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Redskins report card vs. Ravens—Crowder, Norman among aces


Redskins report card vs. Ravens—Crowder, Norman among aces

Here are grades for various units, players, and other elements of yesterday’s win over the Ravens:

Grade A

WR/PR Jamison Crowder— The importance of his 85-yard punt return is obvious. He also had a hand in the other Redskins’ touchdown when he caught a 23-yard pass from Cousins to get the drive started.

ILB Mason Foster—He was literally all over the field, making plays in coverage out near the numbers and making tackles in the box.

Luck—They really didn’t do much positive on one of their biggest plays of the game, the interception that C. J. Mosley fumbled out of the end zone. It also helped that Steve Smith exited the game with an ankle injury in the first half and did not return. And the early snap in the fourth quarter that bounced off of Cousins had disaster written all over it.

Josh Norman—He wasn’t following Smith before his former teammate exited the game with a foot injury. Flacco threw just three of his 46 passes in his direction, completing one for nine yards.

Pierre Garçon—He made a few nice grabs, including one for the Redskins' only offensive touchdown.

Grade B

Special teams—I was going to give them an A but with a missed extra point I just couldn’t even though the wind was a big factor.

Offensive line—They did a good job protecting Kirk Cousins, allowing only one sack to a team that had averaged better than two per game going in. Their run blocking was just OK, clearing room for some good runs but an average of just 3.0 yards per carry.

Defensive line—Yeah, they should thank the Ravens for calling only eight running plays for the last three quarters of the game. But they did a good job clogging the line and getting pressure on Joe Flacco.

Grade C

Offensive play calling—The run-pass got a little out of whack with 42 passes called and 19 runs (not counting late Cousins kneel down from victory formation) in what was a close game throughout. It should be noted that Cousins threw six passes after the Redskins got possession in the last minute of the first half so that skewed the numbers some plus they were only getting 3 yards a pop on the ground. And while I liked the several times they went deep on third or fourth and one it was kind of futile to do it when the wind was such a factor.

Kirk Cousins—He threw some head-scratching passes and the interception was nearly a disaster. He did redeem himself with some nice throws; you won’t see many better than the TD pass to Pierre Garçon, the definition of a dime.

Matt Jones—The lost fumble could have been huge but the D got the stop and special teams stopped the fake field goal attempt. He only gained 30 yards on the ground but he didn’t have much running room. Adding 22 yards on three receptions saved his grade.

Tress Way—Two touchbacks, one of them from near midfield, is unacceptable for Way, who may have had some problems with the win.

I didn't include everything here, give me your grades in the comments.

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Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual playoff contenders. The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart. Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Today we’ll look at the offense and project the defense in the next couple of days.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins*
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

It’s not a sure thing that Kirk Cousins will be back under center but it’s very much more likely than not, either with a new long-term contract or via the franchise tag. McCoy is under contract and will continue to be the backup. I think they are happy with Sudfeld as their developmental guy although I wouldn’t be shocked if Scot McCloughan decided that a quarterback is the best available player sometime in the fifth round in April.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

Running backs: Rob Kelley
Backups: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, draft pick

Gruden gave Kelley a vote of confidence in his final press conference but that could be fluid. If Jones can get things straight between his ears he has the physical tools to be a very good running back but they can’t count on that. There is some talk that the Redskins will look to take a back in the middle rounds if they can find one with some impact.

Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon*, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver),
Backups: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris

Right now, it looks like it’s slightly better than 50-50 that Garçon will be back. If he’s not they will have to sign a starter in free agency; as we found out last year, you can’t count on a rookie receiver to produce, even if you take one high in the draft. If McCloughan does take a receiver in the later stages of the draft he likely will replace Grant, not Harris.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis*, Niles Paul

It seems likely that Davis will re-sign, although since it could be his last NFL contract I don’t think he will give the Redskins much of a hometown discount. The organization will pay, however, as it is apparent that the need a quality backup for Reed. I’m on the fence about Paul. On the one hand, I could see the organization looking for an alternative since he has finished each of the last two seasons on injured reserve. But he’s the kind of guy that McCloughan likes to have on the team.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, C John Sullivan*, 1-2 free agents/draft picks

Could it be that the Redskins are nearly set on the O-line with the exception of some parts further down the depth chart? Nsekhe is a restricted free agent and he will be back either on the tag or with a new contract. Maybe Kouandjio can challenge Lauvao for the starting job but both are likely to be on the 53. If they move on from Kory Lichtensteiger to save $3.5 million in cap room and if Sullivan opts to try to find a starting job elsewhere they could find a veteran center to back up Long.

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

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Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 16, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL draft 101
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of thoughts to start out the week

1. I think that by the end of the week the Redskins will have two new coordinators. It looks like Matt Cavanaugh will be the offensive coordinator. Haven’t heard why Bill Callahan isn’t getting the nod; it’s possible that he likes what he’s doing now and he’s getting paid as well as many coordinators.

2.  For a quick game with the $100 in imaginary casino chips on the defensive coordinator candidates, I’ll make Greg Manusky the favorite at $40 with Mike Pettine right behind him at $35. I’ll put $10 of the rest on Gus Bradley—we’ve heard of an interview with the Chargers but not anything like a hiring—and $15 on the field. The situation is fluid but that's the way it looks right now. 

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

3. On November 21, after the results of Week 11, the Redskins were 2.5 games ahead of the Packers. They were also a half-game better than of the Falcons. Those two teams are now playing for the NFC title. It’s not how you start, or even how you do in the middle of the season. It’s how you finish.

4. I’m not much of a hockey guy but I think I’ve got to get down to the Verizon Center to see the Caps. They are blazing hot and you can tell it’s a great atmosphere at the VC.

5. I have a feeling that an announcement about a new stadium for the Redskins is going to happen sometime in the next few months. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe can’t run again; he is out of office about a year from today. He’s going to want a legacy item and a state of the art stadium in the commonwealth would fill the bill. The process of approval, financing, and construction will take up most or all of the 10 years that remains on the FedEx Field lease.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

6. Normally having a lot of cap space to work with is a good thing but it may not be for Scot McCloughan this year. If the Redskins trim some veterans from the payroll they could go into free agency with around $70 million to spend. McCloughan would prefer to build through the draft. But the current situation almost forces the Redskins to spend. McCloughan took some heat for going into the 2016 season with $15 million in cap space and some unfilled needs on the defensive line and at safety. If they have issues again in 2017 and there is, say, $30 million just sitting there the noise will get louder. And it won’t just be coming from fans and the media; plenty of it will come from the offices of Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

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