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Analysis of the Redskins’ passing game, running game, defense and special teams in the loss to the Cowboys

 
 
Week 8: Redskins fell to 3-4 with a 33-19 loss to Dallas at FedEx Field on Sunday (Oct. 29, 2017)
 
Passing Game: C-

The Redskins’ starting offensive line included T.J. Clemmings at left tackle, Tyler Catalina at right guard and Chase Roullier at center with Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long being inactive due to injuries.  You have to start with that.
The pass protection, which hasn’t exactly been great to begin with, was a major issue in this game, as the Redskins had problems with the Cowboys’ stunts.  Kirk Cousins got sacked four times and was the victim of eight quarterback hits.  His sack percentage is 6.3 off having been 3.7 in 2016 and 4.6 in 2015.

  • Redskins’ 12th offensive drive…Kirk’s second-and-six shotgun pass was tipped, resulting in a game-sealing 21-yard pick-six by Byron Jones with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.
  • Redskins’ first offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s first-quarter 38-yard field goal…their first offensive play of the game: Kirk got blasted by DeMarcus Lawrence, who beat Morgan Moses, on a first-and-10 shotgun play-action incompletion intended for Rob Kelley.
  • Redskins’ 11th offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s fourth-quarter first-and-goal one-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Josh Doctson…Chase Roullier fired a low snap through Kirk’s legs for a second-and-10 fumble charged to Kirk that he recovered.

Additionally, Redskins receivers, coming off a week in which they were lambasted for being so bad in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football, were mostly bad again with the exception of Jamison Crowder.  Josh Doctson had one reception for one yard (a touchdown) on three targets.  Terrelle Pryor Sr. had no receptions and was targeted just once.  Ryan Grant had five receptions for 38 yards on seven targets.

  • Redskins’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter punt…Doctson had a drop on a third-and-seven Kirk shotgun deep incompletion; the ball was a bit underthrown but certainly could have been caught.
  • Redskins’ fifth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter punt…Grant had a drop on a Kirk third-and-10 shotgun incompletion.
  • Redskins’ 11th offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s fourth-quarter first-and-goal one-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Doctson…Grant had a drop on a second-and-10 Kirk shotgun incompletion.
  • Redskins’ first offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s first-quarter 38-yard field goal…Grant ran a shallow cross beneath the first-down marker and was tackled immediately on a Kirk third-and-six five-yard shotgun completion.

And there were some very bad moments on Kirk himself.  His Raw QBR was 47.4.

  • Redskins’ 12th offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s second-and-six game-sealing 21-yard shotgun pick-six to Byron Jones…the play prior to the interception was a Kirk first-and-10 four-yard shotgun completion to Jamison Crowder with the Redskins trailing by seven with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter and no timeouts left; why the heck are you throwing short on not just this play but then on the pick?
  • Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s third-quarter lost fumble on a third-and-nine sack-strip by Tyrone Crawford that was recovered by DeMarcus Lawrence…Kirk was under immense pressure, but Vernon Davis was wide open going across the middle of the field.
  • Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter blocked 36-yard field-goal attempt…Kirk did a nice job of eluding pressure but needed to throw the ball at some point on a third-and-six red-zone sack by David Irving for a four-yard loss to the Cowboys’ 18.
  • Redskins’ third offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter 42-yard field goal…Kirk threw too high, and Terrelle Pryor Sr. could only get one foot in-bounds, on a third-and-seven shotgun incompletion.
  • Redskins’ 11th offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s fourth-quarter first-and-goal one-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Josh Doctson…Kirk had two near-picks: a first-and-10 shotgun near-pick to Taco Charlton and a first-and-10 shotgun near-pick to Jaylon Smith

But even with the drops, bad pass protection and his own negative plays, Kirk went 26-for-39 for 263 yards and a touchdown.  This was another game in which he was more good than bad.

