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Need to Know: Redskins RB Jones shows impressive speed

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Need to Know: Redskins RB Jones shows impressive speed

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 23, one day before the Redskins travel to play the Giants.

Jones shows surprising speed

Like many people, I was pretty surprised in the first quarter of the Redskins’ game against the Rams when Matt Jones took a handoff from Kirk Cousins, headed down the left sideline and rolled past everyone 39 yards to the end zone. I knew he had good feet and was quick for a guy his size but I never had him pegged as a player with impressive speed. After all, the stopwatch at the NFL Combine timed him at 4.61 in the forty.

But this was some, dare I say it, John Riggins type speed. Back in Riggo’s day there wasn’t any way to quantify how fast players were. But now the NFL has a GPS sensor on every player and they can track the speed of each player. I came across this tweet from Chris Wesseling, a blogger for NFL.com.

In case you don’t know, “DHB” is wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, former of Maryland and the Raiders and currently of the Steelers. So Jones ran faster on the field than anyone on any NFL team in Week 2 with the exception of a speedy wide receiver.

Let’s do some math here. A person traveling at 21.70 m.p.h. will cover 40 yards in 3.77 seconds. Now, that not a legitimate 40 time since it doesn’t count acceleration time, only peak speed. Still, that is flat out moving for any player, let along one who is 6-2 and 230 pounds.

Jay Gruden said that the Redskins saw Jones’ speed on tape when he played for Florida.

“Yeah, he showed that when he burst out in the open field,” said Gruden. “And, you know, big, strong, fast men like that are hard to find. That’s why we’re very lucky to get him when we got him. He does have a rare combination of size and speed and he’s got good vision right now. We’ve just got to keep him going, keep him fresh.”

Jones’ run was the Redskins’ longest touchdown run since Robert Griffin III bolted 76 yards for six points against the Vikings in 2012. Jones doesn’t possess that kind of speed but he could turn out to be a special player if the Redskins find the right way to utilize that rare speed and size combination.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough before traveling to New York; no availability

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 1; Eagles @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Falcons 18

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!