Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 3, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.
Five thoughts on the state of the Redskins
—Yesterday I presented three options the Redskins and DeSean Jackson will have regarding his future with the team. What I didn’t do was take $100 in imaginary poker chips and split them according to the chances I think of each of the three options coming to pass. I’ll got with $20 on him staying on his current contract, $30 on him getting cut and $50 on him getting a new deal with some guaranteed money and heavy on workout bonuses and per-game roster bonuses.
—I think that players-only meetings are sometimes overblown events but I don’t believe that the importance of the one the Redskins had last Saturday was overrated. This team has had issues with its mindset ever since I started covering them in 2009. With the exception of the seven-game winning streak in 2012, their results have always been less than the sum of their parts. To me, that's a problem that emanates from above the neck. The players needed to get on the same page and the ones who have played in Super Bowls needed to impart some wisdom. And they need to keep it rolling with more than a one-game pop out of the meeting.
—John Keim had a good post about Jay Gruden and his relationship with the players. Football is a people business and a big part of a coach’s job is relating to his players (just as is the case with any boss at any job). You should check out the post but two quotes caught my eye. This one from DeAngelo Hall: “You can’t help but notice him joking around with this guy or that guy. He’s not just talking to [DeSean Jackson] or Trent [Williams] or big-name guys. It’s everybody. He jokes with [Robert Griffin III] even to this day. It’s not something where I bench him so I won’t talk to him anymore.” And this one from an unnamed player: “It helps when you win a couple games. It could change if we lose a couple in a row.”
—In the post Keim says that Gruden has been assured that he will be back in 2016. Since the Redskins have now won five games they have improved on their record from last year. While Dan Snyder has been accused of having a quick trigger finger, he has never fired a coach after the team improved its win total from one season to the next. Gruden should and will be back.
—What about Kirk Cousins? I’ve found his refusal to say even a token, “Sure, I’d love to be back if things can be worked out,” when asked about his future with the team to be somewhat odd. I don’t get the impression that he has completely soured on the organization although he certainly could have some bad feelings over what has been a rocky ride with the Redskins. I think that eventually the natural tendency of a quarterback to want to stay in a system where he has had some success, especially one who is still developing, wins out over any ill will that may have been created. But I’d be a heck of a lot more confident about predicting that if he would give the slightest hint that it’s what he wants to do.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30
—Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Bears 10; Bills @ Redskins 17
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 22, 95 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL franchise tag deadline 38
—NFL free agency starts 46
—First Sunday of 2017 season 231
Sunday morning quick hitters
—Talk that Greg Manusky is the favorite to get the promotion to Redskins defensive coordinator seems to be based more on deductive reasoning than from any reports from Ashburn. I think he is likely to be the guy but I’m not sure that there won’t be a surprise selection for the job.
—The four-year, $42 million contract extension the Rams gave WR Tavon Austin will set the market for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Both of their expiring contracts averaged about $8 million per year so they could be in line for healthy raises the year after turning 30. As in other sports, the market is often set by what your dumbest competitior is willing to pay.
—I didn’t give a second thought to leaving DeAngelo Hall off my projection of the defensive roster for the coming season. He said that he would be willing to redo his contract, which calls for him to make $4.25 million this year. That’s fine but I think that the organization will look at the 32 games he missed in the last three seasons combined and decide that they can’t keep a player that they can’t rely on at any price.
—How hot is Jay Gruden’s seat in 2017? Assuming he keeps his quarterback, I think that he will be fine with a 10-win season and he will be toast with double-digit losses. The tough call will be if they finish 8-8 or even 9-7 with a playoff miss.
—There was a lot of talk about how the Redskins’ salary cap spending on defense last year ($36 million) was dwarfed by what was spent on offense ($78 million). As of right now, the Redskins’ spending is about even, with $57.3 million going to offense and $59.2 million to defense. We’ll see how even the expenditures wind up being when the season starts in September.
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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. 7 worst play of 2016
Giants at Redskins, Week 17
4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10
Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).
Related: The Redskins week that was
Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.
More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?
Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season.
10 best plays countdown
10 worst plays countdown
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