  • Redskins’ second offensive drive…resulted in Rob Kelley’s first-quarter second-and-goal one-yard I-formation-handoff touchdown run…Kirk took a wicked shot from Damien Wilson for a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty, and yet Kirk got right up and was pointing at his facemask.  He does not get enough credit for his toughness and ability to take punishment.  And, oh yeah, that play was a third-and-three shotgun completion to Ryan Grant anyway. ..two plays later: Kirk made a great throw in the midst of a collapsing pocket on a second-and-seven 41-yard under-center bomb to Jamison Crowder.
  • Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter blocked 36-yard field-goal attempt…second play of the drive: Kirk had a second-and-four 26-yard completion to Crowder off an under-center play-action boot.
  • Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s third-quarter lost fumble on a third-and-nine sack-strip…Kirk did a great job of standing strong in the pocket despite pressure on a third-and-seven 25-yard shotgun completion to Ryan Grant.

Jamison Crowder had his first big game this season: nine receptions for 123 yards on 13 targets.  He entered the game with 149 receiving yards over six games this season.
Chris Thompson had yet another big game as a pass catcher: eight receptions for 76 yards on nine targets.

  • Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter blocked 36-yard field-goal attempt…Thompson was wide open on a second-and-13 26-yard reception from Kirk out of the shotgun.
  • Redskins’ third offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter 42-yard field goal…first play of the drive: Thompson had a first-and-10 14-yard reception from Kirk on an under-center play-action screen.

Vernon Davis had just two receptions for 20 yards on four targets, including a drop on a second-and-nine Kirk shotgun incompletion on the drive that resulted in Kirk’s third-quarter lost fumble on a third-and-nine sack-strip by Tyrone Crawford that was recovered by DeMarcus Lawrence.
 
Running Game: D-
For the sixth time in seven games this season, the Redskins’ running game was mediocre-to-poor.  And in this game, the rushing attack was basically non-existent.
The Redskins’ starting offensive line included T.J. Clemmings at left tackle, Tyler Catalina at right guard and Chase Roullier at center.  But I don’t excuse the running game doing nothing to Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long being inactive due to injuries.  This ground game has been atrocious this season save for one game – the Week 2 win at the Rams.
Chris Thompson had a second-quarter second-and-five 16-yard under-center-handoff run on the drive that resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter 42-yard field goal.  Rob Kelley had a 10-yard run on the final play of the game in a total garbage-time run.  If you take out those two runs, Thompson and Kelley combined for 10 carries for 11 yards.

  • Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter blocked 36-yard field-goal attempt…Shawn Lauvao completely whiffed on a block on a Kelley first-and-10 under-center-handoff run for minus-three yards.
  • Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Kirk’s third-quarter lost fumble on a third-and-nine sack-strip…second play of the second half: Thompson had a second-and-five under-center-handoff run for minus-two yards…two plays later: a Kelley first-and-10 one-yard under-center-handoff run.
  • Redskins’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter punt…Thompson had a second-and-nine two-yard shotgun-handoff run on which Shawn Lauvao got hurt.

The only other positive for the Redskins’ running game was some more success with Jamison Crowder on jet sweeps.

  • Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in Nick Rose’s second-quarter blocked 36-yard field-goal attempt…the drive began with a Crowder first-and-10 six-yard under-center-handoff jet-sweep run.
  • Redskins’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter punt…the drive began with a Crowder first-and-10 six-yard under-center-handoff jet-sweep run.

 
Defense: C

The biggest negative by far was the Redskins getting steamrolled by Ezekiel Elliott: a career-high 33 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

  • The Redskins didn’t touch Elliott on his first-quarter first-and-10 13-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run…two plays prior to the touchdown was D.J. Swearinger missing on a tackle on an Elliott first-and-10 eight-yard under-center-handoff run
  • Cowboys’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s late-third-quarter 27-yard field goal…Elliott had a first-and-10 14-yard under-center-handoff run.
  • Cowboys’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s third-quarter 36-yard field goal…Elliott had a second-and-10 12-yard shotgun read-option run and a second-and-10 seven-yard I-formation-handoff run.
  • Cowboys’ third offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s missed second-quarter 49-yard field-goal attempt…Elliott had four big runs in the first-quarter portion of the drive: a first-and-10 seven-yard under-center-handoff run, a fourth-and-one four-yard under-center-handoff run on which Ziggy Hood got manhandled, a first-and-10 five-yard under-center-handoff run on the next play and a third-and-one two-yard under-center-handoff run.
  • Cowboys’ 10th offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s fourth-quarter 37-yard field goal…Elliott had a second-and-seven six-yard under-center-handoff run…next play: a Dak Prescott third-and-one 10-yard shotgun read-option run…two plays later: Zach Brown committed a dumb 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty after an Elliott second-and-six one-yard offset-I-handoff run.

