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Redskins Good Luck on Injuries?

Redskins Good Luck on Injuries?

The Redskins announced that kicker John Hall will be placed on injured reserve with a torn quadricep, ending the kickers season. From a Washington Times article: "'You can't imagine [a kicker] having three different injuries,' (Joe) Gibbs lamented.

Hall, who missed just one game in his previous seven seasons with the New York Jets and the Redskins, actually suffered four injuries this year: a strained right hamstring in the opener against Tampa Bay, a strained left hamstring the next week, a pulled groin in practice Oct. 14 and the quadricep last Sunday against Philadelphia. "


Injuries have been cited as a big reason for the team's 4-9 record, but it's my impression that the Redskins haven't suffered substantially more injuries than the average NFL team. Let's look at the projected starters who have lost significant time this season:

  • Jon Jansen--Lost for the season before the first snap was taken. Certainly the biggest loss in terms of time and talent. His replacement Ray Brown has been a great story--the oldest player ever to hold down a regular offensive line position--but his level is play isn't nearly up to Jansen's.
  • Michael Barrow--He finally was placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago after being inactive the whole year. Obviously we don't know what he might have done on the field for the defense, but it's hard to imagine that he would have played significantly better than his replacement, Antonio Pierce.
  • Lavar Arrington--Arrington has missed 10 games with a knee injury. Like Barrow, his injury wasn't supposed to keep him out for this long. Unlike Barrow, he is not on IR and might be active this Sunday, although he will not start; Lemar Marshall will keep his starting job. Like Brown, Marshall has been adequate but there is a considerable dropoff from the level of play from the player he's filling in for.
  • Matt Bowen--He went on IR with a knee injury suffered against Baltimore in the fifth game of the season. Bowen was starting to thrive in Gregg Williams' blitzing, gambling defense. Again, his replacement, Ryan Clark, has been adequate.
  • Phillip Daniels--After coming back from missing several games with a groin injury, Daniels broke his hand against the Giants and is gone for the year. Daniels replacements have been many, including Ryan Boschett and Demetric Evans. All of them, including Daniels, have been adequate, no more, no less.

You can put Hall and kick returner Chad Morton, who went on injured reserve with a knee injury after the Oct. 31 game against Green Bay, onto the list of starters who missed significant time. And then Randy Thomas for a game here, Cornelius Griffin for one there, Shawn Springs for the upcoming game. But that's it.

You'll notice that of the major injuries all but Jansen's happened on the defensive side of the ball. That defense has been the strength of the team all year. It's hard to imagine that the unit would have played significantly better with the missing parts in place. It's been the offense that has struggled.

If you look around the league I don't see how you can call that a rash of injuries. The Giants have 14 players, including all but one of their starting defensive linemen and their number three and four wide receiver, on IR. Carolina lost Steve Smith and Stephen Davis, their top wideout and running back, in the early going. The Eagles lost Correll Buckhalter and others during the preseason and played most of their game against Washington without three of their four starting defensive linemen. New England is so ravaged at defensive back that one of its wide receivers, Troy Brown, is tied for the team lead in interceptions.

There have been some looking-towards-next-year articles written by beat writers over the last few weeks that have said that one reason to expect improvement in 2005 is because the horrible luck the Redskins have had in the injury department is bound to get better. To be sure, there are many reasons for optimism for the future, but the Redskins should expect to deal with the same level of injury issues that they did this year since it was about average in terms of number and impact.

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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