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True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

True or False: Kirk Cousins will pass for 5,000 yards in 2017

Some context: Last year, Kirk Cousins fell 83 yards short of putting up the tenth 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history. He has another year of experience under his belt, but he also lost two of his favorite receiving targets in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.

True or false: Kirk Cousins will pass for over 5,000 yards in 2017.

Rich Tandler: False

My gut instinct was to go with “true” here. I think that Cousins is highly capable of passing for 312.5 yards per game, the number needed over 16 games to get to 5,000 for the year.

The missing receivers will be an obstacle, but not one that is insurmountable. Terrelle Pryor can compile something near Garçon’s 1,041 yards. Josh Doctson isn’t the deep threat that Jackson is, of course, but he can get 700 yards and Jamison Crowder can make up the difference. Good quarterbacks make receivers productive and Cousins can do that.

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But while I think Cousins can be efficient when he does pass, I don’t think he will pass as often. He threw 606 times last year, breaking his own team record by almost four passes per game. Meanwhile, the Redskins had the fourth-most efficient rushing game in the league last year but they ran the ball only 379 times, 27th in the NFL.

Armed with Rob Kelley with a season under his belt, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine, and versatile third-down back Chris Thompson, I think that Jay Gruden will look at the big picture and believe that he can get better results with more running and less passing.

I don’t think that there will be a drastic switch in the offensive philosophy, just enough to bring Cousins’ pass attempts down closer to where they were in 2015. If he throws 550 times he would have to average nine yards per pass to get to 5K in the air. He’s good, but that’s Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino territory and I don’t see him getting there.

JP Finlay: False.

Agreeing with Tandler here. Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about how much he likes Rob Kelley and how the Redskins need to have more balance in their offensive attack.

In three years with Gruden as head coach in Washington, Redskins quarterbacks have thrown the ball 547, 555 and 607 times. That progression occured as former offensive coordinator Sean McVay took over play calling and Kirk Cousins' ascended to the top QB spot. Last season's 607 passes is likely too much, and Gruden will probably work to get that total back around the 550 mark.

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Cousins will have another productive year, but I think 4,500 yards will be the path to wins. Last season, Cousins padded some stats in hollow losses. No game stands out more than a Monday night loss to the Panthers. In that game, Cousins threw the ball nearly 50 times and piled up 315 yards. He also threw one interception and no touchdowns. The Redskins lost 26-15, and while the run game was wholly ineffective, the entire offense was shut down by the Carolina defense. 

Gruden wants balance. The Redskins will never be a true 50/50 run/pass split, but expect to see less games with Cousins throwing around 50 times.

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.

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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.

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

The Redskins could be without two key offensive players against the Raiders tonight, according to a report.

According to ESPN, Redskins starting running back Rob Kelley (rib) is unlikely to play and that Jordan Reed (chest) is a game-time decision but it also is probable that he will sit out. Bot players were listed as questionable on the final injury report on Friday.

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Kelley was having a career day against the Rams last Sunday before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib cartilage injury. He practiced on a limited basis all week.

Reed, a key target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, missed some snaps after sustaining the injury to his sternum during the game against the Rams. He was out of practice on Wednesday and limited on Thursday and Friday.

Rookie Samaje Perine saw his first NFL action last week and he likely will get his first NFL start in Kelley’s spot tonight. If Reed can’t play, Vernon Davis will start and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle, who was inactive the first two games, will be in uniform.

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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.