On the other hand, the Redskins held the Cowboys to 5-of-14 on third downs and 2-of-5 in the red zone and held Dak Prescott to just 6.5 yards per pass attempt.  And of the 33 points allowed by the Redskins, 20 came on either short fields created by turnovers or a turnover period.
Ryan Kerrigan had his best game of the season.

  • Cowboys’ third offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s missed second-quarter 49-yard field-goal attempt…Kerrigan had a first-quarter second-and-three sack of Dak for a four-yard loss.
  • Cowboys’ eighth offensive drive…resulted in Mike Nugent’s third-quarter 48-yard field goal…started with the ball at the Redskins’ 26 thanks to a lost fumble by Chris Thompson on a kickoff return…Kerrigan had a first-and-20 sack of Dak for a one-yard loss.
  • Cowboys’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter three-and-out…Kerrigan, just back in the game from a groin injury, drew a first-and-10 10-yard holding penalty on La’el Collins.

Josh Norman returned from a two-game absence caused by a rib fracture and made an instant impact, recovering a fumble forced by Matt Ioannidis on an Ezekiel Elliott first-and-10 four-yard under-center-handoff run on the first offensive play of the game.  The ensuing Redskins drive, though, resulted in a mere field goal.
The Redskins held former Redskin Alfred Morris to three yards on three carries.  Preston Smith tackled Alf for a two-yard loss on a second-quarter first-and-20 under-center-handoff run on a drive that resulted in a three-and-out.
The Cowboys’ third offensive drive was a massive drive that lasted for 14 plays and consumed 8:39 off the clock, but the drive resulted in Mike Nugent’s missed second-quarter 49-yard field-goal attempt.  A key play was Montae Nicholson tackling Ezekiel Elliott on a third-and-19 four-yard reception from Dak out of the shotgun.
                                               
Special Teams: F
Yes, it was a rainy day at FedEx Field.  But that doesn’t excuse this being maybe the worst game for Redskins special teams since the unforgettable Kansas City game in Dec. 2013.  The Redskins committed multiple major special-teams gaffes in this game:

  • Nick Rose’s second-quarter 36-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Tyrone Crawford thanks to a low snap from Nick Sundberg.  The ball was returned for 86 yards by Orlando Scandrick to the Redskins’ 4 and then got moved to the 2 thanks to a five-yard low-block penalty on Tress Way.  Two plays later was Ezekiel Eliiott’s second-quarter second-and-goal one-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run.
  • Chris Thompson had a third-quarter lost fumble on an 18-yard kickoff return.  The ball was recovered by Bene Benwikere.  The ensuing Cowboys drive began at the Redskins’ 26 and resulted in Mike Nugent’s third-quarter 48-yard field goal.
  • Joshua Holsey committed a horrendous five-yard illegal-touch penalty thanks to running out of bounds on a third-quarter Tress Way 63-yard punt that was downed by Holsey at the Cowboys’ 13.  The redo was a 46-yarder to the Cowboys’ 35 and was returned for eight yards by Ryan Switzer.
  • Rose missed the extra-point attempt that followed Kirk’s fourth-quarter fourth-quarter first-and-goal one-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Josh Doctson, maintaining a seven-point deficit for the Redskins at 26-19.

Rose went 2-for-3 on field goals, making a 38-yarder in the first quarter and a 42-yarder in the second quarter.
Way averaged 46.7 yards and 40-3 net yards on three punts.
 
