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Grading the special teams: Blocked punts big issue

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Grading the special teams: Blocked punts big issue

Special teamsGrade vs. Rams: C-Comment:The big concern entering Sundays game was whether long snapper Justin Snow would find a rhythm with holder Sav Rocca and kicker Billy Cundiff after signing in Washington on Tuesday.As it turned out, the Redskins field goal operation was the least of the unit's problems at Edward Jones Dome. It was the punt team again.For the second consecutive week, Rocca had a punt blocked and the opposing team promptly parlayed the miscue into a touchdown. Facing a fourth and six at the Washington 24, Rocca received a perfect snap and, by the time he looked up, Matthew Mulligan already was in his face. Four plays later, the Rams had a 31-28 lead they would not relinquish.Its not like the 6 foot 4, 265-pound Mulligan used an elite burst of speed, outmuscled a lineman, raced around the corner, laid out and got a finger on the ball. He came right up the middle and stuffed Roccas attempt.Just like New Orleans Martez Wilson seven days before.The blocked punts, of course, come a season after the Redskins had five field goal attempts knocked down.So what the heck is going on, Coach?Last year, if you take a look at the blocked field goals, we lost a number of offensive linemen, Mike Shanahan said Monday. In every scenario, theres a different person at fault. You just keep on working to eliminate those problems. What happened in St. Louis is what I told you after the game some person was more concerned with coverage than they were with protection, and all of a sudden, you take off to quick and theres another mistake.Shanahan went out of his way to not name the player(s) at fault. But youve got to wonder whether Shanahans patience is also running short with popular special teams coach Danny Smith.The only reason special teams did not receive a failing grade is Cundiffs continued execution on kickoffs. Four of his five kickoffs Sunday resulted in a touchback.

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3 key takeaways from Bruce Allen interview: McCloughan, Cousins, D-line improvement

3 key takeaways from Bruce Allen interview: McCloughan, Cousins, D-line improvement

Bruce Allen opened up about all things Redskins on Sunday. He was forthright in spots and diplomatic in others, but like many powerful people, there is much to decipher from Allen's first on camera interview since the firing of general manager Scot McCloughan. 

Kirk Cousins' future 

  • It's no secret the 'Skins seem unable to reach a long-term deal with their quarterback. Bruce Allen said that he is still "hopeful and confident" the team could reach a multi-year contract before the July 15th deadline. Listening to Allen, however, it seemed the Redskins organization already views their current setup as a multi-year deal. Cousins signed his franchise tag for 2017, so he is under contract, and Allen specifically said the team has an option for 2018. That means another tag could absolutely be in play between Washington and Cousins. It's hard to imagine the franchise would lay out the cash for a third-straight franchise tag, but the transition tag remains an option. That would mean around a $28 million one-year deal for Cousins in 2018, but perhaps most importantly, it would let the 'Skins match any offer the QB receives from elsewhere around the league.
  • Takeaway: Even without a long-term deal, Cousins could be staying in Washington for the foreseeable future.

Scot McCloughan's future

  • The demise of McCloughan's tenure as Redskins GM was beyond sloppy. It played out publicly and poorly, and there is blame to be spread all around in how things unfolded. On the football side of things, Allen's revelation that McCloughan was free to go work anywhere else in the NFL struck a chord. Most NFL front offices are hunkered down in draft preparations, but in about six weeks that will be done. When, or if, McCloughan lands with another NFL team will be a telling moment.
  • Takeaway: McCloughan's ouster in D.C. had many complex layers, but if the talented personnel evaluator does not join another front office, the picture becomes more clear.

Defensive improvement?

  • The Redskins lost their best defensive lineman in free agency when Chris Baker signed with Tampa. Then the team cut Ricky Jean-François, arguably their second best D-lineman. To offset those losses, Washington signed Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee. Neither player has a particularly impressive resume, and it's hard to distinctly state that the 'Skins defensive front has improved by the change in personnel. Allen explained that McGee and McClain were specifically targeted to play for new D-line coach Jim Tomsula. Considering that, perhaps the moves make more sense. 
  • Takeaway: The Redskins think having Tomsula coach the D-line, and the type of players he wants on the line, will lead to rapid improvement. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

DON’T MISS OUT - #REDSKINSTALK PODCAST PARTY APRIL 5 AT PENN QUARTER SPORTS TAVERN!

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!

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Bruce Allen opens up on Scot McCloughan, Kirk Cousins, more

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Bruce Allen opens up on Scot McCloughan, Kirk Cousins, more

Redskins team president Bruce Allen sat down with JP Finlay to discuss a tumultuous offseason, and no topics were off limits. Listen here for intel on the firing of Scot McCloughan, a new deal for Kirk Cousins and much more.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

DON’T MISS OUT - #REDSKINSTALK PODCAST PARTY APRIL 5 AT PENN QUARTER SPORTS TAVERN!

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!