Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at <a href="
Art Monk, Russ Grimm, and Joe Jacoby have made the first cut on the way to the Hall of Fame. The three Gibbs-era stars are on the list of 25 semi-finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. From the Hall of Fame's website and press release
Modern-Era Semi-Finalists for the Class of 2005 - Pro Football Hall of Fame: "The list of 25 semi-finalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will then increase to 15 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Senior Committee. This year's Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are two of pro football's early pioneers - Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The list of 15 finalists for the Class of 2005 will be announced in mid-January."
The exclusion of Monk, now in his fourth year of elegibility, from the Hall has been a particular sore spot for most Redskins fans. Simply put, it's difficult to explain how the man who once held the NFL records for receptions in a season and receptions in a career can be left out.
This is just my speculation, but there may be a political dynamic in play this year that will help Monk get in. Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, known as "Dr. Z" has made no secret of the fact that he has opposed Monk's entry for a laundry list of reasons. After the selection process last year, Zimmerman resigned from the Veteran's Committee, which picks two nominees from the 1970's and earlier. In doing so, he loudly criticized those on the main selection panel for not enshrining his nominee.
That's not likely to sit well with the panel. They're not likely to be very responsive to the arguements of the the man who threw them under the bus last year, who basically said that they didn't know what they were doing. Perhaps that will give Monk the edge he needs.
It's a shame that you have to discuss the political machinations of the committee instead of Monk's merits in weighing his chances of getting in, but that's what it's come down to. His exclusion clearly isn't on merits, so it must be due to something else.
I don't want to give Grimm and Jacoby the short shrift here and the cases for them will be detailed in this space in the future. Grimm, I think, has an outside shot. Jake is a longer shot. Both are deserving and both should make it eventually although Jacoby likely will have to go via the Veteran's Committee in a decade or so.
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
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:
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
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