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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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?


Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.


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!