Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 11: Observations Of The Redskins Vs Packers

Kirk Cousins and Rob Kelley powered the offense behind a effective O-line and timely play calling. The rout of the Packers was a total team effort for a whole 4 quarters. Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Cowboys will be a big test.

 Hail RedskinsNation!!! It's another #VictoryMonday after a 42-24 blowout of the Green Bay Packers on the prime time stage. The Redskins played in my opinion the most complete game of the season, from the play calling, the execution, and the game plan were flawless. The confidence Jay showed in Kirk throwing the ball in those windy conditions paid off big time. I have been critical of Gruden's football I.Q and coaching ability and of Kirk Cousins being the answer for this team. Last night was a major step for this team and that duo. Jay's gutsy 4th and inches call on the Redskins 40 with 5 mins left was a confidence boost for the team and a feather in his coaching cap. Kirk making the throws he made, the control of the offense, his knowledge of the system and his flawless execution has sold me. All I have to say is "Pay that man his money". The defense played its role in the victory also. Ryan Kerrigan got his 8th sack of the season, Josh Norman had a timely forced fumble late in the game, Chris Baker collapsed the pocket frequently and for long stretches of the game had Green Bay on their heels offensively. Now this game wasn't perfect by any stretch but after exorcising the demons of prime time games, (lost 7 straight prime time games) you won't hear me complain this week. The third game in 12 days will be on Thanksgiving versus the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys. A victory on Thursday would no doubt let the league and world know that the Redskins are serious and legit. Be sure to tune in for tonight's episode of Sports On The Hill Podcast starting at 7pm est. Will start talking #Redskins at 8pm est, call in at 347-884-9299 or can stream it live  Now for my observations:

The offensive line deserves a game ball. They protected Kirk well, opened up huge holes for Rob Kelley and controlled the line of scrimmage for the duration of the game. With Trent Williams missing his second game Ty Nsekhe stepped up again by containing Clay Matthews. Bill Callahan deserves plenty of credit for turning this inconsistent line into a dominate unit. The run game and pass protection will be key against Dallas. Controlling the clock and grinding it out will be the recipe for success.

Kirk Cousins has sold me. I've been critical of him and watching his progress throughout the season and after last nights performance, I believe he is the quarterback for this team going forward. His knowledge of the offense, command of his team, his calm demeanor, and his attitude are all things we need in a QB. With a victory against the Cowboys, I believe he would have earned his long term deal. I know it's early and making the playoffs matters but this guy is ready to become a top 5 quarterback in this league. His latest viral quote is "How u like me now!!".....well Kirk.....I like you as my quarterback. This is about the time last season when he got in his zone and went on a offensive tear, looks like we should buckle up and enjoy the upcoming ride...starting Thanksgiving.

I believe the Redskins have solved their red zone issues, I say that because of the undrafted rookie Rob Kelley. His three touchdowns in the red zone, ability to gain positive yards, ball security and north/south running style all compliment this offense. His 66 yard run in the fourth quarter just shows how sticking with the run all game will eventually break a big one. Kelley is getting more and more comfortable being the starter. His production is rising along with his carries, his 137 yards last night just solidified him as the starter. He still has to work on his catching out the backfield, but that will come with more touches.

The depth at the WR/TE position on this team should be considered top quality and one of the best in the league. You can list them from DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder etc etc. This team is deep with skill, size and game breaking ability. With DeSean and Pierre becoming free agents at the end of the season, I'm not sure if either will re-sign with the team. But you also have to remember Josh Doctson is on IR and has the size and speed to be a quality NFL WR (pending his Achilles healing fully). I would like to see one of them return but with Kirk earning his big payday, it might not be in the cards. With Jordan Reed locked in for the next 5 seasons it makes their possible loss not hurt as bad (matchup wise). This unit will only get better with more field experience, being battle tested and Kirk spreading the ball around to all of these weapons, the sky is the limit for this offense.

The defensive front held its own versus the depleted O-line of the Packers. Chris Baker constantly collapsed the pocket an created pressure and got a sack of the elusive Aaron Rogers along with Ryan Kerrigan. The 2 sacks look low for all the pressure that was created, but Rogers is very pocket savvy and definitely made some folks miss on more then one occasion. As long as the line keeps getting pressure the sacks will come. The defense has holes but are making plays when needed. There's room for improvement but they are growing as a unit.

The linebacker corp is becoming one of the more steady units on this team. From the inside playcaller Will Compton to the outside pressure with Ryan Kerrigan, who is leading the team with 8 sacks. Trent Murphy is quietly having a good season and Preston Smith is finding his way with a increased role. Wit 18.5 sacks between those three shows how dynamic they can be even with holes on this defense. The foundation is there to make the LB group one of the best going forward and in the future. The possibility of Junior Galette's return will only bolster this group. It's a long shot that he can come back from two Achilles injuries but it would be a pleasant surprise.

The secondary has taken injury hits all season but it's been next man up and that's whats been happening. With the quality of depth improving, every player that has come in has stepped up in one way or another. Josh Norman had a crucial forced fumble late n the game to help keep the lead an extend it. Su'a Cravens in his hybrid LB/S role is getting more reps and responsibilities. He made some good impact plays but also had a few rookie mistakes. Bashaud Breeland has been playing better and gaining his confidence back. With the coverage being better it leads to more sacks and the more sacks helps the coverage. The defense is finding that balance and it's showing week in week out. The numbers might not be where fans want them...but on the field is what matters.

 After this victory the Cowboys are the next on the schedule for a classic Thanksgiving Day game at 4:30pm. Should be a epic NFC East battle as always. The Redskins have to get the W after losing in week 2 at home to the division leading Cowboys. If the Redskins want to repeat as NFC East Champs, this win is key for that to happen. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8pm for our Redskins coverage. Call in and tell us how you feel about this game and Kirk going forward. Can always call in at 347-884-9299 or stream it live and just listen to us here starting at 7pm: . As always #HTTR4LIFE

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 Mid-Season Thoughts

(Josh Norman has been hunting DBs and making his new team be a winner. Image courtesy of RedskinsGraffix. Please check out more work over @RedskinsGraffix)

We're 4-3!!!!

I still have a hard time grasping that concept as I think about the game on Sunday and look back at the first seven games of the season.

Seriously, think about it for a second.

The Washington Redskins have played seven games and have a winning record. Heck, there's a good chance that they enter the BYE week with a 5-3 record. Two games above .500!!!

I know what you're thinking. "So what? We had a winning record in 2015 and 2012."

True. But in both of those season, the Redskins were 3-4  through seven games. The last time the Redskins had a record above .500 through seven, Jim Zorn was the head coach.

Jim F***ing Zorn (Hip, Hip, Hooray!)

