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State of the Redskins, Week 11: Can revamped secondary contain Cam?

Nov 18, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT


Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 10 of the NFL season.

Record: 4-5, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 4-2
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 4-1
Away: 0-4

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015


Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 349.6 (20th)
Defense (yards/game): 370.3 (21st)
Passer rating offense:  89.6 (18th)
Opp passer rating: 96.3 (24th )
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (15th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.0 (32nd)
Weighted DVOA through Week 10 (Football Outsiders): -0.8% (15th)

Top three storylines:

A franchise QB?—About a month after people were wondering if Kirk Cousins would finish out the season at quarterback they are talking about him getting a long-term contract extension. Such is life in the NFL after three games with eight touchdown passes, one rushing TD, one interception that was not the QB’s fault, and a passer rating of over 117.

Another tough test—Two weeks after playing the undefeated Patriots, the undefeated Panthers await. I don’t have the means to look it up without spending hours doing so but I would think that a team playing two undefeated teams on the road in a three-game stretch at this point in the season is very, very rare. But it is the schedule the Redskins were given and they will deal with it as best they can.

Shuffle in the secondary—The big moves were Kyshoen Jarrett and Jeron Johnson playing strong safety in place of Trenton Robinson, who didn’t play at all on defense, and DeAngelo Hall also stepping in to play some safety. We also saw that Will Blackmon, who wasn’t on the team in Week 1 but has been invaluable while Hall and Chris Culliver were nursing injuries, continuing to get lots of playing time.

Next three games

November 22 @ Panthers (9-0)—Cam Newton isn’t lighting it up statistically in the passing department but he is in the MVP conversation because he is getting it done with his legs and in the clutch. That and Carolina’s tough pass defense make this a difficult test for the Redskins.

November 29 vs. Giants (5-5)—The Giants are just a bad matchup for the Redskins. New York has won six of the last seven games between the two teams and most of them haven’t been competitive. Home division games are always important and this one will be no exception, particularly if the Redskins lose at Carolina.

December 7 (Mon. night) vs. Cowboys (2-7)—With Tony Romo coming back, the Cowboys should be off of their seven-game losing streak by the time this game comes around. But even with their QB back the Cowboys are a shadow of the team that rolled to a 12-4 record and were within a Dez Bryan dropped pass (and, yes, per the rules it was a drop) of the NFC title game.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Nov 18, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    I think the passing D can handle it. But the tackling up front has to be good, Newton gets a lot of big 1st downs when he runs the ball.

    And of course, the real test is our offense against one of the NFL’s top 3 defenses.

  2. davem23 - Nov 18, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    Can we wear our home uni’s on the road? Looking at last weeks Thursday night game, there doesn’t appear to be a rule against it.

  3. timwillhide - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Signing Cousins to an extension based off of his performance so far would be foolish. He played well against the Saints. Although most of those passes were short passes and screens against the leagues worst defense. The Bucs the team was down by 4 scores and the Bucs left us back in it. In the Patriot game there were some drops but there were also some way off target throws too. Just looking at these so called “Best Games” doesn’t warrant him a contract. Do we really want a QB that performs bellow a Fitzpatrick level?

    • gref - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:33 PM

      sir you took the words right out my mouth ! Ill add suppose u extend him now he stinks it up against better competion we end up with 5-6 wins Gruden gets fired the next coach is stuck with a QB he doesnt want(sounds familiar) thats more drama! Even if he plays well and Gruden keeps his job he not worthy of breaking the bank money , im rollin the dice in free agency ,if another team offers him big money after one season of game managing play he can walk IMO

      • hail74 - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        Who in FA are you rolling the dice on?

        • warpath1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM

          someone on the unemployeed franchise qb tree… its right next to the unemployed great coach tree…

        • skinsgame - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:16 PM

          Come on, Hail… You know perfectly well there are at least 20 Kurt Warner type players out there, bagging groceries and the rest of the league is just too stupid to spot them. We’ll get a dirt cheap replacement that we can build around.

        • hail74 - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:37 PM


        • goback2rfk - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:41 PM

          Drew Brees could be available.

        • skinsgame - Nov 19, 2015 at 4:24 AM

          And Peyton Manning.

        • greed - Nov 19, 2015 at 6:29 PM

          meaning im waiting for seasons end before i resign kirk. I.e. Free agency

    • babyteal1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      Tim you need help.

    • berniebernard666 - Nov 18, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      the first pass of the game vs the Saints was not a screen or or short pass. But just for your info Tom Brady throws a LOT of short passes and his receivers get extra yardage after the catch. I never realized before now that Brady is average like Cousins and performs below Fitzpatrick.

      • skinsgame - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:17 PM

        Well, now you know. Times way ahead of the curve around here.

        • skinsgame - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:17 PM


    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 18, 2015 at 4:33 PM

      I think there is evidence of improvement.

