount of time. Applying the conventional wisdom to Gibbs’ handling of quarterbacks, however, is not always the best way to go. For example, who really thought that Patrick Ramsey’s job tenure as the starting quarterback would last less than 30 minutes last year?

The problem with Collins is that, while he is a solid citizen and he presumably understands Saunders’ offense better than almost anyone alive having worked under it for five years in Kansas City, he NFL playing resume is loaded with holes and question marks. In 11 NFL seasons had has started 17 games with 14 of those starts coming in 1997 when he was with the Buffalo Bills. In that season he threw for just 2,367 yards and posted a quarterback rating of just over 69. That’s not quite Brunell 2004 bad—he put up a 63 rating—but it’s close.

The Bills were so impressed with Collins’ potential after that season that they let him go to Kansas City. The Chiefs were so impressed with his ability that he didn’t take a single snap for two years while sitting behind the likes of Rich Gannon (pre-Raiders) and Elvis Grbac. Since 2001 Collins has been anchored on the bench behind Trent Green. He has attempted 27 passes in that time. Every single one of them has come when the Chiefs were comfortably ahead.

For seven years he’s been no better than the #2 guy. Contracts have come and gone and Collins has not found a chance to challenge for a starting job. That means that he hasn’t been looking for one or that he has been looking and there have been no takers. Both possibilities say something about Collins and not in a positive way.

Experience is a good asset and something that Gibbs values. But can it really be said the Todd Collins is an “experienced” quarterback? He many know Saunders’ offense inside and out in meetings and in practices but he has not demonstrated that he can execute that offense in a regular-season game situation. He has not faced a pressure two-minute drive in at least nine years unless you count the preseason. And if that impressed Gibbs, Babe Laufenberg would have been the team’s starting quarterback in the late 80’s.

Actually, Laufenberg’s and Collins’ careers are remarkably similar. Both spent most of their NFL careers glued to the bench getting one chance to start and failing to make the most of it. Collins is no Randall Cunningham or Trent Dilfer, fading former starters brought in as insurance. For that matter, he’s no Gus Frerotte, who demonstrated the ability to hold down a starting job for a few years.

There are those who will take this article as a rip of Collins but it’s not intended as that. His resume is what it is and I just want to make sure that everyone is aware of it before they go saying that Gibbs is going to hand him the #2 quarterback job.

Jason Campbell

Collins and Campbell have faced exactly the same number of pressure NFL situations in the past seven years; that is to say a combined total of none. Those who say that Campbell hasn’t demonstrated that he would be able to handle the starting job have a valid point. The problem is that there is absolutely nothing here that creates any confidence that Collins could get the job done if the starting job was thrust upon him.

We don’t know if a Brunell absence is something that Gibbs will have to deal with this year. But if you think you know how he’d handle it if it does, you need to guess again.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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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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