Other Thoughts:
This game will perhaps most be remembered for leaving the Redskins with a dire injury situation.  Now, it wasn’t exactly great going into the game, as the Redskins’ injury report listed 17 players.  But consider the following:

  • The Redskins played this game with 12 offensive linemen on their 53-man roster but with four offensive linemen inactive (Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long and Ty Nsekhe).  The Redskins had guys named Orlando Franklin (signed on Saturday), Tony Bergstrom (signed on Wednesday) and Arie Kouandjio (signed off Baltimore’s practice squad on Saturday) active for this game.  The offensive-line injuries also meant waiving running back Mack Brown on Saturday.
  • The Redskins’ starting left tackle in this game, T.J. Clemmings, missed three offensive snaps due to an sprained ankle.  Left guard Shawn Lauvao, the only truly healthy usual Redskins offensive-line starter, played on just 63 percent of the team’s offensive snaps due to a stinger.  Right tackle Morgan Moses, who is dealing with two sprained ankles, manned up and played on every Redskins offensive snap.
  • The oft-injured Jordan Reed got hurt again, suffering a hamstring strain and playing on just 36 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps.  Niles Paul suffered a concussion on Rob Kelley’s first-quarter second-and-goal one-yard I-formation-handoff touchdown run.  With Jeremy Sprinkle inactive, the Redskins were down to just Vernon Davis at tight end for much of this game.  He played on 81 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.
  • Jamison Crowder played on 95 percent of the Redskins’ offense snaps and has his best game of the season, but he suffered a hamstring injury and lower-leg contusion.
  • The Redskins’ best defensive lineman this season, Matt Ioannidis, had a forced fumble on Ezekiel Elliott on the game’s first offensive play but suffered a fractured hand and played on just 34 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.
  • Bashaud Breeland aggravated his ailing MCL during Friday’s practice and was a surprising inactive for this game.  The Redskins did get back Josh Norman from a two-game absence caused by a rib fracture suffered in the Week  4 loss at Kansas City on Monday Night Football.  Norman had a fumble recovery on the game’s first offensive play and was one of three Redskins who played on every defensive snap (Zach Brown and D.J. Swearinger were the others).  Quinton Dunbar played on 99 percent of the defensive snaps.  Kendall Fuller played on 68 percent.  Fabian Moreau did not play on any defensive snaps.
  • Montae Nicholson suffered a stinger and AC-joint aggravation (as you may remember, he got hurt in the Week 6 win over San Francisco) but played on 79 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.  Stefan McClure dealt with a hamstring injury and was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday (Nov. 1).  Deshazor Everett was back from a two-game absence caused by a hamstring injury suffered in the Week  4 loss at Kansas City on Monday Night Football but played on just 18 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.

 

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden answers reporters questions at a press conference after an NFL football game against the XXX in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. The Dallas Cowboy defeated the Washington Redskins 33-19. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


 
Some other playing-time observations:

  • Even with Matt Ioannidis suffering a fractured hand and Jonathan Allen on injured reserve, we still did not see much of Stacy McGee (34 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps).  We did see more of Terrell McClain (56 percent).  And we continued to see a lot of Ziggy Hood (71 percent).
  • Junior Galette, off playing on a season-high 42 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football, was in on just 24 percent of the defensive snaps in this game.  His play-time percentages now this season: 23, 38, 29, 34, 33, 42, 24.
  • Mason Foster being placed on injured reserve on Saturday with a torn labrum meant more playing time for both Martrell Spaight and Will Compton, though this coaching staff clearly prefers the former over the latter.  Spaight who started with Zach Brown and was in on 56 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.  Compton played on 43 percent (29) of the team’s defensive snaps off having played on seven defensive snaps the entire season.
  • Samaje Perine played on zero offensive snaps for a second consecutive game.  Chris Thompson played on 80 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps.  Rob Kelley was in on just 20 percent.  Fat Rob did start, but there is no debating who the Redskins’ no. 1 running back is.  And keep in mind that Thompson didn’t play so much do to injury; the Redskins are actually quite healthy at running back and receiver right now.
  • We saw a whole lot more of Josh Doctson than we did of Terrelle Pryor Sr. for a second straight game.  Doctson started and played on 80 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps.  Pryor played on just 32 percent of the offensive snaps.  Jamison Crowder was in on 95 percent.  Ryan Grant was in on 68 percent.

