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The Brunell Question

The Brunell Question

Gibbs on Brunell: "In the second half, he had a courageous performance," Gibbs said of Brunell. "I think he made a bunch of plays. I think we need to get everything else on the offense working together, including myself, and I think we can make plays to win games for us." I hate to take you to task, coach, but exactly what plays are you talking about? When I hear the term “making plays”, I think of someone doing something extraordinary. A diving catch. A devastating tackle. A jaw-dropping open field cut. In the case of a quarterback, a particularly nimble move to avoid the rush or dropping a perfectly placed bomb into the only place where the receiver could catch it. Brunell did nothing like that yesterday, so what’s the coach’s definition of “making plays”?

A couple of touchdown passes to Rod Gardner? A quick scan of yesterday’s game summaries shows that Brunell was one of ten quarterbacks who threw for two or more touchdowns and not all of them were Payton Manning. Billy Volek—his nickname is ”Who?”--threw a pair for the Titans. Jake Delhomme, the poster child for “flash in the pan”, tossed two for Carolina. I could keep going through Vinny Testaverde and Drew Brees, but you get the picture.

OK, there’s wasn’t a single other quarterback who completed a pass to convert a fourth and 22. But that wasn’t a particularly challenging pass by any stretch.

The point is that Brunell did nothing special, nothing that would make you say, “You know, he will overthrow the open guy a little too often, but, man, he shows those sparks of greatness that show his tremendous upside.”

Quite to the contrary, watching him play makes you say, “If he reaches his peak, his absolute maximum potential in this offense, he’ll be a mediocre NFL quarterback.”

I’m not completely off of the Brunell bandwagon. There are things wrong with this offense that do not involve Brunell. The offensive line has yet to gel, he’s been victimized by some dropped balls (although I don’t recall any yesterday), the play calling is puzzling a lot of the time, and Portis’ performance still is inconsistent.

Still, the quarterback is the guy who gets the big bucks, the one who’s supposed to lift the team on his shoulders when things aren’t working quite right. And Brunell’s just not doing this.

Gibbs is sticking by his guns, however, come hell or high water. It looks like we’re just going to have to sit back and watch all of this unfold, to watch and see if Brunell can blossom into mediocrity.

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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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