Look, it's a pretty big accomplishment. I know the Browns are looking well, like the Browns and the Ravens are having an off year but the Giants and Eagles are playing well at the moment. The NFC East is back and pretty dominant with it being the only division where no team has a losing record. So as we get ready for a London game, let's take a look back at the 2016 season. What has made this team good? What has made this team look dreadful? Where is this team going this year and what's to come in 2017 and beyond? It's time for some Mid-Season analysis Good, Bad and Ugly style.

The Good

1.  Josh Norman
Sometimes when you are trying to change a team's culture from accepting losing to becoming winners, it helps to have someone who knows what it's like to win and what it takes to get there. The Redskins jumped at the chance to get a player like Josh Norman who could bring that attitude to the team. While many in the national media (and non-Redskins fans) claimed that this was another classic Dan Snyder move, the 'Skins fans trusted the wisdom of GM Scot McCloughan and rarely has Scot made a wrong move in his tenure.

Norman has gotten into the heads of some of the best WRs currently in the game. He has made an impact on the field whether he's covering a player or stripping out a ball. Teams do have to game plan for him and it's clear that he makes his teammates around him better. I love the chip on his shoulder and despite being hounded by the NFL each and every week, he brings a flare to the game that makes it fun to watch.

2. Halftime Adjustments
When I think of Joe Gibbs as a coach, the first thing I think of is his ability to make adjustments in a game. It was damn near impossible to beat Gibbs 1.0 teams once they figured out your game plan and how to counter it. What always drove me nuts about Mike/Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett was their inability to make in-game changes (if they did, I sure didn't notice them). I would have said the same things about Jay Gruden and his coaching staff, but that's not the case anymore.

They make adjustments and it is noticeable. In their four wins, the defense came out and held the opposing offenses to no touchdowns. A perfect example of an offensive adjustment was last week when the coaches noticed the Detroit DEs crashing in on every play. They called a read option run between the RB and Kirk Cousins late it the 4th quarter while trailing. Cousins kept the ball, fooling the DE who tackled the RB. This lead to Cousins running practically untouched for a 19 yard TD, giving the Redskins the lead.

Jay Gruden has improved as a head coach. The players like him and fight hard for him. Most importantly, I think he's starting to master the little nuances of the game. He's become a pretty good coach so far ( I can't say great just yet or the Gruden haters out there on Twitter will crucify me) and I look forward to his and the other coaches progress as the season continues.

3. Trent Murphy
If I had told you that Trent Murphy would be tied for 5th in the league with sacks, would you have laughed at me a few months ago? I probably would have. That however, is the case as Murphy is tied with a few others (including our own Ryan Kerrigan) with six sacks.

When the Redskins announced during the off season that Murphy was going to put on some weight and move inside to DE, myself and other fans thought that this would be a good move as Murphy is more of a power guy with height than a speedy, pass rushing OLB. Murphy, then had to make the transition back to OLB after Junior Gallette had a season ending injury for a second year in a row.

While fans started shaking their heads, Murphy dominated. Not only did he lead the team in sacks until week six (Ryan Kerrigan tied Murphy during last week's game vs. the Lions), but Murphy has had a solid season as a containing run stuffer and tackler. It took a couple of seasons, but Murphy is turning out to be a highly valuable player from the 2014 draft.

4. Next Man Up
Will Blackmon, Vernon Davis, Spencer Long, Ty Nsekhe are just a few names of players who have had to step up and play significant roles for the team this year. Most of the players listed were not week one starters, but have come into those roles and shined because of need. Injuries happen in the NFL and the Redskins have been plagued with them. Despite this, the team appears to finally have the depth to make up for most of the losses. Credit the front office and GM Scot McCloughan for finding free agents that can start if needed and drafting players that can at least provide depth in their rookie years.

The irony of having the "next man up" mentality has been that some of the backups have played better than the starters that were ahead of them. I'll let the readers come to those conclusions, but I can think of at least 2-3 positions that are better now than they were a few weeks ago.

5. Hogs 2.0
It's nice to have an offensive line that can pass block but is big enough to drive defensive players off the ball enough to get one or two yards when they need it (usually). The run game isn't exactly where I'd like to see it (I'm from the Joe Gibbs era of football, so I expect the team to pound it for 150 yards or more a game) but it has gotten much better. I'd love to see more games like we did against the Eagles this year.

Without a doubt, Trent Williams is the best OL in the league. Moving over to play LG when injuries occurred, a position he had never played before, and dominated. I also really like the youth that is on the line with Long, Scherff and Moses. There is a great deal of depth on the OL and hopefully this will be a strong unit for years to come with the talent on the roster and great coaching by Bill Callahan.

6. Cousins' Confidence
Kirk Cousins has not had the stellar run this season like he had in the final 10 games last season, but he has done things that he couldn't do in the past. Cousins has beat winning teams as a starter, teams that are likely to keep their winning records by the end of the season. He also has gone against some of the better QBs in the league and has fared well against them. Is Kirk perfect? No. Does he have work to do to get better? Even Kirk says yes.

However, Cousins seems to fit well and understand the Gruden/McVay scheme pretty well. As long as the team continues to build around him, Cousins should be able to lead this team to many victories.

7. No Drama
Well, except for some issues with ESPN blowhard Stephen A. Smith, it's been pretty quiet at Redskins Park this season. Yes, there has been some commentary by Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois questioning Joe Barry's play calling. However, fans have been doing the same thing all season long. It's nice to have little to no controversy happening daily. Maybe there finally has been a culture change with the franchise.

The Bad

1. Injuries
The Redskins have about 10 players currently on IR. Of those, 5 were originally supposed to be starters. Another big name on this list is 1st round pick Josh Doctson. The good news is that most of these injuries are just unavoidable. The ironic thing is that many of the players filling in have played better than the original starters. This makes me wonder about talent evaluation from the coaches and front office.

2. Joe Barry and His Defense
The defense has improved a great deal during the four game win streak. They even looked pretty decent for most of the Detroit game. That said, I'm still not sold on a one gap 3-4 scheme that is primarily a 4-3 because the team runs mostly in nickle packages. I'm still not convinced that the team currently has the players to run this scheme. Also, I know the draft is about the Best Player Available but it will be crucial for the team to focus on defensive talent in the 2017 draft.

3. Matt Jones
Matt Jones averages 1 fumble per 30 carries. That is just unacceptable for a player drafted in the 3rd round who has been given the starting job. What's worse is that Jones is a big back that should be plowing through defenders. Instead, Jones stops his feet, tries to cut and juke away from defenders and generally is stopped. Other backs on the roster keep driving their feet and plow through players when needed. Even a smaller back with a history of injuries, Chris Thompson, plays more like a power runner than Jones. It's very frustrating because you see flashes of potential followed by fumbles and poor running.

