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Taylor Must Sit

Taylor Must Sit

Taylor Should Sit

I was going to write an entry strongly questioning Joe Gibbs’ decision to bench Sean Taylor for Sunday’s upcoming game. DWI is a serious offense besides being a dangerous, dumb thing to do. However, it’s not like he robbed a bank or committed a violent act (albeit the potential for a violent collision in the car is certainly present when driving impaired). His violation of the law is a matter that will be dealt with by the law. My original line of thinking was that the authorities should be the ones to punish Taylor, not Joe Gibbs and the Redskins.

I mean, most of us would be permitted to return to work without penalty after such an incident. Why not Taylor?

As more details of what happened yesterday came to light, though, it became apparent that the decision to make Taylor inactive for the Packer game was the right thing to do.

In politics, they say that what gets officials into hot water isn’t whatever wrong doing they may commit, it’s the cover up. Taylor’s problem wasn’t so much the DWI, but what he did—or didn’t do—afterwards. He was arrested at about 2:45 AM and after being booked and posting his bond, he was released from the Fairfax County jail at about 10 AM.

At that time of day, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Redskins Park at the most. Perhaps he might have wanted to duck in to Fair Oaks Mall and get a change of clothes, so add 15 minutes. Regardless, he could be at Redskins Park by 11 AM. But as of the time that practice ended at 1:30 PM, Gibbs said that he hadn’t heard from Taylor.

"I haven't had a chance to talk with him. In fact, we don't know where he is," Gibbs said at the time. "He wasn't here for practice today. I think it's a serious thing. We'll just have to deal with it as best as we can."

Even if for some reason he couldn’t make it to practice, there’s a new invention called a telephone that he could have used to notify the team that he was alive, if not doing so well.

The bottom line is that Taylor was absent from practice without having been excused. Whether the absence is due to having been in the drunk tank or simply having overslept, there must be consequences. Assuming that Gibbs enforces the same standard in the future—you miss practice, you sit out the game—then it was the only way to go.

October 28, 2004

The “In’s” Root For the Skins

I wanted to get to this before the rest of the media did, but it’s too late. Since I didn’t talk about it first, I’ll have to do it better.

“It” is the streak involving the result of presidential elections and the fortunes of the Washington Redskins. I’ve received a few emails about it and why not do what the Redskins beat reporters have done and rip out a thousand words or so on the subject.

For those of you who have not yet heard of the phenomenon, here’s the deal: In every presidential election since the Redskins moved to Washington in 1937, the result of the team’s last home game before the quadrennial vote has been the same as the result of the incumbent party in the White House. In other words, if the Skins win that last home game before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in leap years, the party in power in the executive branch has remained in power. If Washington does not protect its house in that game, the incumbent party loses the house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Again, you’re probably read the generalities of all of this in other places. What you don’t get elsewhere are the details. That’s why I’m here:

    • 11/2/40—Frankie Filchock and Sammy Baugh team up to go 14 for 15 passing to lead the Redskins over the Steelers 37-10. Two days later President Franklin D. Roosevelt easily defeats Wendell Willkie 449 electoral votes to 82.

    • 11/5/44—Washington was outgained by the Cleveland Rams 407 yards to 197 but they scored two TD’s in a four-play span in the second quarter to pull out a 14-10 win. FDR’s win was not as close as he outgained Thomas Dewey 53% to 45% and out scored him 432-99 in the stat that counts, the Electoral College.

    • 10/31/48—This one was close in the early going, but a 14-14 tie at the end of the first ended in a 59-21 Redskins win. The election was much closer and Dewey didn’t defeat Truman much to the chagrin of the Chicago Tribune and others as the incumbent won 303-189.

    • 11/2/52—Washington’s attempted fourth quarter rally fell a point short at the Steelers won 24-23. Adali Stevenson didn’t show nearly as much game, trailing Dwight Eisenhower all the way in a 442-89 loss.

