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Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns

Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns


During the offseason leading up to the 1964 season, the Washington Redskins were quite busy adding high-caliber talent to the team. How good? Hall of Fame good.

That year, the Redskins drafted wide receiver Charley Taylor and safety Paul Krause and traded for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and linebacker Sam Huff. Taylor retired as the leading all-time receiver and Krause, who was traded to the Vikings in 1968 in one of the dumbest deals ever, retired as the all-time leader in interceptions (he still holds the mark with 81). Jurgensen led the league in passing several times and Huff, while no longer the dominant force he was with the Giants, was still a very effective middle linebacker.

They all eventually made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So did Bobby Mitchell, who already was one the team.

The quartet made their debut on September 13, 1964 in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns. As you can see in the game account below, the Redskins lost.

I don't know if Elias has anything quite like this game on its radar screen. I know it's unique in Redskins history and I have a feeling that very few other teams have had four future Hall of Fame players make their team debuts in a single game. And if any other team did, they probably did not already have a future Canton enshrinee on the team.

September 13, 1964


DC Stadium


DC Stadium—The Redskins built a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, but lost it in a barrage of ill-timed turnovers as the Browns wore down their opponents and got the win.

The Redskins new-look offense, led by quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, acquired via a trade with the Eagles, and running back Charley Taylor, the team's first-round draft pick out of Arizona, began to click late in the first. From the Washington 12, Jurgensen threw to Pat Richter for 11 yards, the Taylor carried three times for a total of 25. With the defense looking for the rookie, Jurgensen then turned his attention to the Skins' established star, Bobby Mitchell. The flanker ran a slant and took Jurgensen's pass for 13 yards down to the three. Taylor got thrown for a loss from there and the Redskins had to settle for Jim Martin's 12-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Safety Paul Krause, the Redskins' second-round pick, paid dividends nearly as quickly as Taylor did. He drew a bead on a Frank Ryan pass, leapt in front of the intended receiver, intercepted the pass and returned it 18 yards to the Cleveland 16. Not to be outdone, Taylor converted the turnover, taking a weak side pitch from Jurgensen, finding daylight, and fending off safety Larry Benz to score a touchdown to make it 10-0.

The Washington defense stuffed Jim Brown on the next series and Cleveland had to punt. The rookie magic ended as first-year returner Ozzie Clay fumbled Gary Collins' boot, giving the Browns the ball at the Washington 24. The miscue swung the momentum to the Browns instantly and, as it turned out, inexorably.

Two plays after the punt, Krause displayed the nature of rookies as he, in his words, "simply got mixed up" and blew his coverage on Collins. Dave Brady of the Post said Collins "was so wide open that the nearest person to him was a spectator sitting directly above in the overhanging second deck of DC Stadium." The Browns missed the point after but were undaunted as they drove 70 yards to Jim Brown's one-yard touchdown run to take a 13-10 halftime lead.

In his Redskins debut, middle linebacker Sam Huff got an interception to kill a Cleveland threat inside the Washington 10, but Mitchell quickly gave it back with a fumble that Walter Beach recovered at the Redskin 34. Soon after that, it was Brown scoring from the one again, and the Browns were beginning to pull away. Their cause was greatly aided when Jurgensen fumbled it away at the Cleveland four, short-circuiting a comeback bid.

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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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