4. Kirk's Inconsistencies 
Kirk has not made it easy to support a long term deal during the first seven games. While his numbers are good in some categories and great in others, he has left a great deal of plays and points on the field. For almost three straight weeks, he threw the same interception to the same spot. Kirk has more work to do to be that 20 million/ year caliber QB.

5. Clock Management
It's gotten better over the last seven weeks, but there have still be questions on use of timeouts and stopping the clock sooner than later.

The Ugly

- Sadly, I don't the the offense has come close to scratching the surface of its potential. The Eagles game was not a fluke or a bad performance by Philadelphia. That is what the Redskins offense should look like when things are clicking and working.

- I'm not worried about Josh Doctson as much as others. Nor am I upset that Scot took him with the 1st round pick. People forget that it's likely that both Garcon and Jackson could be gone by 2017. Doctson is a type of WR that fits the Redskins offensive scheme. But the 'Skins really need to get some upgrades on defense in the off season.

- Still torn about Kirk's future and a long term deal. Is Kirk worth 20 million/year? I really don't think so at this point. Will Kirk get 20 million/year somewhere? Yes. So the biggest question is whether the Redskins should be that team to spend the money or do you start over with a new player. The ramifications are significant on either move.

- Can this team win 10 games this year? Yeah, I actually think it is possible. On the remaining schedule, Dallas is the strongest team. Everybody else has some weaknesses that can be exploited by the Redskins. Weird thing is that a 10-6 record may not win the NFC East in 2016.

Team MVPs So Far

Offense- Trent Williams
Defense- Josh Norman
Special Teams- Dustin Hopkins

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week Seven: Observations Of The Redskins vs Lions

This was a game of missed opportunities and missed calls left the Redskins a little short of extending their winning streak. Here's a screenshot of the hold that wasn't called on the 53 yard completion that helped swing the momentum of the game in the 2nd quarter. 

 Hail RedskinsNation!! After playing a game of missed opportunities, the Redskins came up just a bit short of extending to a five game winning streak. Last week I questioned Jay Gruden's football I.Q after a win and this week after a loss of a winnable game...... My questions and criticisms stem from the lack of running out of the two TE formation, not giving Robert Kelly more touches and not finding ways to get DeSean Jackson the ball. Philly got him the ball in so many different ways for him to make an impact yet the Redskins only try to get him the ball deep. Last week the team put up over 200 yards of rushing offense, yet only ran out of the two TE formation 10 of 29 rushes. The run:pass ratio last week was split 50/50 (34 pass/33 rush), this week it was 39 passes to 29 rushes and had a 10 minute advantage in time of possession. The team had a 10 minute advantage again this week but the two turnovers, Detroit's ability to be diverse with their offense by using misdirection, screens, a few lucky bounces and Drew Stafford's ability to buy time with his feet.. The loss of Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland on the final drive of the game didn't help the defense either. The costly fumbles by Matt Jones (1 lost, 1 recovered)  and Kirk Cousins (1 lost) can not happen and swings momentum in close games like it did in this one. Now I've stated several times in previous articles, I don't blame the refs for wins and losses. Now that doesn't mean that they don't effect the outcome of a series or a game. The 53 yard completion that Josh Norman got hurt on, there was a blatant hold by the right tackle of Ryan Kerrigan, yet no call and a big play and momentum swing. It wasn't all bad yesterday, but like I stated earlier this season, this team is improving but can't afford penalties and turnovers and expect to win on a regular basis. Be sure to tune in to Sports On The Hill Podcast tonight at 7pm est to give your thoughts on the game or my observations of the game.You can call in at 347-884-9299 or stream it live: . Start talking Redskins and football around 8pm est. Now let's get to the observations:

 Kirk Cousins looked good in some spots but in other situations...not so much. His ball placement when throwing away from him with a trail defender isn't as accuarte and he tends to throw low of behind. This slows down the receiver either having to wait for the ball or adjust to it and allows them to get caught and limit the yards after catch. Other then that and the fumble he had a decent game returning home, just wish the team got the W.

 Chris Thompson is finally showing his full potential after his first couple of injury plagued seasons. He led the team in rushes and yards, that's not good to lead in rushes when you have two 200 plus pound backs to be bruisers and wear down the opposing defense. For some reason he stops running and passing out of the two TE set that the team had so much success in the running and play action passing game. Matt Jones fumbling issues should open the door for rookie Robert Kelly to get more touches.The rookie scored his first NFL touchdown yesterday on a 1 yard TD catch in the third quarter.

The offensive line is playing well even with the occasional injury. This week it was Brandon Schreff going down with a apparent shoulder injury but he later returned. I wrote about Shawn Lavauo and him having to step up his run blocking.....well he needs to step it up again. I feel he is the weak link in this unit and he's aided by being beside Trent Williams (MRI scheduled for today his knee). If either can't go next week in London, it will be yet another chance for someone to step up and help this team win.

With Jordan Reed out for a second game, Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder have been huge. Crowder had his first 100 yard receiving day of the season and made some great catches. Vernon Davis blocking has helped with the injuries to the O-line and being a safety blanket for Kirk in the passing game. With Vernon playing well and Niles Paul contributing when he gets the chance on offense, why isn't Jay using this formation more like he did last week. That's where I question his football I.Q. Including getting DeSean some screens, slants or atleast some quick hitter plays to get this game changer the ball in his hands. Pierre as always made some tough catches in the game to help move the chains.

 The front seven got inconsistent pressure on Drew Stafford but did get three sacks. But at some times during the game I counted him having almost six seconds to throw the ball. But by saying that you have to give credit for the secondary for playing solid coverage, if not this game would've been a real shootout. Trent Murphy is having a great start to his season, Ryan Kerrigan manhandled the RT for his sack and Preston Smith just showed determination with his sack. Still need a big man in the middle to consistently get push and pressure. Few times the LBs didn't stay gap disciplined and that's what aided Stafford's scrambling by running there they were supposed to be but weren't. The sack fumble by Trent showed the ball just wasn't bouncing the Redskins way yesterday, like it was the previous four weeks.

The LBs, ILB and OLB played well but didn't get the stop or the key turnover the team needed to win this game. The play calling of the Detroit offense had them on their heels with all the misdirection plays, screens, quick throws etc etc. Jay Gruden needs to take tips from the their offensive coordinator on mixing up his play calls. The OLB's got all three sacks which is what you want but the lack of consistent pressure kept the Lions in the game. I showed the holding call that didn't get called which also aided the lions, but the team can't control that.

The secondary played well for the most part, except for the failed int attempts. On two separate crucial times in the game the DBs had a chance to take the ball away but failed to do so. With the Lions offense sputtering, losing Breeland and Norman late in the game really made the difference. The TD throw was a perfect pass to Anquan Boldin but before that 18 yard TD catch he had 2 catches for 10 yards. The safeties have been playing week together. Since Duke and Will have been the safety duo the secondary as a whole has stepped up. The defense gave up it's first touchdown after 25 straight series. That's an impressive stat for any defense. Just have to find a way to create more consistent pressure.

