RICHMOND—The Redskins and their fans should get a glimpse of what might have been on Thursday when Jake Locker starts at quarterback for the Titans.
Going into the 2011 draft, there was plenty of chatter that Mike Shanahan was enamored with the athletic Locker going back to the quarterback’s sophomore year with the Washington Huskies. The Redskins held the tenth pick in the draft and there seemed to be a very good chance that Locker would be there when the Redskins’ turn came up.
But it didn’t happen. The Titans had the eighth pick and they decided to make him the quarterback of their future. The Redskins ended up trading back and taking Ryan Kerrigan. They would get their QB of the future in 2012.
Locker played in five games as a rookie, mostly late in games where the outcome had been decided. He entered last year as a starter but he missed five games with a shoulder injury.
The 6-foot-3 Locker had an up and down 2012 season with 10 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a decidedly mediocre passer rating of 74.0. He rushed for 41 times for 291 yards.
There is talk that Locker will run some read option this year to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. In the spring, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said that the Titans will "have a lot more things for Jake ... and you want defenses to worry about those types of things."
It is unlikely that we will see much of any new wrinkles the Titans might have for Locker in the first preseason game, but Locker could scramble a time or two in the few series he’ll be in the game. That will give us a glimpse of what might have been here.
The Redskins, of course, limped through the 2011 season with Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback and traded up to get Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft. We’ll never know what might have happened if the Titans had passed on Locker and he had been on the board when the Redskins’ selection came up two picks later. But we’ll get a quick look at the possibility on Thursday.
Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.
Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.
“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.
But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?
Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?
It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”
There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it.
MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington
Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:
- If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
- Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
- Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden.
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