Quick Links

NFC East roundup: Giant pains for New York?

617766.jpg

NFC East roundup: Giant pains for New York?

Not that Redskins nation will have any sympathy, but the Giants have their own batch of walking wounded, most notably running back Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), right tackleDavid Diehl (knee) and Hakeem Nicks (foot). Then again, at this point neither starter is at this moment out for the season, hence the no sympathy from the Orakpo-Carriker loving locals (not to mention, hello, we're talking about an NFC East team).Both Bradshaw and Diehl missed the Giants' Tuesday morning practice as the team prepares for Thursday's game at Carolina. Diehl's MCL injury likely keeps out of action, especially on a short week, meaning the Panthers would go with31-year-old ex-Redskin Sean Locklear. After tweaking his previously injured right foot against the Bucs, Nicks also skipped practice, butis expected to play against Carolina. Fellow receiver Domenik Hixon (concussion) may not be as fortunate.As for those fantasy folk wondering what to do should Bradshaw sit out, the easy answer is pickup free agent Andre Brown, who took over in the win over Tampa Bay. However, Brown, the Giantsthird down, isa rather ordinary talent while the other option, David Wilson, was the Giants first-round pick this year. Unfortunately for the former Virginia Tech star, he found his way into coach Tom Coughlin's doghouse after fumbling in the season opener and has yet to make his way out. Should you own Bradshaw but not Wilson, grab Brown has a hedge if you have roster space, but realize the Giants want Wilson to emerge. That makes both risky plays for Week 3 and thus avoid if you have other options.Speaking of season-ending injuries, the Eagles suffered a key one in Sunday's thrilling win over Baltimore. Philadelphia officially placed center Jason Kelce on injured reserve Tuesday after fully tearing his MCL and partially tearing his MCL, CSNphilly reported.Kelce went from being a sixth round last season to Philadelphia starting center and not in a "well someone has to" sort of way. Now the Eagle, already without Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters for the season, turn to first-year player Dallas Richmond as the guy Michael Vick takes snaps from. Left tackle King Dunlap, Peters replacement,missed chunks of Week 2 with a hamstring injury.Philadelphia next faces fellow undefeated squad, Arizona. The Cardinals put repeated pressure on Tom Brady during last week's upset win over the Patriots.Felix Jones already lost his starting running back job to explosive second-year stud DeMarco Murray. Now, he mightbe saying adios toremaining primary gig. That's what happens when you're the kick returner and promptly fumble the opening kickoff on the road.Jones's gaffe against Seattle led directly to a Seahawks field goal, putting Dallas into an early hole that only got deeper. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett intimated after the loss that he would ponder other return menoptions.Forget just losing another job; some observers are suggesting the under-achievingJones should flat out lose his roster spot.

Quick Links

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!

Quick Links

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!