For the second week in a row the special teams weren't special. Dustin Hopkins missed a make able FG. The team already had to overcome a 10 point swing with fumble on almost a sure TD drive into 3 points for the Lions. Hopefully next week against Cincinnati in London the unit will be special for all the right reasons and helps the team win and get another streak going.

At (4-3) this next game is huge. Cincinnati coning off a beatdown of the Browns and a chance for the Redskins to go into the bye week 2 games above .500 would be a great way to start the second half of the season. As always thanks for reading and sharing. Don't forget to tune in, call in or stream it live starting at 7pm est and talking Redskins starting at 8pm est. Be sure to like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @SportsOTHP. Thanks for all the support for my blog and Sports On The Hill Podcast. Just got in Sports On The Hill T-shirts. Show some love for the D.C sports teams and help support our show. White, Grey available now Black coming soon. Inbox me on Facebook at Carroll Porter III or on twitter @TattooedScorpio #HTTR

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week Six: Observations of the Redskins vs Eagles

From the  first snap of the ball the Redskins defense was all over the rookie Carson Wentz and made him look like one.

 Hail RedskinsNation!!!!! It's the fourth #VictoryMonday for the Washington Redskins and a second division win. At (4-2) the team is in second place and ahead of most analyst predictions. Yesterday's game was the most complete the Redskins have played all season. Steady improvement and progress are helping make this team look like the NFC East defending champs. Jay Gruden almost found a way to give the game away, like he did the momentum of the 2nd quarter. I'm starting to question his football I.Q. In the second quarter after the kickoff return by Philly after a excessive celebration penalty by Vernon Davis which put the Redskins up 14-0. The offense had just run the ball down the Eagles throat, just returned a kick so the defense wasn't rested and what does Gruden do....comes out passing. This helps the Eagles defense out so they can just pass rush instead of trying to stop the run. Philly having no choice but to blitz and it pays off by forcing Kirk out the pocket and making a ill advised throw which turned into a Pick-6 and a tie ball game. After that the offense went back to running the ball and the end result was 230 yards rushing as a team and Matt Jones had his second 100 yard game of the season. As I've been stating the last few weeks about Joe Barry and his defense, they've been playing well but the stats didn't back it up....well yesterday the performance and stats backed it up. Giving up under 100 yards rushing, under 200 yards passing and 5 sacks says alot. The Eagles offense was top 5 coming into this week....I have a feeling it wont be after this game. Be sure to tune into Sports On The Hill Podcast tonight at 7pm est as we start off talking #Capitals, #Wizards and recap the Redskins game starting at 8pm est. You can call in to listen or to give your feedback at 347-884-9299 or can stream it live here . Now let's get to my observations:

Kirk Cousins is improving in his confidence and commanding the offense but he still makes the bad decision in a crucial situations occasionally. The pick 6 could've been the beginning of the end but I enjoyed seeing him brush it off and step up after that mistake. With the schedule getting tougher he will have to limit and eliminate those mistakes going forward. He made some impressive throws in tight windows but didn't try to force the issue which is when he gets in trouble. Still haven't connected long with DeSean Jackson but it's only a matter of time.

Since Spencer Long has taken over at center you can see and improvement in protection and run blocking. Shawn Lauvao has got to get more consistent at LG. I constantly see him on the ground or getting pushed into the backfield. He's a great pulling guard, that's when he's on the move and coming around and sealing the edge but straight up run blocking needs improvement. Once again you have to give credit to Bill Callahan for his stellar work improving this offensive line.

 The wide receiving corp was supposed to be one of the stronger units on this team this year and it's proving to be true. With Jordan Reed out there was more pressure on the WRs to perform and they answered the call. Jamison Crowder is becoming a real weapon in the slot with teams doubling DeSean Jackson and zoning Pierre Garcon. Kirk and D Jax working on their timing but was still a bit off on the deep pass that should've been a TD. All in all this unit is becoming one of the best in the league.

 With 34 passes and 33 rushed Jay finally learned what balance is. Even if you don't get the big hitters early, you have to stick with it to wear the defense down. In the second quarter he got away from it but quickly realized in the third quarter once Philly had gotten back in the game.It definitely got the best out of Matt Jones with 16 carries for 135 yards and a TD. His best run was also his longest of the day, a 57 yard gain on a 3rd and 7 to seal the game in the fourth with a minute left to seal the victory.

 With Jordan Reed out there was a big void (25% of the passing offense) and someone was needed to step up in the passing game and the running game to take some of the pressure off of Kirk. Vernon Davis stepped up with two huge catches for 50 yards and a TD. Both catches were just what the offense needed at the time. Robert Kelly is pushing Matt Jones to be better and I've been saying since
preseason that Kelly would be the starting back this year. Matt is not going to let that happen without putting up a fight as we saw. Kelly's 59 yards on five carries certainly wore up the Eagles and woke up Matt. The 45 yard long was a great effort run and shows how hard "Fat Rob" is to bring down once he gets going.

The front seven has been most impressive over the last two weeks by getting pressure, collapsing the pocket and actually getting to the quarterback. Trent Murphy is making a statement this year and I like what he's saying. I wrote earlier in the year that if he didn't start showing improvement in getting to the QB or even getting pressure he could be labeled a bust and wouldn't be resigned when his contract was up. He's startring to look like a 2nd round pick. Ziggy Hood is looking to be a great signing. His experience, leadership and work ethic are showing in his results.His impact might not show up on his stat line but it shows up on the field. With 5 sacks as a defense with pieces missing, imagine when the defense gets the other pieces back.

 The ILB corp has been solid in pass coverage, stopping the run and being in the right alignments which is very key for the whole defense to be successful. Will Compton is proving why he's the captain and play caller. Mason Foster has fit in seamlessly and the OLB's are doing their thing
wreaking havoc and causing confusion. Preston Smith got his first sack of the season, if he can get locked in he can help this defense become even more effective. Ryan Kerrigan had a 2 1/2 sack day abusing the rookie RT and forcing the Eagles to keep a RB or TE on that side to chip him to slow him down.

Joe Barry has finally got his scheme and play-calling right after all the injuries and substitutions have been figured out. In case fans didn't notice it's been 6 straight quarters without a offensive touchdown and 3 straight games of not allowing a TD in the second half. Fans were calling for his firing and now look at this unit. It's a marathon not a sprint and Joe Barry is showing why he deserves this job. The tackling has also improved. Still room to get better, but definitely improving week to week.

