Quick Links

Redskins dominate in final tune-up

Redskins dominate in final tune-up

While a number of Redskins might jump each time their phone rings over the next 48 hours, Billy Cundiff wont be sweating Fridays final cuts.

The only kicker on the roster after he was signed Tuesday after Graham Gano was released, Cundiff said his focus is on developing chemistry with long snapper Nick Sundberg and Sav Rocca before the regular season opener in New Orleans on Sept. 9.

Cundiff was pleased with his debut Wednesday at FedEx Field, where he went 3 for 4 on field goal attempts in a 30-3 victory over Tampa Bay in the preseason finale for both teams.

The former Raven connected on kicks of 39, 27 and 22 yards, while missing from 46. He also made all three extra points and was credited with touchbacks on five of his six kickoffs.

Disappointed about the miss, but all things considered, we had four reps in practice yesterday and pre game today, he said. Theres definitely some things we have to iron out with the rhythm, getting used to each other.

As for the positions that remain undecided, heres a quick rundown of the latest developments:

Bank it: Wide receiver Brandon Banks likely helped his chances of making the 53-man roster. He had a 47-yard reception, took a reverse 43 yards and averaged 13.2 yards on five punt returns. But he also muffed a punt and fumbled a handoff.

No, Banks said, asked if hes going to be nervous Friday as teams cut down from 75 to 53 players. I think I put enough on film to still have a job somewhere. If not here, somewhere else.

Asked about his diving catch on the long third-quarter pass from Kirk Cousins, Banks said: I had opportunities, and I made the best of it. It felt good to finally catch a ball and show Im capable of going deep as a wide receiver.

Defensive MVP: Rookie corner back Richard Crawford had a tackle, defended a pass and made his second interception of the preseason in the third quarter. Crawford challenged Tiquan Underwood on a deep pass and pulled the ball away from Bucs wide receiver.

Im new to this business, so I dont really have a confidence level, Crawford said of making the team. Ill be by my phone.

Crawford sustained a sprained right knee but returned to the game and later reported that hes a little sore but fine.

Offensive MVP: Roy Helu Jr., who missed the past two games with sore Achilles tendons on both legs, rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 34 yards.

Injuries have muddled the running back position, but it appears likely that Coach Mike Shanahan will keep four running backs: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Alfred Morris and Helu.

Uncertain future: Like a number of Redskins, the next day and a half figures to be excruciating for wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Dezmon Briscoe.

Armstrong caught two passes for 61 yards and received ample time on special teams, while Briscoe did not enter the game until the second half and did not play on special teams as much as he had hoped.

This has been crazy, Armstrong said of the competition at wide receiver. Theres talent from the top to the bottom, which is going to make for some difficult decisions.

Briscoe added: Im not really too confident on whether Im going to make it or not. I wasnt really part of the rotation on special teams.

Injury report: Royster started the game at running back but was removed after suffering what Shanahan called a little sprained neck. He did not appear to be injured seriously as he exited the dressing room afterward. Running back Tristan Davis sprained his right knee in the first quarter on special teams and did not return.

Rough day: For perhaps the first time in NFL history, a review ended up getting looked at again by the replacement officials. Following a lengthy review to check the correct spot of the ball, referee Jim Core announced to the crowd: Were going to look at it one more time. The sparse crowd booed.

Quick Links

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

DON’T MISS OUT - #REDSKINSTALK PODCAST PARTY APRIL 5 AT PENN QUARTER SPORTS TAVERN!

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!

 

Quick Links

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

RELATED: PRESTON SMITH ENTERING VITAL YEAR