Here is a look at who is up and who is down after the Redskins’ 27-23 loss to the Giants:
Up: I’m not sure if the stock of Robert Griffin III can go much higher but I wouldn’t even think about selling it. Yes, he had the two turnovers but the clutch drive that gave the Redskins the lead in the game’s final minutes, featuring the jaw-dropping fourth-down conversion, more than negated his miscues.
Down: The one job that free safety Madieu Williams has in the last two minutes of a game when his team has the lead is to serve as the last line of defense on a long pass. That is especially true pertaining to the receiver he is assigned to cover. Victor Cruz should never have gotten past him.
Up: Although Fred Davis’ injury led to the Redskins bringing back Chris Cooley the immediate beneficiary was Logan Paulsen. He had career highs of four receptions for 76 yards including the catch on RG3’s fourth-down scramble.
Down: London Fletcher had six tackles, one for a loss, but he did miss a tackle and was not in at the end of the game due to a hamstring injury.
Up: Like RG3, Alfred Morris’ stock just continues to rise. Yesterday he had 22 carries for 120 yards. He now has an NFC-best 658 rushing yards on the season, putting him on pace to rush for just over 1500 yards.
Down: Niles Paul’s day got off to a bad start when he couldn’t hang on to a short pass in the end zone on the Redskins’ first possession. Yes, the defender got a hand in there but it looks like Paul could have shielded him from the ball. Later, he couldn’t get between Jason Pierre-Paul and Griffin, causing a sack. After Davis went out of the game, Paul did not get targeted at all.
Up: Santana Moss showed that he still has it with two touchdown catches, including one on a nifty run after taking a bubble screen.
Down: At first it appeared that Brian Orakpo’s absence would not hurt Ryan Kerrigan’s production all that much. But he has struggled in the past two games and yesterday he didn’t post a sack and had only one tackle.
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199
Free agent moves—Offense
Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.
Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0
Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.
Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.
Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.
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It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.
<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>
Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.
That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.
MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem
It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out.
<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>
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