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Clunking offense in scrimmage no surprise

Clunking offense in scrimmage no surprise

Casey Rabach will have to anchor a solid line

First, I have to say that I was wrong. My predictions of the fan appreciation day scrimmage turning into another overcrowded disaster did not come to pass. They were able to secure additional parking and there were more of Loudon Count's finest on duty to direct traffic so that things went much more smoothly.

The Redskins reported that 29,000 went out to the event, more than the 28,000 that created such traffic chaos last year. Many, like Jason Reid of the Post, were skeptical about the reported turnout numbers. Evidently, there were many fans who showed up disguised as blades of grass.

Those present were of the near-unanimous opinion that the Washington Redskins' offense was mediocre in its finer moments. Ryan O'Halloran at the Times pretty well summed it up in his report:

Anthony Alridge caught Jason Campbell's pass, turned upfield and showed his elusiveness by faking out a linebacker on his way to a first down. But then he fumbled and safety Kareem Moore recovered, one of two offensive turnovers in the Washington Redskins' intrasquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon.

The play epitomized the first 10 days of on-field training camp activity for the Redskins.

The offense does something good but then makes a mistake in the form of a fumble, a missed assignment up front, a deflected pass downfield or a botched handoff. And the opportunistic defense capitalizes.


I'm not about to make the case here that there isn't cause for concern regarding the Redskins offense but those concerns aren't necessarily new and based on yesterday's scrimmage. They need their offensive line to gel if they are going to have even a decent offense. Some combination of five players will have to come together and open up holes for Clinton Portis and give Campbell time to throw. They don't need to be the '82 Hogs or anything. Mere competence is called for.

So it really doesn't matter if Anthony Aldridge is fumbling away passes. And it's not surprising that the timing is far from where it needs to be. Timing takes time and we're just a week and a half into camp. And you can't get your timing down if the defense is spending a lot of time in your backfield.

Just as I would see no reason for celebration if the offense had clicked in the scrimmage I see no reason to view anything differently because the offense sputtered. I hate to break this to those of you who want instant answers but we're not really going to know much about this unit until they line it up for keeps against the Giants on Sept. 13. There may be a glimpse here and there during the preseason but until five guys play together for four quarters we really won't know what we have.

Certainly that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with analyzing and discussing the evidence so far. But it's futile to try to draw any grand and meaningful conclusions from what we're seeing here in the second week of August.

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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