                                                                             The secondary has been playing well the last two weeks shutting down the opposing WRs, The competition hasn't been elite but the fact that they shut them down shows how talented they are. Bashaud Breeland came back this week which put most players back in their usual roles which is why I believe the unit looked and played so well yesterday. Josh Norman playing with a soft cast on the hand that he hurt last week vs the Ravens. The safety combo of Duke Ihenacho and Will Blackmon are working well as a tandem and will only improve when Su'a Cravens comes back from concussion protocol.

The special teams unit gave up a kickoff return for touchdown but for the most part was solid. The excessive celebration penalty forced Dustin Hopkins to kickoff from the 20 instead of the 35 which led to shorter kick which got returned. Hopkins hit a 50 yarder to extend the back to 10 to help keep the Eagles comeback at bay.

 Next week is a winnable game in my opinion and going on the road is always a challenge but Detroit has a good team but the Redskins are better. Be sure to go follow @SportsOTHP on twitter, Sports On The Hill Podcast page on Facebook or go check out our website for my blogs and a archive of our shows. You can call in at 347-884-9299 to listen live or call in and give your opinion or feedback on my articles or any DC sports team starting at 7pm est.. We cover it all. "DC sports without the politics "You can stream the show live at 7pm est here:     #HTTR4LIFE

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week Five: Observations Of The Redskins vs Ravens game

Jamison Crowder made my prediction of a special teams TD come true with a 85 yard punt return. Special teams once was a  weakness for this team but now it's becoming a asset thanks to Coach Ben Kotwika.

Hail RedskinsNation!!! It's #VictoryMonday for the third week in a row. Unfortunately I was under the weather last Victory Monday and couldn't get out my observations. I wanna thank all of RedskinsNation for the well wishes and prayers. Sunday was a big day for the Redskins and the Nationals. Redskins beat a winning team and are now over .500 and the Nationals evened the series with the Dodgers 1-1 heading to LA for two. The Capitals even had a shut out it's final preseason game 4-0. This was another ugly win for the Redskins but a win is a win. The offense has looked much more consistent with Sean McVay calling plays from the box up top but the lack of offensive balance is still an issue. The ratio of 41 passes to 22 rushes is usually a recipe for disaster but with the special teams making huge contributions, the team was able to be victorious. One thing that gets me about RedskinsNation is that we don't know how to handle success. The defense may not be lights out or rank in the top 10 in any category but the name of the game is scoring not rankings. The last three games the defense has made adjustments at halftime that shut down the other team. Next week is a HUGE match-up with the Eagles and we will discuss that and this game plus more on Sports On The Hill Podcast at 7pm Est Monday night by streaming it live here or calling in at 347-884-9299. Now here are my observations from this latest victory:

The offense was once again dominated in the early going, on the field and time of possession. It took until the 3rd quarter until the offense found some type of rhythm.

Spencer Long playing center the last two weeks seems to solidified the middle of the offensive line. Only giving up one sack (which was on the qb) and controlling the line of scrimmage....for the most part.

Matt Jones lost another fumble on Sunday. It's only his second lost fumble of the season but he can not continue to put the ball on the turf. Robert Kelly needs to get more touches to show what he can do.

The three TE set should be utilized more in the play action passing game along with the running game. With the talent and speed at the TE position, it's a match-up nightmare especially with DeSean Jackson on the outside.

Chris Thompson has finally learned how to stay healthy and becoming a steady contributor to the passing, running and blocking game. He's turning into a smaller version of Clinton Portis. Clinton was one of the best at picking up the blitz and Thompson is developing into a quality all around back,

The defensive front caused havoc on the Ravens injured offensive line. Coach Harbaugh made one of the bonehead coaching decision of the game before halftime by taking a timeout with one second left with no chance of scoring, The play led to a sack and injury to another lineman which put them in a bad position for the rest of the game.

Ziggy Hood and Trent Murphy stepped up big time this game. Now with Ryan Kerrigan lining up on the left side, he is now going up against the best lineman and not getting the numbers he was on the other side. This is the same thing I spoke bout when Brian Orakpo was on that same side of the line when he was here.Have to move your OLB's around to make it harder on the O-lineman to pickup the blitzers.

The safety tandem of Duke Ihenacho and Will Blackmon played superbly together. With 11 tackles combined and solid coverage all day, you have to be pleased at the way they stepped up.

The ILB's Will Compton and Mason Foster are also working well together, at the point of attack and in coverage. They combined for 16 tackles with three for loss. Will Compton made a hell of a play in coverage that the refs called pass interference. He's been one of my favorite players since we signed him.

The tackling was much better this game but still needs improvement. As a unit they have to sure up the middle of the defensive line but the team is leading the league in forced fumbles. Joe Barry is doing a hell of a job with all the missing bodies and second half adjustments.

Special teams has been very impressive the last few weeks, Executing fake punts, hitting long field goals, pinning teams deep and now returning punts for touchdowns. Will Blackmon had a 45 yard kickoff return and Jamison Crowder started the scoring with a 85 yard punt return touchdown. That ended the longest streak in the NFL without a punt return TD. If you read my previous article after the Giants game....I predicted a special teams TD.

 This is one of my favorite times of year. Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and soon to be Wizards. Be sure to read my observations here and hear Robbie and myself talk about all DC pro sports teams on Monday nights starting at 7pm Est. You can call in at 347-884-9299 or just listen. Go like Sports On The Hill Podcast page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @SportsOTHP for the link to stream the show live. As always #HTTR4IFE #dcRising and hope to hear from you tonight.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week Three: Obervations of The Redskins Vs Giants


  Hail RedskinsNation!!! It's #VictoryMonday and it feels so good. The game wasn't the prettiest but division games rarely are, The fact that a 0-2 team could go on the road, face a early turnover and being down early but still come out with a win is impressive. I loved some of the adjustments made by Jay Gruden and his coaching staff but hated some of the repeated issues of the offense that reappeared. You throw in the fact that the team had injuries in the secondary and the offensive line made the victory stand out more. DeAngelo Hall has a possible torn ACL which could end his season and Kory Lichtensneiger going out with back spasms and another undisclosed injury showed how deep this team is now. Well, I'm not gonna nit pick a victory, especially the first of the season in a place where the team hasn't won since 2011. Be sure to tune in tonight to Sports On The Hill Podcast show tonight starting at 7:00 pm est and talking Redskins at 8:00 pm est. You can call in or listen in at 347-884-9299 or stream it live. Go like our page on Facebook to get the weekly link for our show. Here's my observations of the game:

The team came out a little slow on offense but got it together after a early turnover and being down in a hostile enviroment. The fact that the line lost the center and left guard but were able to adjust was very impressive and a testament to the coaching ability of Bill Callahan. Trent Williams also showed once again why he's one of the best lineman in the league by moving to left guard for the entire second half and not missing a beat.

