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McCoy: 'Our protection failed a lot'

McCoy: 'Our protection failed a lot'

Colt McCoy was not effective at quarterback against the Rams on Sunday. He completed 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards with two interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 54.

The Redskins got nothing going on offense; they took just one snap in the red zone and got shut out for the first time since the John Beck-led Washington team lost to the Bills 23-0 in 2011.

So what did Jay Gruden have to say about McCoy’s performance after looking at the film?

“Well, he was put in some tough situations,” said Gruden during his Monday news conference. “We continue to punish ourselves with holding calls, false starts, mis-targeting a run, poor technique from time to time and we leave ourselves in third down and too long, and we are not very good on third down obviously. And then in the second half when it became a one-dimensional game, we’re not good enough to overcome those right now at this time. So, unfortunate, it wasn’t all on Colt. Obviously he had some issues with protection. Our backs missed a few, our line missed one or two and it was a tough day for the quarterback.”

Read through that again and see if you can find anything that actually places any responsibility on McCoy for his performance. Maybe the part about “poor technique from time to time”. Perhaps when he said “we are not very good on third down” he put some of the fault on the quarterback. But overall, McCoy got kid gloves treatment by the coach here.

Let’s go back a few weeks to the day after the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Bucs in Week 11. Robert Griffin III was not effective in that game with a stat line very similar to the one that McCoy put up against the Rams. Griffin completed 23 of 32 for 207 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown pass.

Here is what Gruden had to say about Griffin’s performance during that game during his day-after press conference:

“Just from Robert’s perspective – you take everybody else out of the picture – Robert had some fundamental flaws,” said Gruden. “He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three on a couple of occasions. That can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up, stepped into pressure, he read the wrong side of the field a couple of times. So, from his basic performance just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

To sum it up, McCoy has a bad game and it’s because “he was put in some tough situations”. Griffin stinks up FedEx Field and he “had some fundamental flaws.” You be the judge.

Fairness dictates that I point out that two days after taking down Griffin, Gruden did say that it was a mistake to do it so perhaps he is taking a kinder, gentler approach with his quarterbacks in public. But to essentially hold McCoy blameless in a shutout while holding Griffin to a much higher standard doesn’t seem to be equitable.

Also in the interest of fairness I need to pass along this quote from McCoy speaking in the locker room on Monday.

“We’re obviously very disappointed,” he told a group of reporters. “We just have to go back to work and figure out the things we can do better, things we can improve. We need get our run game going. Our protection failed a lot yesterday. And I certainly have to play better, too.”

The emphasis is added.

I think you can imagine that there would be quite an uproar if No. 10 had said the same thing, even with the immediate addition that he needed to play better, too.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with either quarterback talking about protection. Both quarterbacks have been at fault for some of the 29 sacks they have taken over the last five games. But the line, backs and tight ends have been awful in protection in recent weeks.

But if one quarterback is going to get called out for throwing his teammates under the bus, shouldn’t the other one get the same treatment for doing the same thing?

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Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field

While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.

“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”

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Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.

Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.

“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.

“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”

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Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.

Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.

“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”

Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.

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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Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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