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Cundiff comes through when it counts for Redskins

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Cundiff comes through when it counts for Redskins

TAMPAAfter Sundays 24-22 victory over the Buccaneers, Billy Cundiff put his foot up on a chair in the jubilent visitors' locker room. As he tied his shoe, wide receiver Josh Morgan bent over, grabbed a shower towel and pretended to polish the kickers Oxford.

They let out a hearty laugh.

A few minutes earlier on the field at Raymond James Stadium, Cundiff, Morgan and the rest of the Redskins had let out a sigh of relief after the team avoided a potentially devastating defeat.

The visitors had blown a 16-point second half lead, but with seven seconds remaining Cundiff booted a 41-yarder to clinch the win.Cundiff had missed his first three field goal attempts, including a 31-yarder in the fourth quarter.

I knew if I just got that chance -- no matter how bad a kicker I was in the game -- that I would make it, Cundiff said after the game.

Asked what was different on the game winner, the veteran cracked, We could get really kicker specific, or I could just tell you that I didnt choke.

Cundiff acknowledged that he probably would have been looking for a new job on Monday had he missed a fourth attempt and the Redskins lost by a single point. As it turned out, though, hell almost assuredly be in Ashburn, studying what we went wrong on the other three kicks.

I was just hoping he could keep focus after he missed the first one, Coach Mike Shanahan said. I told him it was going to come down to the game-winner and it did. He did a great job of concentrating.

But it wasnt easy, Cundiff conceded later.

It is tough, he said of being confident on the final kick after struggling. This place wasnt sold out, but everyone who was there essentially was reminding me of bad I performed earlier in the game. To find out about yourself, you have to be tested.

Here are some other notes, quotes and observations from the Redskins slump-busting victory:

Second half slipup:After limiting the Buccaneers to six points in the first half, the Redskins again struggled with big pass plays in the second half.

Two in particular hurt thema 65-yard completion to Mike Williams on a drive that culminated in a touchdown and a 54-yard pass to Vincent Jackson that also led to a score.

They made plays, said cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who had an interception as well as a few of blown coverages. They caught the ball. I gave up a couple.

Safety Madieu Williams added: We have to look at the film and be very critical of ourselves. Because in this league, you have to play four quarters. Although we played very well in first half, we have to play the complete game and we have yet to do that.

Injury update:Brandon Meriweather will have an MRI on his left knee on Monday after being involved in a scary pre-game collision with Aldrick Robinson. Both players had been expected to play but were put on the inactive list.

Meriweather was scheduled to make his season debut after missing the first three games with a two sprained ligaments in his right knee.

Robinson, meantime, was knocked unconscious during the collision. He likely will be subject to the NFLs protocol regarding concussions.

With Meriweather sidelined, the team turned to veteran Reed Doughty instead of second-year safety DeJon Gomes, who had started the first three games but was struggling.

Up and down kind of day:Pierre Garon, who missed the previous two games with a foot injury, returned Sunday and scored his teams first touchdown when he recovered Robert Griffin IIIs fumble in the end zone.

It felt good to get back out there and help the team as much as I could, he said. I knew all week that I was going to play. I was not 100-percent but I did everything I could.

Overall, it was an uneven afternoon for Garon. He had the touchdown, one reception (on one target) for 20 yards and drew a pass interference call. But he also was called for offensive pass interference and unnecessary roughness for throwing a late block on Aqib Talib.

It was during the play, playing through the whistle, he said.

Garon said he and his tender right foot emerged unscathed from the game.

Anatomy of miss (or three):Cundiff took fully responsibility for his first three misses.

On the first (from 41 yards) he said the timing between himself and snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca was off. The kick was yanked way wide of the uprights.

Its up to me to get in rhythm with those two guys, he said. Were still trying to gel and mesh.

On the second miss (from 57 yards) he said the snap and hold all went smoothly. He just didnt get enough leg into it. I was a yard or two short, he said. So that actually was not a bad kick.

The third (a miss from 31 yards) he called a, Complete mental error.

We got the win, but thats not the kind of stuff you want to put on film, he said. And thats not the stuff you want your teammates to see knowing that in the fourth quarter they have to be able to trust you.

Technical difficulties:Griffin said the one-way radio in his helmet stopped working on the final drive, which began inside two minutes.

In practice every week we always practice me calling the plays in the two-minute offense as if the headset goes out, Griffin said. I had to call a couple of my own plays and we moved the chains and got into field goal range. It was neat how that practice scenario played out in the game. You dont want it to happen, but I was pleased.

Griffin completed 26 of 35 passes for 323 yards all career highs.

Quotable: Ryan Kerrigan: "There's a huge different between 2-2 and 1-3. Hopefully this can be the start of something for us."

Quotable, part II: Hall on the Redskins defense Sunday: Average. We cant win letting leads like that go. Weve got to buckle down and finish games off.

By the numbers:The Redskins have scored 123 points through four games, the franchises highest point total during a four-game stretch since the 1999 season.

Play of the game:
With the Redskins leading 21-13 at the end of the third quarter, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan called for a little trickery.

Griffin passed to Brandon Banks, who passed back to Griffin. Griffin then hit Niles Paul for a 30-yard gain.

It wasnt pretty, but it got the job done.

Unsung hero:
Trent Williams had a pronounced limp and a big brace on his right knee, but the starting left tackle played through the pain.

And, it should be noted, he played quite well after hardly practicing all week.

I got by, he said. I didnt totally dominate but we did enough to win. I was so caught up in the game, with it being so close, my knee was the last thing on my mind.

He added: I felt like I owe it to this team, to this city to get out there and battle through the pain.

Williams said he couldnt bring himself to watch Cundiffs final kick sail through the uprights.

I just watched Cundiffs reaction, he said. He made it when it counted.

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!