The Redskins’ offense played this game without:

  • Left tackle Trent Williams (inactive due to a lingering right kneecap injury that is expected to require surgery)
  • Right guard Brandon Scherff (inactive due to a Grade-2 MCL sprain and back injury suffered in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football)
  • Center Spencer Long (inactive due to two knee injuries that emerged in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football)
  • Tackle Ty Nsekhe (inactive for a fourth straight game off undergoing core-muscle surgery due to an injury suffered in the Week 3 win over Oakland)
  • Receiver Brian Quick (inactive for a second time in four games)
  • Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (inactive for a third straight game)
  • Running back Keith Marshall (placed on injured reserve due to a torn right patellar tendon suffered in practice on July 29; the 2016 seventh-round pick out of Georgia spent all of last season on injured reserve due to an elbow injury suffered in the preseason)
  • Tackle Kevin Bowen (placed on injured reserve due to a labrum injury suffered during training camp)

The Redskins’ defense played this game without:

  • Corner Bashaud Breeland (inactive due to a sprained MCL suffered in the Week 6 win over San Francisco; Breeland was a full participant in all three practices leading up to this game but aggravated the knee during Friday’s practice)
  • Linebacker Mason Foster (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 28 due to a torn labrum suffered in the Week 2 win at the Rams; he missed the Week 3 win over Oakland but then played the next three games with the injury before going on IR)
  • Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 19 due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Week 6 win over San Francisco)
  • Safety Su’a Cravens (placed on the reserve/left-squad list on Sept. 18; this off being placed on the exempt/left-squad list on Sept. 3 due to contemplating retirement; he also suffered a meniscus injury in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore and underwent surgery on Aug. 15)
  • Linebacker Trent Murphy (placed on injured reserve on Aug. 12 due to a torn left ACL and MCL suffered in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore)
  • Defensive lineman Phil Taylor Sr. (placed on injured reserve on Sept. 2 due to a torn left quadriceps tendon suffered in the preseason win over Cincinnati on Aug.27
  • Defensive back DeAngelo Hall (placed on the regular-season physically-unable-to-perform list on Sept. 2 off spending all of training camp and the preseason on the preseason PUP list due to a torn right ACL suffered in the Week 3 win at the Giants last season)
  • Defensive lineman A.J. Francis (inactive)
  • Linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (inactive for a fifth time in six games)

Redskins special teams remained without Dustin Hopkins, who was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 18 due to a right-hip injury.
We had a bizarre occurrence on the Friday night/Saturday morning prior to this game, as Mason Foster ripped Bruce Allen on Twitter.

  • Foster’s tweets were stiff, and one even invoked Scot McCloughan. Among the tweets: 1) “Lay everything on the line for someone…….just to have that same person slap you in the face #IssaShame;” 2) “All I know is Scot wouldn’t have done me like that….just keep it real from the start;” and 3) “They doin the real1s dirty & coddling the fake.”
  • But then, just a few hours later, we go this: “It’s squashed…..sit down & talk it out face to face….We good #HailGang.”
  • Foster, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, reportedly was upset that he wasn’t given a one-year contract extension in order to have some financial security.  ESPN Redskins insider John Keim reported that “the situation reminded Foster too much of what he encountered in his final season with Tampa Bay. That season, he also injured his shoulder in a Week 2 game vs. the Rams and missed the next three games. He played only 10 that season.”
  • I don’t want to kill Foster for his Twitter rant.  He showed tremendous guts in playing through that torn labrum and in fact was playing well, registering a career-best +12.5 player rating from Pro Football Focus.  But man did he show bad judgment in unloading like this.  Going public in such a wild, rambling fashion only lessened the Redskins’ desire to want him back and decreased other teams potentially wanting him.  Injuries are part of playing the NFL; the Redskins are under no obligation to re-sign him now, even though that may well happen and probably should given how well he has done.  But what good are you doing yourself by not only ripping the organization, but making the situation personal with Bruce by invoking the name of Scot McCloughan?  And then you totally back down once you’re spoken to?  I do give Foster and Bruce credit for squashing this thing quickly.  But who knows what kind of lasting damage was done.