Kirk Cousins looked sharp in some phases of his game but still looked unsure and inaccurate in others. The touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson was pinpoint accurate and beautifully thrown. The screen play was well-designed, well-timed and perfectly executed. I'm glad the receivers and backs are learning to become more patient with screens, letting them develop for a big gain and the Jamison Crowder 55 yardTD screen pass was a big momentum swing in the game.

Matt Jones is improving week by week but the big hit that he took allowed the team to get a look at the rookie Robert Kelly and I liked what I saw. He had cutback lanes but slipped twice when seeing the cutback lanes and could've went for big gains. Chris Thompson is also becoming a good third down back picking up the blitzing LB and a valuable safety value for Kirk.

The WR's came up big when needed in the game. Kirk missed some open targets that would've gone for touchdowns but all in all he had a interception free game. In order to win you have to protect the ball. The screen to Jamison Crowder was a thing of beauty. The play call was timed it perfectly, he patiently used his blockers and did a great job of alluding that last attempted tackle at the 15 yard line to get the TD.

Penalties still are a issue but the fact the Giants were so emotionally charged for this game, they let their emotions get the best of them in several key times in the game. Even though the Redskins were bailed out several times by offsetting penalties, the team is not good enough to keep making these mental lapses and expect to win. The new rule of two unsportsmanlike penalty came into play when the starting center for the Giants got ejected for two of those calls. These penalties has to reduce and not repeat with our upcoming schedule that's getting much tougher after the visit from the Browns.

Special teams was special yesterday with five field goals by Dustin Hopkins and kicking the ball out of the end zones consistently on kickoffs. Tres Way with his first NFL pass and completion to Quinton Dunbar on a critical fake punt for a 31 completion and a huge first down. There was one blatant mistake on a punt block where the defender came right up the middle and got a hand on it but luckily one of the ,many costly Giants penalties negated that. The 50 yard punt return by Crowder was his best return as a Redskin. The punt return unit looks like it's getting it's timing together. Don"t be surprised if you see a punt return TD coming soon from this team. I believe the Redskins are have the longest drought of not having a punt return touchdown.

The defensive line is still in need of a bigger presence in the middle. With the speed that the team has on the LB and safety positions getting to the outside hasn't worked as well for teams as running up the middle. On the positive side the defense did get some pressure in the pass rush and had two sacks,one of them a monster sack fumble by Chris Baker that the team was unable to recover. Everyone including players are wondering why Pot Roast is still at home unsigned. Something has to give as we saw Chris Baker and Joe Barry having heated words on the sidelines in that lopsided first quarter.

The loss of DeAngelo Hall will be a big hole to fill, on the field and in the locker room. Will Blackmon is his backup and fellow cornerback transplant to free safety. From the way he stepped up and filled in, I'm not too concerned. He wasn't credited with the forced fumble of Shane Vereen but was in on the play and I believe knocked it loose and had some key pass break ups The depth will be tested with Hall most likely done for the season.

If you've followed my writing you know how big a fan of ILB Will Compton I am. He constantly gets this team is the right play call and alignment, read and react to the play, and has decent coverage skills. He is becoming a true leader of this LB corp. Love the addition by Scot McCloughan, he know his football players. The linebackers do have to get more involved in the turnover battle. Several balls were on the ground and LB's were near but couldn't come up with it. The defense has forced 5 turnovers in three games but the offense has had to settle for FGs and the impact of those turnovers haven't been fully felt by the other team.

The play by David Bruton Jr. in the end zone should've been ruled a interception. His elbow was clearly down before he rolled out of bounds and had control of the ball. With the injury to a team leader and captain, the secondary still played solid after he exited the game and didn't miss a beat. The season is young but today players stepped up and made plays and that's something the Redskins haven't been able to say on defense for a long time. I have to give props to Quinton Dunbar because I doubted his talent and ability to even make the team but he made two crucial plays to definitely helped this team win this game. The one handed INT was just ridiculous.

The battle between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham was overblown all week and played out on the field. They both had opportunities and made plays. Norman had a chance for a crucial int that would've stopped a drive n the red zone. The win is the ultimate goal and being this team hadn't won in New Jersey since 2011, I'm sure keeping Beckham out the end and the W feels pretty good. The next match up for the season is Week 17....who knows what might be on the line but will be another great match up.

The rookie Su'a Cravens is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his favorite player being Sean Taylor and wearing his rookie #36. Last week I spoke about him making an impact on this team and defense and he made a huge impact in the outcome of this game. With New York driving for a game winning FG in the final minute of the game he makes a diving, game sealing int jumping a underneath route to the running back. With Hall being lost for the season, it looks like Cravens will be getting more rotation with Blackmon being most likely pushed into the starting lineup.


 It's a wonderful #VictoryMonday but the Redskins still have room to grow as a team along with Kirk Cousins. Taking a bad sack with a timeout and taking sure points off the board at halftime is usually a recipe for disaster but the team stepped up, battled back and got a important win. Next week Cleveland Browns on the schedule with a chance to even the record and start the second quarter of the second off .500. Once again thanks for all the love and support. Be sure to tune into Sports on The Hill Podcast and go like the page on Facebook and go follow on Twitter @SportsOTHP. Show starts at 7:00 pm EST and talking Redskins at 8:00 pm EST. You can call in to give your take on the win or about this article or any D.C pro sports team at 347-884-9299 or stream it live. The link will be available at the time of the show on our page. Have a blessed day and #HTTR4LIFE

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week Two: 10 Observations Of The Redskins Vs Dallas


  Hail RedskinsNation. Been a while since my last article and I hate to comeback to writing with a loss to the Cowboys....yet here we are. Been a rough start to the 2016 season but not time to blow up the ship and start from scratch. After breaking down the film they're some good signs along with the bad.  Week 3 versus the Giants can and should be considered a must win, and I hope Scot McCloughan is on the phone with Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton today. The improved secondary and the money that the team is paying Josh Norman means nothing without pass rush, pressure and collapsing the pocket. To answer all the questions about the DBs not following receivers around the field, the Redskins run a high percentage of zone coverage. That means the players are responsible for areas on the field and not personnel. If you have been listening to our show Sports On The Hill Podcast on Monday nights from 7pm-9pm you would have heard my concerns about not having a true NT. In order to have a effective 3-4 defense your NT must be able to get pressure, occupy blockers and collapse the pocket. At present the team has no one that can do this on the current roster and I don't understand with him available, why the team hasn't signed him. That's for another article on another day. Let's get to my breakdown and observations of this latest loss.

 Jay Gruden's offense has to wake up and play before the second quarter. It's been a issue for most of his tenure and must improve. Think it's time for Jay to finally adjust his playbook to his players instead of trying to make his players adjust to his playbook and play calling. I believe Jay is handcuffing Sean McVay in his play calling trying to force his game plan. As might be the same for Joe Barry and the defense.

