Grade vs. Falcons: C-
Comment: Special teams are about so much more than one player and his ability to kick a ball between the uprights. But for the second straight week, kicker Billy Cundiff is all anyone is talking about.
When Cundiff missed three of four field goal attempts in Tampa the previous week, the veteran said he, long snapper Justin Snow and Sav Rocca needed to fine tune their timing.
A week of practice did not help. Cundiff missed another gimme, this time from 31 yards out. The Redskins lost by seven points, but theres an enormous difference between opening a 10-0 lead at home and handing the ball and a tangible dose of momentum to Ryan. Indeed, 10 plays later Gonzalez was celebrating a one-yard touchdown that sent the Falcons into the locker room tied, 7-7, after a shaky first half on the road.
Cundiff later made a 23-yarder, but his season stats rank at the bottom of the NFL. He is 7 for 12, including only 6 for 9 from 30-49 yards.
Shanahan said the Redskins will work out a number of kickers Tuesday at Redskins Park, where Cundiff will compete with Olindo Mare, Josh Brown and Kai Forbath, according CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora.
Since curing the blocked punt syndrome that struck the team in the first two weeks, the Redskins special teams have been solid. In fact, the team ranks among the leaders in both kickoff and punt coverage.But until theyve got a kicker Cundiff or someone else who can be relied upon to consistently make mid to intermediate range kicks, its hard to grade them any better.
It seems likely the Redskins stand to lose one or both of receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon in free agency. That could mean more than 2,000 yards receiving exiting the offense, a significant blow.
Could Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery come to Washington and cushion the blow?
Multiple reports say that Chicago will not put the franchise tag on Jeffery, which means the 6-foot-4 receiver will hit the open market when free agency opens in a little more than a week. Coming off consectuive injury-marred seasons, still expect the market to be ripe for the former South Carolina star.
RELATED: Could FA Dontari Poe fix the Redskins nose tackle issue?
A five-year veteran that will turn 28 in August, Jeffery posted more than 2,500 receiving yards in the 2013 and 2014 seasons to go with 17 touchdowns. An extremely gifted red zone receiver, Jeffery is one of the best in the league at high-pointing the football and coming down with circus catches. His last two seasons, however, the Bears wideout only played in 21 of 32 games and his numbers dipped dramatically: just over 1,600 yards and six TDs combined.
Though Washington will likely lose at least one of Garçon or Jackson, and very possibly both, that does not necessarily make Jeffery a prime target.
Expect cost to be a major factor as the Chicago receiver will likely command the top free agent payout at the position. And his recent injury history could be a factor as well.
Further, the Redskins must believe they have a No. 1 receiver already in house in Josh Doctson. The No. 22 overall pick in 2016, Doctson hardly played as a rookie due to an Achilles injury but appears to be progressing well in his rehab. At 6-foot-2 and extremely athletic, Doctson was drafted to be a prime red zone target with the ability to go up and get TDs.
<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>
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!
Many Redskins fans have been keeping a close eye on the Chiefs all offseason. Kansas City has two pending free agents in positions that are of great need to Washington. Fans have been watching since January to see what the Chiefs would do with safety Eric Berry and defensive lineman Dontari Poe. They may have their answer.
The organization’s hope was that they could sign one and use the franchise tag on the other. But with the deadline for the tag two days from now and with free agency starting in 10 days, it appears that plan is not going to happen. They are forced to decide and per Ed Werder of ESPN they are going to tag Berry and let Poe test free agency.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0
Poe is a load at 6-3, 348. His impact is hard to measure in numbers; he has just 13 sacks in his five NFL seasons including two in the last two years. The Chiefs first-round pick out of Memphis in the 2012 draft has forced two fumbles and recovered one. But he is exactly what a defense like the Redskins’ 4-3 scheme needs in the middle to eat up double teams and keep blockers off the linebackers. They would go from having had no credible nose tackle in the seven seasons they have been in the 3-4 base defense to having one who at age 26 is of the very best in the league.
The problem with acquiring the best in the business is that you must pay top dollar. The contracts signed by Marcell Dareus of the Bills, a six-year deal with an average annual value of $15.8 million and Fletcher Cox of the Eagles, who signed a six-year extension with an AAV of $17.1, will be used as guidelines for a Poe free agent deal.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
The Redskins possibly could make that work but it would be a stretch. They already have a top-heavy salary structure with their top three players taking up 35 percent of the salary cap. Another cap hit in the $15 million range would put them in a precarious spot.
It seems unlikely that the Redskins will be real players in the Poe sweepstakes but given that he would be a perfect solution to a long-standing problem area it’s worth keeping an eye on the situation.
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.