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Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Seen on the way in, the perfect solution for those of you who have the dilemma of picking a player’s jersey to wear. This fan had what looked like your standard replica jersey, except there were four numbers sewn to the back: 28, 17, 81, and 33. A good way to pay tribute to four Redskins legends.

On the first play, Ladell Betts drove the pile for a gain of five, again showing the power that he’s been exhibiting during camp. The Redskins have a solid 1-2 punch at running back

Ramsey’s lack of calm in the pocket and touch on the ball on the first series gets him a smattering of boos as he left the field after the first series. Who said that the NFL fan, circa 2005, isn’t rational?

Not good for Andy Groom to airmail a punt from his own 48 about 8 yards deep into the end zone. It would have been a great kick from his own 20. Midfield is a great spot for a punter to pooch it and Groom lacked that touch.

Lemar Marshall had great technique on the opening play, waiting for Rudi Johnson on an off-tackle for no gain.

Betts is a North-South runner. He lost one yard when he tried to go wide on second down. While he has some speed, he needs to use it after going through the hole straight ahead, not moving laterally.

Groom booms one 50 and hangs it up there for the coverage, who tackle the returner for a loss of one.

Another example of a runner who needs to stick with North-South is Cincy’s Rudi Johnson. On one play he kept trying to bounce a run outside and wound up with a bigger and bigger pack of Redskin tacklers in front of him every time. He wound up losing 10.

A horrible throw by Palmer leads to Carlos Rogers’ first NFL interception (not that it counts, this being preseason). Rogers showed some speed during his 30-yard return, but unrefined running skills. He appeared to have clear sailing up the sideline.

Rollout, throwback, reminiscent of Mark Rypien in his prime, from Ramsey to James Thrash for a Redskins TD from 25 yards out. Is that the one play that Ramsey needs to get it going? The first player out to congratulate Ramsey with a high-ten was Mark Brunell.

Thrash celebrated the touchdown by lining up on the kickoff team and sprinting all the way into the end zone to make sure that the returner kneeled down for a touchback.

Carson Palmer has had two nice scrambles for first downs, but I’m not so sure that Marvin Lewis is all the excited about it. The #1 overall pick a couple of years ago is wearing a knee brace, having missed the last three games of last year with an injury to that joint. Not only that, but Carlos Rogers nearly took his head off just before Palmer went into the slide move on the first scramble.

Second Quarter

Derrick Dockery just made a Bengal cornerback disappear when pulling on an off-tackle by Betts. The massive guard didn’t pancake number 34 as much as simply engulf him.

Yep, it just took one. Ramsey couldn’t have gone up and placed the ball in Daveid Patten’s hands any better on a 46-yard hookup deep into Bengal territory. Patten had half a step and Ramsey put the ball just beyond the defender’s reach.

That is followed up by a bad interception, with Ramsey throwing in the end zone to a tightly-covered Kevin Dyson. He got a little too cocky, perhaps.

They’ve got Carlos Rogers covering Chad Johnson, who is still in the game midway through the second quarter. Johnson beats him with a move to the sideline to pick up a first. Next play, Rogers is on Houshmandzadeh, who drops a TD pass. After that, he’s on Kelly Washington, who again beats Rogers and this time the receiver caught the ball for a 45-yard TD (who put on one of the most obnoxious dance displays ever, going on for about 15 seconds to celebrate a touchdown in an exhibition game).

Following the point after, Gregg Williams met Rogers at the sideline and offered him some advice that seemed to be neither particularly friendly nor particularly harsh. LaVar Arrington came over offered Rogers some words of encouragement.

Antonio Brown didn’t seem to exhibit much in the way of being able to make tacklers miss against the Panthers last week. Tonight, he’s showing a nice ability to chance both direction and speed to elude tacklers.

The good and the bad from Ramsey again. Drops in a nice one to Patten for 33 yards and then throws another horrid INT. After the pick, Ramsey and the other QB’s huddle with Bill Musgrave, looking at what likely was a high-level snapshot of the play.

Palmer had another chance to scramble, but he wisely threw the ball 15 yards out of bounds. It appears that Lewis had a little chat with him.

The Bengals aren’t holding much back on offense—five WR sets, quick-pitch plays, a little swing pass where the receivers cleared out the left side and Palmer dropped it into a running back, a shovel pass for a touchdown--the works.

For most of the second quarter it has been the Bengals’ first offense against the Redskins’ second defense and Washington’s first offense against Cincy’s first defense.

Kelly Washington caught a three-yard pass from Palmer. Fortunately, it was inside the two-minute warning and he had to get lined up, so we were spared the dance that surely would have ensured otherwise.

Groom did do a nice job of holding for John Hall on a field goal try that was just like an extra point. The ball was a bit inside, but Groom handled it and got the ball down in plenty of time.

Third Quarter:

Some dumb football by the Redskins early in the third. Khary Campbell made a nice hit to force a fumble and Clifton Smith, rather than falling on the ball, tried to scoop it up at about knee level. He never got the handle and ex-Redskin Larry Moore recovered the ball. After that, Chris Clemons hit John Kitna when the quarterback was almost on the far side of the wide white stripe that is the sideline. Combine those two and instead of Washington driving for a score Cincinnati has a first down near midfield. That’s the stuff that drives all coaches, particularly Gibbs, absolutely crazy.

Gibbs went for it on fourth and one at the Bengal 31, figuring that his first-team offensive line should be able to push back the Cincinnati backups on the line. A defensive tackle got penetration, though, and Cartwright never had a chance and lost four.

After that initial boomer into the end zone, Groom has been booming them from better spots on the field, just launching one 52 yards. He’s still a long shot to make the team, but he’ll be playing in the NFL somewhere soon.