Kirk has to get his ball placement better to keep the chains moving and take advantage of what the defense is giving him. Too many yards and points left on the field....especially early in games.

Matt Jones looks like he's finally starting to get his legs back after missing the last three weeks of preseason with a shoulder strain. His touchdown run was a mix of vision, speed, and desire to get the end zone. I still would like to see Robert Kelly activated on gameday. Jay Gruden has to learn to stick with the run and make quicker in game adjustments..The running backs only get more effective the more touches they get.

  Kory Lichensteiger is becoming a bigger and bigger liability. Not just getting pushed into the backfield but now penalties. His strength was supposed to be his football IQ...didn't seem like it yesterday. This time his penalties and lapses were at a very critical point in the game. I think some centers need to be bought in since we don't have any other center on the roster.

 The offense seems to be opening up some even tho DeSean Jackson only had six targets for the whole game. Kirk got the ball to 10 different targets but his inaccuracy at the wrong time has to end. In order for this offense to be as explosive as expected and this team to be successful Kirk has to improve starting week 3 vs (2-0) New York Giants.

I noticed that Joe Barry has started switching the OLB's around on the line and in the formations.
This is a change for the LOLB position. Since the Redskins have switched to a 3-4 the LOLB always lined up over the LT and Ryan Kerrigan would be moved to different positions around the line. Yet I  saw Preston Smith and Trent Murphy line up in different positions on the line to cause confusion and created pressure. The team had 4 sacks and Trent Murphy with 1.5. For the second week in a row Preston Smith made a impact in the game more then the stat sheet shows. Can't wait until the team figures out the NT position so he can have more one on one match ups.

 The ILB's are playing well, racking up a lot of tackles but haven't been as effective as the team would like right now. Both Will Compton and Mason Foster have double digit tackle games but the team needs more. Turnovers are key in a 3-4 defense and those two have to learn to create turnovers and give the offense a short field. Unfortunately the turnovers the defense have forced have only resulted in FGs in the first two weeks of the season. But have to keep creating them.

 The secondary are learning each other and becoming comfortable with each other. The narrative that Bashaud Breeland has lost confidence or getting  burned is totally wrong in my opinion. Dez Bryant had a good game but he didn't score and had flashes in the game but wasn't as big as the commentators or fans would have u believe. The team has drafted defense heavy for the first time in a
long time and the team is building through the draft to improve the speed, size and talent level of this unit that has been in much need of that for so many years. The same way it took talented players and time to build the offense it will take time to build up a good defense.

 Both sides of the ball has to improve execution on the field and in the meeting rooms. The slow starts and penalties are killing the team and making it a uphill battle when trying to comeback all the time. The defense has to force timely turnovers and find a way to get points to help this struggling red one offense. Also need to be more effective at getting teams off the field on long 3rd down situations. 3rd and 8 should be a stop short of the first or possible turnover.

 The two most consistent players on this team have been Dustin Hopkins and Tres Way. These special teams stand outs have been crucial in keeping the Redskins in games with their stellar and consistent play. These guys only get talked about when they screw up but I'm gonna give em credit when they're doing well also.

 As always thanks for reading and supporting me. If you haven't yet please go check out Sports On The Hill Podcast page on Facebook, @SportsOTHP on Twitter, or check out our website @ for links to my blog and archived shows. Be sure to tune in tonight a starting at 7pm all the way up until 9pm. You can call in or listen in at 347-884-9299. would love to hear your opinon about my latest article or whatever thoughts you have on the game. Here's the link to our show starting tonight at 7pm.  #HTTR4LIFE #RedskinsTweetTeam #SportsOnTheHillPodcast #DCSportsWithoutThePolitics

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Locks and Bubbles Pt.2 (Redskins Roster)

I'm going to just get this one done. If you want to know the rules I'm playing by, please go back and read PART 1.

Again, not making final roster prediction, just guaranteed players who will be on the final 53.

Defensive Line

Locks - Chris Baker, Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, Matt Ioannidis

I really want to put Golston and Murphy here but I'm just not 100% sure. At most I think the 'Skins keep 7 DL and four spots are already taken with some quality guys that will be fighting for spots.

Bubbles - Kedric Golston, Trent Murphy, Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, Corey Crawford, Jerrell Powe

The Redskins will have to cut some decent, or at least league known, talent.

Outside Linebacker

Locks - Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith

Not really much to say about this group. Kind of looking for 35-40 sacks from just these three in '16.

Bubbles - Houston Bates, Lynden Trail

Only concern behind the top three is that there doesn't seem to be a lot of experienced depth.

Inside Linebacker

Locks - Will Compton, Mason Foster

Bubbles - Perry Riley, Terrence Garvin, Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels

I think this will come down to who is better at special teams. This will be a really fun battle to watch.


Locks - Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar

While still pretty inexperienced, Dunbar makes this roster. He has shown some serious talent and has done everything the team has asked of him. I can't see him not making the roster barring an injury or some major crazy setback.

Bubbles - Greg Toler, Dashaun Phillips, Lloyd Carrington

Phillips had a few opportunities last year on the active roster and looked good until injuries derailed his season. Toler is a respected vet. Carrington wowed coaches and fans during OTAs. He is likely going to be the fans UDFA man crush of training camp.


Locks - DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton, Will Blackmon, Su'a Cravens

Hall and Bruton are your likely starters with Blackmon and Cravens both being able to play multiple positions.

Bubbles - Duke Ihenacho, Deshazor Everett

I wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Skins with 5 players who could play S because of special teams needs and that both Cravens and Blackmon may fill other roles if/when needed. My guess is that Kyshoen Jarrett starts the season on PUP and may later be placed on IR.

So, that brings my tally to 36 spots locked up. That leaves 17 spots to fill, so there are opportunities in my opinion for players to rise up and grab a job on the final 53 man roster.

So is Locks and Bubbles crazy or is IIWII giving you an opportunity to keep an eye on some key position battles? Let me know in the comments below. Or tweet me @IIWIISkinsBlog

Please continue to follow and support my fellow writer Tattooed Scorpio @TattooedScorpio or check out his weekly podcast Sports on the Hill @SportsOTHP.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

So Kirk Didn't Get A Long Term Deal

(Kirk is playing on the tag for 2016 and yes, I Like That!)

So the deadline for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins to agree to a long term contract has come and gone and now Cousins will play 2016 on a 20 million dollar franchise tag.

Beyond typical fan panic and some drama generated, as possible theories as to why a long term deal didn't happen, by some in the sports media, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. It seems that early on in the negotiations between the Redskins FO and Cousins' agent that neither side was close to a number that would lead to a long term deal. Both sides seemed quite happy with the franchise tag and that's where it has stood.

