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Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy is getting kudos for first providing a spark to the Redskins offense in the second half by throwng a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon to erase a halftime deficit and then engineering a 10-play drive in the last minutes of the game to set up the game-winning field goal.

His numbers looked pretty good in a half of work in relief of Kirk Cousins. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards with the one touchdown and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 138.9.

But a closer look at the numbers and what actually happened during the game might lead one to wonder if he should automatically get the start in Dallas next Monday night if Robert Griffin III is not yet 100 percent.

For one thing, while McCoy gets as much credit for that 70-yard touchdown play to Garçon as he would if it was a long, perfectly placed bomb, the fact is that it was a five-yard pass to the flat. It turned into a TD because Garçon was able to spin away from cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and because safety Michael Griffin did a poor job of being the last line of defense, taking a bad angle on the receiver as he sped down the sideline.

If you give McCoy five yards on that completion instead of 70, he has only 63 yards passing and his yards per attempt from an impressive 10.7 to a substandard 5.3. Add in the eight yards he lost to sacks and it comes to a net yards per attempt of 3.9.

A team can occasionally win a game with a passing performance like that but it’s unusual. A team has averaged 3.9 net yards per pass attempt in 285 games since the start of the 2010 season. Those teams are 31-254, a .109 winning percentage.

Until the final drive, half of McCoy’s completions really didn’t do the offense much good. On one third-quarter drive he went to Garçon for three yards on second and nine, to Roy Helu for a loss of seven on second and 11 and to Garçon for six on third and 18. In a key possession after the Titans had scored to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, McCoy was sacked on consecutive plays.

In between the TD pass to Garçon and the final drive, a span of about 24 minutes, McCoy completed five of six passes for a net of 10 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of eight.

But, to his credit, McCoy got it done when it needed to get done. He did what Cousins has not been able to get done since taking over for the injured Griffin.

On that final drive he was five for five for 38 yards. He had a 36-yard pass to DeSean Jackson wiped out due to offsetting penalties and he might have won the game a few plays earlier with a 29-yard TD pass to Jackson but Jason McCourty interfered, setting up the chip-shot field goal to win it.

Give McCoy credit, tons of it, for getting it done in the end of the game and for playing a part in the TD pass to Garçon. But Jay Gruden and company have to consider the whole game played by McCoy and some of it wasn’t very pretty. Will it be enough to give the Redskins a shot against the Cowboys in a week?

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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