    • 10/21/56—This was the first time that the Redskins didn’t have a home game on the Sunday immediately preceding the general election. Sixteen days before election day Eddie LeBaron led the Redskins past the Browns 20-9. Ike beat Stevenson in the rematch by over 9 million popular votes and an electoral count of 457-73.

    • 10/31/60—The first of 17 consecutive losses of two seasons for coach Mike Nixon’s Redskins came at the hands of Cleveland 31-10. The loser for the GOP was another Nixon, Richard, by a much closer margin to John F. Kennedy. 303-219.

    • 10/25/64—Sonny Jurgensen’s fourth touchdown pass of the day went to tight end Pres Carpenter with a minute left to play. Lyndon Johnson didn’t have to sweat out his win over Barry Goldwater nearly as much with an electoral tally of 486-52.

    •10/27/68--Jurgensen had one of his worst days as a pro, going 7 for 25 passing but Washington hung close and nearly rallied before losing to the Giants 13-10. Dick Nixon’s comeback, on the other hand, was a success as he beat Vice President Hubert Humphrey 301-191 in a contest that was much closer than the final score indicated.

    • Finally, a significant game to talk about. Larry Brown had one his greatest days as a Redskin as Washington rallied to beat Dallas 24-20. Nixon, who had suggested plays to coach George Allen the previous season, rode to coattails of the Washington win to a 520-17 trashing of George McGovern.

    • 10/31/76—Pete Wysocki, out of Michigan, was blocking as Eddie Brown returned a punt for Washington’s only score in a 20-7 loss to Washington. Former Wolverine football player Gerald Ford, who finished up for Nixon after his term expired before the end of regulation, also lost. Jimmy Carter won 297-240.

    • 11/2/80—The Redskins started a five-game losing streak that knocked them out of playoff contention by falling to the Vikings 39-14. The Republicans launched a three-election streak for the White House with the Gipper, Ronald Reagan, routing Carter 489-89.

    • 11/5/84--In a Monday night game that ended as election day was dawning, the defending NFC champion Redskins prevailed over Atlanta 27-14. Reagan had a much easier time with Fritz Mondale, defending his office by a score of 525-13.

    • 11/6/88—Politicians are infamous for using dirty tricks to win elections and Dexter Manley pulled one off to help his Redskins win. The Saints were in position to kick a game-clinching field goal, but their tackle Jim Dombrowski took a swing at Manley and the ensuing 15-yard penalty put the kick out of Morten Anderson’s range. It turns out that Manley had spit (he says he “sneezed”, but we know better) in Dombrowski’s face to provoke the punch and the Skins won 27-24. Some would say that the Willie Horton ads were the political equivalent of Dexter’s expectoration as it helped George H. W. Bush rolled up a 426-111 win over Michael Dukakis.

    • 11/1/92—The New York Giants had possession for nearly 40 minutes and ground out a 24-7 win over Washington. The incumbent Super Bowl champs were on their way out as was President Bush the elder. Bill Clinton won as convincingly as the Giants had 370-168.

    • 10/27/96—The Redskins ran their record to 7-1 with a 31-16 win over the Colts. The early returns from the season had them projected as the winner of a playoff spot but they would later collapse and finish out of the money. Clinton also won easily over Bob Dole, 379-159. He would encounter some rough sledding later on, too.

    • 10/30/00—The Tennessee Titans built up an early lead and held off the Redskins for a 27-21 win. Tennessean Al Gore rallied from behind and took George W. Bush into overtime before losing by one fewer than the Redskins did, 271-266.

Of course, it’s all ridiculous. There is no possible cause and effect here, just a crazy coincidence. There will be a lunar eclipse tonight and the Boston Red Sox may win their first World Series since 1918. Should it happen, there will be exactly the same linkage between those events as there is between gridiron results and hanging chads—none.

Still, it’s a coincidence that defies the odds and it’s something to talk about. No doubt, Skins fans who lean to the right will be rooting extra hard for a Redskins win. While very few wearers of the burgundy and gold who are Democrats will actually be rooting for the Packers on Sunday, they might find some consolation here should the Skins lose.

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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