So why didn't a long term deal get done and why do I think this is a good situation that benefits both the team and Cousins? I think it comes down to how both sides value Cousins at this point in his career and what they're willing to spend/take based on history vs. potential.

So before I write about the current situation, let's look at Kirk's tenure with the team so far.


Role: #2 QB
Games: Played in 4, Started 1

Results: Filled in for RGIII (injuries) against Falcons, Ravens and Seahawks. Of those three games, his best was against the Ravens. In that game, he lead the Redskins to a comeback victory. Cousins had mixed results against the Falcons in the team's loss and was a non-factor (3/10  and a fumble) in the playoff loss against Seattle.

Cousins lone start against the Browns started rough with an INT, but he rebounded with 2 TDs and a 104 QB rating in a critical victory that kept the Redskins playoff hopes alive.


Role: #2 QB/ Named starter week 15
Games: Played in 5, Started 3

Results: Much like most of the 2013 Redskins, this was a horrible season for Cousins. His best game was against the Falcons where he had the lone game of throwing more TDs than INTs (3 to 2). Most games were mop up duty in losses against KC and Denver. Had a miserable 2 INT game against the Giants (a trend that would carry into 2014 season). To be fair, by the time Cousins was named starter for a benched RGIII, it had appeared that the entire team had given up on the season including head coach Mike Shanahan.


Role: #2 QB/Interim QB (Week 2)/ Benched- #3 QB (Week 7)
Games: Played in 6, Started 5

Results: Came off the bench and became an interim starter for an injured RGIII vs. Jaguars and dominated with a 22/33, 250 yard and 2 TD performance. Had a great game in a heartbreaking loss to the Eagles with a 3 TD game. However things started to go downhill after the Eagles loss. Cousins had a horrible 4 INT game in a loss to the Giants. He rebounded against the Seahawks but the yardage and scores seemed to come in garbage time. Cousins had another mediocre game against the Cardinals with a 2 TD/3 INT performance. In week 7, Cousins was benched after a mediocre start against the Titans. He would not play again in 2014 despite injuries to Colt McCoy and shaky performances by RGIII.

2014 is clearly the year that many have defined most of Cousins' career until his week 7 performance in 2015 against Tampa Bay. Cousins earned the reputation of being a bit of a turnover machine and struggled with dealing with his mistakes (leading him to press to be perfect and just making the situation worse).


Role: Starter (named starter right before week 1)
Games: Started all 17 games played by Redskins

Results: In his first 6 games, Cousins would struggle throwing for 1 TD/2 INT in four of the games (the Redskins would lose all four of those games). Cousins would lead the team to two victories with two 1 TD/0 INT games.

Week 7 is where Cousins broke out of his mold of being a INT throwing QB. He had a 3 TD performance (33/40 for 317 yards and a rushing TD as well) in the "You Like That!" game against the Buccaneers. This victory most likely saved the Redskins season and eventual division title.  In the remaining 10 games (week 7-17), Cousins would throw for 23 TDs with only 3 INTs and would have QB ratings over 100 for all games, except two (Panthers, Patriots). Cousins grew into a leader that took command of the team and did what he needed to do to win. Not really going to say much about the playoff game. He threw for a TD but fumbled 3 times.

Were The Redskins Right To Be Cautious?

Looking at Cousins career and not just the last 10 regular season games, you darned right they should be cautious. That's not saying that Cousins won't succeed. I actually think he'll be a very dominate QB in Jay Gruden's scheme much like Drew Brees is in Sean Payton's scheme. But, if I'm Scot McCloughan, I want to see much more before I start paying Cousins the type of money that you see being paid to Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Cousins still has some things to prove to fans and the team. First, can he beat tougher competition? I hate this stat but it is a true one: Cousins has yet to win a game as starter against a team with a winning record. That's an ugly stat. Cousins also has to show that he can be the guy who has cut down the turnovers and not the guy who throws as many INTs as he does TDs in a game.

I also wanted to address the "low balled" comments that fans and media alike has thrown at the Redskins about their offer. According to Mike Garofolo of NFL Network, the Redskins offered a deal that would average 16 million/year with 24 million guaranteed. While the 24 guaranteed sounds small, the 16 million average actually is pretty close to what plenty of experts suggested prior to the team franchising Cousins (if memory serves Over the Cap and Joel Corry come to mind).

I figured the team would probably have to pay 18-19 million/year with maybe 35 million in guarantees at the time and I was being told by some that was too much. For Cousins' team it wasn't close enough.

"But TBG, the Texans paid Brock Osweiler MORE than what you thought Cousins was worth and that was more than what the Redskins offered Kirk. So didn't you both low ball our QB?"

Nope. QB is a critical position in the NFL. The Texans were desperate and the 2016 draft had a lousy QB class. When you're desperate, you overpay. The Texans overpaid, period. If Osweiler fails, then the Texans are stuck with a big cap hit. In the Redskins case, if Kirk fails, they don't have any future cap concerns but they have the bigger challenge in finding a new starting QB.

Why Kirk Is So Confident He's Worth More Than 20 Million Per Year?

There are two reasons why this is the case.

The first is just simply market value. Team Cousins knows that quality QB availability is less than the demand of NFL teams. It's more than likely that the Redskins would franchise Cousins possibly for both 2016 and 2017 than to let him go. I mean even the anti-Cousins fans would have to admit that Kirk is probably at worst a top 15-20 QB in the league (I'm talking at worst here). There just isn't a better option for this team this year and probably next year as well.

If the Redskins franchised Kirk in both years, he'd average 22 million/year. Thus, if the team is willing to do this, it's only logical that Cousins' agent would want at minimum a long term deal that would average this type of money.

The second reason is that Kirk believes in himself. He's been in Jay Gruden's scheme for two full seasons at this point. He had one full year to play in it as a starter and in 2016 he will have an entire offseason to take starter reps. He also has worked with his WR/TE corp for years, so he knows them inside and out (with exception to rookie Josh Doctson). He also knows that his OL may be the strongest unit that he's played with since being drafted by the Redskins.

Also, Cousins has the confidence that maybe he has lacked in previous years because he knows he's the guy in DC. This isn't new. Joe Flacco had a similar situation with the Ravens and as a result, Flacco eventually got an amazing deal by proving he was worth the big contract. Cousins believes that he can have similar success. I think this is a good thing. You want your QB to have confidence in his abilities and just a little swagger. You also want a player to have something to prove.

So can Cousins prove that he's the franchise QB the Redskins have looked for since Joe Theismann?
I think there is a good chance that he can. I also think we may be having this same conversation next season as the Redskins will have to determine how much Cousins will be worth with a rising cap and more veterans to extend.

Could Cousins become the highest paid player in the NFL in 2017? Don't be surprised.