Omar Stoutmire had a good chance at a highlight-reel hit on a pass over the middle, but he ducked out of it and allowed a first-down completion. He’s a veteran who needs to make those plays if he wants to snag that last safety spot.

Ade Jimoh has made a couple of nice open-field tackles, but he just can’t blitz to save his life. Last week he missed the tackle on the quarterback, tonight he seemed to have an open lane to Craig Krenzel but instead looped outside and never got near him as the quarterback converted on third and eight.

Fourth Quarter:

The Redskins are getting killed on third downs. Through three quarters the Bengals are 11 of 16 on third down conversions.

Brunell made a good arm pass to Antonio Brown. With a defender preventing him from stepping into the throw, he zipped the ball in to Brown for 12 yards.

Manny White lined up at fullback and made a classic lead block to move Broughton from the Bengal nine down to the three. White kicked out the linebacker trying to fill the hole and Nemo cut right off of his butt and rumbled down to the three. Broughton scored on the next play.

Robert McCune made an excellent little play on a run up the middle. He got into the backfield and had nobody between himself and Kenny Watson. Instead of going for the kill, he stood his ground and let Watson make his move and got just enough of a hand on him so that the rest of the defense could gang tackle Watson at the line. It won’t show up on the stat sheet or on ESPN, but it was a smart play.

Three straight drops, by Elliott, Combs, and Farris kill a promising drive to tie the game up. Can’t blame Brunell for that one.

Ramsey had more positive plays than Brunell on the night, but the two interceptions were killers. The first one looked just like the Philadelphia game at FedEx last year when he just threw into coverage in the end zone. The second one was just an awful throw. Still, he averaged over 10 yards per attempt on the ones he got to the guys who were wearing the right-colored shirts.

Antonio Brown is going to be dragging tonight. In addition to handling all of the return duties in the first half, he’s been lined up at receiver virtually every play since early in the second quarter. It seems like they’re trying to make sure he picks up the finer points about

Broughton just put a damper on an otherwise great evening by fumbling away the Redskins’ last chance to tie it up.

Gibbs was visibly agitated about the turnovers during his post-game press conference. There was an edge to his voice that has rarely been heard in public. The audio clip will be up in a little while.

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

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Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

With the offensive and defensive coordinators now in place, the Redskins now turn their attention to two other matters.

One is the NFL combine, which gets underway on February 28. The other is the NFL franchise tag deadline, which happens to come the very next day, on March 1.

There has been plenty of talk lately about the possibility of the Redskins giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag designation and then trading him if they don’t think that they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

While one team, the 49ers, has been talked about as a potential landing spot for Cousins they would not be the only interested team if there is going to be a deal.

Let’s take a look at what teams might be moderately interested or highly interested.

RELATED: GRUDEN'S FATE WITH REDSKINS HINGES ON MANUSKY

49ers (2-14)
Head coach:
Vacant, but will be Kyle Shanahan after the Super Bowl
First-round pick: No. 2
2016 leading passer: Colin Kaepernick

Connecting the dots here is easy as Shanahan was the offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted by the Redskins in 2012. There would be no need for the two to get familiar with each other; they had two years to do that. Cousins seems like a natural fit in Shanahan’s offense. The 49ers are likely to move on from Kaepernick rather than taking his $19.4 million cap hit. They may try to move that No. 2 pick, or a package of other picks, to try to get Cousins. Anticipated interest: High

Bears (3-13)
Head coach:
John Fox
First-round pick: No. 3
2016 leading passer: Matt Barkley

This is the year that the Bears can finally move on from Jay Cutler without taking a crippling cap hit. Releasing Cutler, who played in just five games last year due to injury, would cost them just $2 million in dead cap. But do they really want to move on from Cutler, who wasn’t bad the last two years he was able to play? If they do, it seems unlikely that they would part with the No. 3 pick. Anticipated interest: Moderate

RELATED: 2017 MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Jets (5-11)
Head coach:
Todd Bowles
First-round pick: No. 6
2016 leading passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick

In the last four drafts, the Jets have spent a second-round pick on Geno Smith, a fourth on Bryce Petty and a second on Christian Hackeberg. Smith is on his way out, Petty was shaky in four starts last year and Hackenberg didn’t see the field as a rookie. It would not be surprising to see them shop for an established, young-ish starter like Cousins. The No. 6 pick might be too much for Cousins. Another factor to consider is if Cousins would agree to a long-term deal to play in New York. They would have to carve out some cap space to get a deal done; they currently are $7.7 million over the anticipated cap. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Browns (1-15)
Head coach:
Hue Jackson
First-round pick: No. 1 and No. 12
2016 leading passer: Cody Kessler

Robert Griffin III is under contract for 2017 with a $6 million salary plus a $1.5 million roster bonus that the Browns can move on from for a relatively modest $1.75 million cap hit. It would not be outrageous for them to deal the No. 12 pick for Cousins. The question is if Cousins would want to be the latest QB to join the Browns’ Trail of Tears. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Other possibilities: The Cardinals might wonder if Carson Palmer’s slide from MVP candidate to mediocrity will continue and look to bring in an alternative . . . The Broncos can’t be happy with Trevor Simeon as their long-term starter and if they didn’t like what they saw from Paxton Lynch they might want to deal. But John Elway isn’t going to overpay . . . It will be another year before the Texans can move on from Brock Osweiler without a killer cap hit but they could just bench him and bring in their long-term answer a year early . . . Blake Bortles has just one more year left on his rookie deal and the Jaguars may move to get his replacement this year.

Note: The Rams are not mentioned here despite the presence of Sean McVay. They gave up a lot of draft picks to move up to No. 1 overall to take Jarred Goff last year and while he struggled they are not going to move on from him after one season. 

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS FREE AGENTS

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.