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Need to Know: Will Redskins' tempest carry over into tonight's game?

Need to Know: Will Redskins' tempest carry over into tonight's game?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, November 25, the day the Washington Redskins host the San Francisco 49ers.

What effect will will the controversy have on the field?

Does apparent dysfunction and disarray like the Redskins had this week make it difficult for players to focus on the task at hand? Or does it draw them closer together?

The team has been under fire for about a week and a half. It started out of the blue when Darrell Green questioned the leadership ability of Robert Griffin III despite, as he told Dan Hellie, not knowing anything about the situation.

Then there was the loss to Philly and there is no need to rehash what Griffin, Mike Shanahan, and Santana Moss said over the few days after that. Suffice it to stay that they didn’t appear to be reading from the same book, much less the same page.

For a few days it appeared that the crisis has passed. Griffin said all the right things his Wednesday press conference. Moss blamed the media for the issues. London Fletcher stepped in and praised Griffin.

Move along, nothing to see here.

But the whole thing exploded again on Sunday, when Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported that Griffin had asked that the team not show his negative plays during team film sessions (and that the request was flatly rejected). Shanahan took the unusual step of responding to a media report the day before a game to say that the report was “completely false”.

Silver also reported that some “inside the building” (Redskins Park) say that Griffin appears to be insecure in regards to backup QB Kirk Cousins and that Griffin had talked negatively about Shanahan to his teammates.

What’s the truth? Silver did not stay employed at Sports Illustrated for 13 years and then six more at Yahoo! Sports and then get hired by the NFL Network by making things up. If the story about Griffin not wanting to see what his mistakes in front of the team is false, his source made it up, not Silver.

As far as talking about Mike Shanahan negatively to his teammates, who knows what the heck that means? Was he blowing off some steam about the boss to his co-workers, something that is done daily around every water cooler in virtually every business in the country almost every day? Or was he trying to somehow turn his teammates against the coach? It could have been something in between and there is a lot in there that is pretty innocuous.

Is Griffin worried about Cousins taking his job? He could be, or he could have at least formed a perception in his mind that Cousins is a threat. It’s tough to find much negative there. Athletes find every reason they can to push themselves to practice harder, study that extra hour of film. If Griffin is using Cousins as extra motivation, why not? Some “inside the building” might think it’s odd but if it works for Griffin, who cares?

One aspect of NFL Network report that did not get as much play as the more sensational parts was Ian Rapoport saying that Shanahan and Griffin had met to clear the air and that there was “an air of positivity” after the meeting.

So is this a case of all’s well that ends well? Or are there still issues lingering out there? Most importantly, will all of this make any difference when the Redskins take the field to play the 49ers tonight?

There is the saying that goes, that which does not kill me makes me stronger. The tempest that surrounded the team this week does not appeared to have fractured them. We will see if this will strengthen them in any way, especially if the 49ers prove to be too much for them and they lose their third straight game.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins are tied for fifth in the league with 22 sacks given up. However, they have lost 193 yards on those sacks, more than all but nine teams.

Timeline

—Days until: Giants @ Redskins 6; Chiefs @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Falcons 20

—Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. 49ers 8:30 p.m.

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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