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Fan questions: Why not more hurry-up offense?

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Fan questions: Why not more hurry-up offense?

A lot to talk about after the Redskins loss on Sunday night so let's jump into one from the Real Redskins Facebook page (drop on by and hit the Like button!)

Jenkins did play six snaps on defense on Sunday in his first game back form his four-game suspension. He might have played a few more snaps but the defense was only on the field for 54 plays. Jim Haslett said last week that he still considers him to be the starter so I'd look for him to work his way in for more and more plays and he should be starting and playing 40+ snaps per game by midseason if not sooner.
@Rich_TandlerCSN .. Any chance they hire Art Briles or Philip Montgomery as OC or HC in 2014?

— Mike V (@mikev1975) October 14, 2013
Although it's too early to talk about the future of the current coaching staff it is something that is out there and, with Mike Shanahan going into the last year of his contract in 2014, it is legitimate to ask. First thing, if Mike is here he will have Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator unless Kyle gets a head coaching job (unlikely in the short term, IMO). If Kyle should leave I think that Shanahan would turn to someone he has worked with in the past, someone like Gary Kubiak if he's available, rather than to a college coach. If Mike Shanahan is gone, it's hard for me to see Dan Snyder hiring a head coach who doesn't have NFL coaching experience at least as a coordinator.
@Rich_TandlerCSN why do #Redskins refuse to use no huddle as regular part of gameplay?

— marioc (@marioc) October 14, 2013
I asked Kyle Shanahan about that after the Eagles game and you can find the full article here. But, short version, he said that it just wasn't their offense, that a no-huddle approach didn't fit what they do. Mike Shanahan added some detail yesterday, saying that they like to vary formations during a series and the no-huddle doesn't allow them to do that. My view is that while the no-huddle is a nice wrinkle it's not a cure-all for the offense. The Redskins had no problem moving up and down the field on Sunday as they racked up over 400 yards of offense. What they needed was some better blocking by the line, some more accurate passes by the quarterback, and some better play calling and execution in the red zone. The no-huddle is fine as an occasional change of pace but it's not a substitute for solid fundamental offensive football.

These are related and popular questions so we'll look at them together. As far as Davis goes, they say he isn't earning snaps in practice. My view is that it's a long season and I'd wait before writing off Davis; he could still contribute down the road.  I wondered why they don't use two pass-catching tight ends in my Six Pack yesterday. Both Mike and Kyle Shanahan were asked about it last week and Kyle's answer did shed some light on it.  "But, I mean, it’s tough to get two real pass-dominant tight ends who are not liabilities in the run game," he said. "It’d be nice to go out there and just get great wide-receiver-type tight ends, and that will help your pass game, but then you’re going to get a lot more pass coverages. The D-line is going to rush the quarterback a lot more because they know you’re not going to be in positions to where you really have an advantage in the run game." So, in short, if Reed and Davis could block better they could be on the field together. As of now they can't so they're not.
@Rich_TandlerCSN how soon can we get a replacement #specialteams coach

— Peach E Pie (@Peachahontas) October 14, 2013
It doesn't seem as though Shanahan is inclined to throw Keith Burns overboard after just five games.  "Keith Burns is a very excellent football coach,” he said yesterday. “Very capable . . . I feel very confident that he'll get the job done even though he started out a little bit rough." So I wouldn't look for a change there any time soon.

I picked this one to represent all of the O-line questions I got. First of all, for the immediate future, nobody is about to be benched. The line has been playing pretty well this year before having a bad night in Dallas. That would be a knee-jerk reaction and that's not something we see much of from Shanahan. As far as drafting a right tackle, the short answer is that there hasn't been one they liked on the board when they drafted. The simple truth is that in the zone blocking scheme only needs to have a premium offensive lineman at left tackle. The other four positions are composed of players that are not highly coveted by other teams. That means that lower-round picks and relatively inexpensive free agents are slotted for the "other" four OL positions. This leaves more money and higher draft picks to expend on other positions. The shorter answer is if they want to move on from Tyler Polumbus this offseason they  will either go to sixth-round pick Tom Compton or go shopping in the bargain free agent market.
@Rich_TandlerCSN should #CaptKirk have started this season until #rgiii was ready ?

— Peach E Pie (@Peachahontas) October 14, 2013
I've addressed this on Twitter and on Facebook so I suppose I should talk about it here. Robert Griffin III was not going to get ready to play by watching from the bench. The only way the franchise quarterback could get ready to play was to play. Could the team have won another game or two with Kirk Cousins at QB? I'm not so sure that he could have unless he could have brought down LeSean McCoy, covered Randall Cobb or Calvin Johnson, or tackled Dwayne Harris. But even if he could have it would have been very shortsighted to keep Griffin on the bench. Let's say they kept him out until after the bye. Then you're seeing the RG3 we saw against the Eagles or Packers--pretty much immobile, making questionable decisions, displaying very sloppy mechanics--against the Cowboys. Griffin was far from perfect against Dallas but he played well enough to give them a shot if the special teams don't gift wrap two TD's for the Cowboys. He needed to play to improve. No question, he needs to improve more if this team is going to start winning but this has been handled they way it should have been. To keep Griffin on the sideline when he was healthy enough to play would have represented the kind of short-term thinking that has been the hallmark of this franchise for most of the last 20 years.

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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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