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Should the Redskins Punt Their Kicker?

Should the Redskins Punt Their Kicker?

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at rtandler@comcast.net

On the list of players that the Redskins will take a hard look at cutting in their efforts to trim enough salary money to get under the cap is kicker John Hall. His cap number for 2006 is $1.4 million and waiving him would save a net of $780,000. That’s not a huge amount, but three quarters of a million bucks here and there and pretty soon we’re talking about some real money.

Should the Redskins make this move and release Hall, who turns 32 on St. Patrick’s Day?

If it’s strictly a money decision, the answer is probably not. Again, his cap number is fairly significant, but it’s not like the team can go without a kicker on its roster counting something against the cap. A big-name replacement such as the Colts’ Mike Vanderjagt or the Patriots’ Adam Vinatieri would almost certainly count more against the cap than does Hall. Even a lesser veteran such as San Francisco’s Joe Nedney wouldn’t offer much in terms of savings if any at all.

The other route to replace Hall would be to get a few younger legs and let them battle it out in camp. That’s a high-risk strategy, but it’s the only one that will save any significant money.

So, do you get rid of Hall because of performance reasons? The last image of Hall for the 2005 season was him going wide left with a 36-yard field goal that would have brought the Redskins within four of the eventual NFC champion Seahawks in the fourth quarter of their divisional playoff game. That and the five games he missed with a leg injury tend to make many view him as a liability.

What those people forget is that he missed just two field goals during the regular season. To be sure, one was a potential game-winner in the fourth quarter against San Diego, but that was a 52-yard attempt, an iffy proposition for most kickers. He’s not one of these tiny guys who are afraid of contact; he wears a defender’s burgundy jersey at practice while his fellow kickers don the traditional white of offensive players. It’s part of his linebacker mentality.

So the choices are these—pay more for a “star” kicker, go into the large pool of untested kickers and hope you strike gold like the Cardinals did with Neil Rakers or stick with the flawed but known quantity in Hall.

The view here is that, barring some change in the labor agreement that creates some money for the Redskins to go after the likes of Vinatieri, the Redskins are better off sticking with Hall. He’s on a very short list of players I’d like to see attempting a 40-yarder in December to get into the playoffs and the only one that the team can reasonably afford.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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