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Redskins at Midseason: State of the Team

Redskins at Midseason: State of the Team

At 5-3 at the midway point of the 2005 season, the Redskins aren’t exactly sitting pretty, but they’re not sitting Roseanne Barr either. By virtue of their Week 2 win over Dallas, they would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The season doesn’t end today and that’s a good thing for the Redskins. At this point in time, most of the national scribes and talking heads out there don’t have the team on their short list of NFC Super Bowl contenders and it’s difficult to make the case that they are among the elite teams in the conference.

They would be up there with the likes of the Panthers, Falcons, and Giants if not for that one black mark on their resume, the 36-0 loss in the Meadowlands. Of course, that’s like saying that the Titanic’s maiden voyage would have been a great success if it hadn’t been for that darn iceberg.

Unlike the Titanic, however, the Redskins are not sunk. They are 5-1 in the NFC and 2-1 in the NFC East. They own the only road win in the division so far, their 14-13 win in Dallas in Week 2. Their only remaining division road contest is in Philadelphia on the last day of the regular season. The toughest part of their schedule is behind them. After having played seven of their first eight games against teams with winning records, the only winning teams the Redskins face in the next five weeks are this Sunday against the Bucaneers, 5-3 but losers for three of their last four, and the 5-4 Chargers at FedEx Field on November 27.

While the Redskins get a break from division play, in the next five weeks there will be four games with the Cowboys, Giants, or Eagles playing each other. Dallas plays its first division road game in Philly this Monday night and still has to go to New York and Washington on top of having to face Denver, Kansas City, and Carolina. The Giants travel to Seattle and host KC in addition to games in Philadelphia and Washington.

It’s pretty easy to see the Redskins going into their final three games of the season, at home against Dallas and the Giants and at Philadelphia, with their playoff fate firmly in their own hands.

What do the Redskins need to do to elevate themselves into the mix of teams with a chance of playing in February? Certainly, continued good health is a must. Improvement in two other areas would go a long way towards getting him there.

First, they have to get some more turnovers, interceptions to be more precise. They have just four this year. You need more than one every two games. Second, they have to kill the clock at the end of games. A holding call that Joe Gibbs said he didn’t see cost the Redskins an opportunity to kill the last six minutes or so last Sunday night, but, still, you can’t let things like that get in the way. You can’t rely on a last-second turnover like they got against the Eagles on Sunday and against the Bears in the season opener to preserve the win.

If they can tighten those areas up, they might not only be using the “p” word, as in playoffs, but the “s” word, as in super.

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

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

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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