Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 4, 13 days before the start of minicamp.
After a 3-13 season there are always plenty of questions surrounding an NFL team. Here is a look at the five top questions facing the Redskins’ offense (yesterday we answered five burning questions about the defense).
Will DeSean Jackson be DeSean Jackson? Sometimes a change of scenery is just what a player needs. But often changing everything that led to a player being successful can result in a drop off in production. Everything is different for Jackson this year and we’ll see if he’s energized or lost.
Can an effective line be cobbled together? It seems that Jay Gruden still wants to be able to run the outside zone plays that have been so successful for the Redskins recently but he also wants size on the line to form a solid passing pocket. Well, I’d like to eat whatever I want, not exercise, and still lose weight. But I can’t have it both ways and Gruden may not be able to either. If his line is going to work he may have to go with beef on the line and put Morgan Moses and Spencer Long into the lineup and hope that Alfred Morris can be effective in a power running game.
Can Jordan Reed stay healthy? It’s almost an unfair question since last year was the only time in his football career he missed any significant time. But it’s a legitimate concern with the emphasized sensitivity to concussion issues. Reed could be the different between the offense being very effective and being just OK.
Is Alfred Morris a top five back? He was in 2012 but his production slipped last year. That could well have been due to an offense that just wasn’t hitting on all cylinders. But he thrived as a rookie when Robert Griffin III had the read option going. Gruden has said that that offense is going to be much more of a wrinkle than a staple. Will Morris be able to thrive in Gruden’s scheme?
How well does RG3 bounce back? This is the overriding question. It’s difficult to see the Redskins having a successful season without Griffin performing more like he did in 2012 than he did in 2013. There is reason to believe that a return to full health and an offseason spent polishing his game rather than rehabbing his knee will result in better play. Until we see it on the field, however, that’s just an assumption.
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—It’s been 157 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 95 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.
—Days until: Minicamp starts 13; Training camp 50; Redskins @ Eagles 109
In case you missed it
As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.
No. 6 worst play of 2016
Redskins at Cardinals Week 13
3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23
David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).
Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation
Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.
More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?
Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.
10 best plays countdown
10 worst plays countdown
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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!
Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.
Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.
Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards.
The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.
Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.
It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade.
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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!