Jay Gruden committed another strategical error in this game, calling his first first-half timeout with 1:45 left in the second quarter while the Redskins still had the ball.  They had a second-and-five at their 47 while trailing 14-13.  Calling the timeout was only helping the Cowboys to have more time on their ensuing drive.  And if you were wanting to have another offensive possession beyond this one before halftime, then you save your timeouts for when you’re on defense, because you can’t control the clock on defense like you can on offense.  And if the reason for using this timeout was for the right play-call then boy did that backfire, because the next play was a Kirk second-and-five shotgun completion to Chris Thompson for minus-five yards.  The usage of the timeout ended up not being that big of a deal, as the ensuing Cowboys drive resulted in a punt.  And the Redskins did get the ball back with 19 seconds left in the second quarter, but Kirk got sacked by David Irving for a seven-yard loss on a one-play drive.
The FedEx Field crowd for this game was very disappointing.  Both Chris Cooley and Doc Walker, who of course were calling the game for us, noted the day after the game on the station that there were a lot of Cowboys fans in the stadium.  They came across quite well on the radio.
We had a major development in the #ChaChaCha on the Monday evening after this game, as San Francisco reportedly agreed on a trade for New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a 2018 second-round pick.  The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. eastern.  A few thoughts:

  • This is, without question, good news for those of us who want Kirk Cousins under a long-term contract with the Redskins.  The 49ers, because their head coach is Kyle Shanahan, have long been rumored to be a potential – if not likely – destination for Kirk either via trade or free agency.  This is a major blow to the belief that the 49ers are just waiting to get Kirk at some point in some way.  ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington tweeted the following on Monday: “Browns asked then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to rank available QBs in 2014 draft. His ranks? 1. Carr. 2. Garoppolo. 3. The rest.”  Add to the mix that Jared Goff is blossoming this season under first-year Rams head coach Sean McVay, and the two most-likely landing spots for Kirk may well now be off the table.
  • At the same time, slow down.  San Francisco is getting Garoppolo with eight games left in its season.  The 49ers are going to have half of a season to evaluate him.  What if he stinks?  What if they’re unimpressed?  Don’t dismiss for a second the idea that the 49ers still wouldn’t make a major play for Kirk after this season.
  • Additionally, there are 29 other non-Redskins teams in the NFL beyond the 49ers and Rams.  Arizona, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, the Jets, and Minnesota are all teams that have major quarterback questions and could want Kirk.  Also, New Orleans (if Drew Brees retires) and Pittsburgh (if Ben Roethlisberger retires) are possibilities.  The market for Kirk didn’t just shut down with this Garoppolo trade.
  • And then, of course, there are Kirk and the Redskins themselves.  He still has to want to be here for the long term; that wasn’t the case this past offseason.  The Redskins still have to want to pay him the kind of money required to get a long-term deal done; that wasn’t the case two offseasons ago and may well have not been the case this past offseason.  This Garoppolo trade has lessened Kirk’s leverage and increased the Redskins’ leverage, but the two most important factors in a long-term deal between the Redskins and Kirk getting done remain: the team has to truly be willing to pay up, and he has to truly want to be here.
  • And if the answer to either question is a resounding “no,” and the Redskins are aware of this, then they actually should be open to trading Kirk prior to Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.  I’m not saying you definitely deal him; I’m just saying be open to it.  There are three parameters I would put in place for the Redskins exploring trading Kirk before the deadline: 1) the team truly doesn’t want to pay what a long-term deal with him will require and/or the team knows that he truly doesn’t want to be here 2) the Redskins truly love several of the quarterbacks who will be or who are expected to be in the 2018 NFL Draft (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorely) and 3) the Redskins feel like their 2017 season is becoming a lost cause with the abundance of injuries.
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