      In a west coast offense, you’ll always have a bulk of that passes between the short and mid ranges. The deep pass to Jackson on the first drive last week was very accurate. What I, at least, want out of Cousins is to show he is a threat to hit the deep passes. And to capitalize on those when the defense provides the opportunity. I think the recent trend shows he is improving in that some areas while continuing to do well in areas he normally excels.

      Overall the execution of the offense was very good by the QB. IMO and specifically in the past three weeks, he has reduced the number of errant passes; helped to keep his sack rate at NFL League leading low (yes, offense lines do still exist and still deserve much of the credit), limited his interceptions to one pass that bounced off of Garcon’s hands, and his 3rd down percentages are still very good. All the improvements have been apparent for only about 3 games. So I’m not suggesting Cousins is the long term solution at QB. However, I do suggest that Cousins recent performance merits riding out the season to see where his final grade lands.

      • ajbus1 - Nov 18, 2015 at 5:56 PM

        Couldn’t have said it better. Let’s hope he can keep improving and we may finally have a respectable QB, HTTR!

    • colmac69 - Nov 18, 2015 at 5:21 PM

      For one its only speculation bout a possible extension…….with way he has performed so far odds would favour him getting some sort of deal either here or elsewhere..

      However it’s nfl and anything could happen…he could play horrible,,,he could get injured…..

      If your a real fan u have to hope he continues to play like he has done majority of season….having a gd QB for nxt 2,3 yrs takes whole lot problems away and can allow gm to strengthen other crucial areas especially on defensive side of ball imo

      If he does get an xtension then people like yourself will just have to live with it or go and support another team

      • timwillhide - Nov 18, 2015 at 8:33 PM

        I cheer for my team to win regardless who the QB is

    • bangkokben - Nov 18, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      Tim, since you took the time to re-post this, I will respond to your “points” but before I do, it is important to REALIZE that Scot McCloughan isn’t bangkokben, Skulb, YOU LIKE THAT, Rich Tandler, or whomever you think the biggest Kirk Cousins lover is. Since the Redskins appear to be looking good salary cap wise, the GM is under NO PRESSURE to make a hasty decision. The only way a deal gets done before the end of the season is because SCOT wants it done. That’s it. No fear.

      As for the short passes, that is the state of the NFL since Bill Walsh began the West Coast offense. Below is a stat on air yards. Cousins is ranked 18th in total air yards. You can also see that 50% of Cousins yards passing has come through the air and 50% are YAC (yards after the catch). This is an interesting stat and puts Cousins 14th lowest in that category. It is interesting only in that a three yard pass that produces just three yards is a lot worse than a three yard pass that produces 6 yards. A better stat to look at on the table for your purposes is the Air Yards per Attempt. Here Cousins is 9th lowest with 3.42 yards. That sounds like just a few but only Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger average more than 5 yards in the air and Aaron Rodgers is worse with 3.34. Last year Rodgers averaged 4.21 (no one average more the 5 yards last year). So why the change in Rodgers production? Could it be missing Jordy Nelson? Could DeSean Jackson’s absence have the same affect on the Redskins? IDK. BTW, you can look at 2013 and see that Griffin averaged 3.60 air yards per attempt; 4.21 in 2012. The ONLY reason I mention this is because Cousins short passing isn’t an outlier, not an anomaly, not something unique to him.

      Yes the Saints were horrible. Yes the game plan was to utilize the short passing. Also true, Cousins performed it to perfection and deserves credit for changing the play or protection at the line of scrimmage and simply doing the ordinary at a consistently high level throughout the game. The defense played with a lead the ENTIRE game.

      The Bucs let the Redskins back in the game. Sure, they played overly aggressive and egregiously hit Cousins after the whistle earning multiple personal fouls when they could’ve sat back and played prevent – which they didn’t. Cousins took advantage and led a(n) historic comeback.

      The receivers dropped perfectly place passes – 7 total – most of them early on digging the team in a hole. How many errant throws against the undefeated Super Bowl champs? This isn’t even close.

      “Do we really want a QB that performs bellow a Fitzpatrick level?” Great straw man! Fitzpatrick one good stat is that is SEVENTH in ESPN’s TOTAL QBR.

      The point isn’t whether Cousins is a better QB prospect than Ryan Fitzpatrick. The point is who is better that is available to Redskins’ QB next year. AGAIN, that doesn’t have to be answered now but the trend is pointing to Cousins.

      • hail74 - Nov 18, 2015 at 6:07 PM

        Good read.

      • timwillhide - Nov 18, 2015 at 8:32 PM

        Those so called 7 drops were more like 4 the other one defenders were all over the receiver. 2 of those drops were by running backs. 1 of the throws to the RB was high so let’s be honest about the game. I watched each incompletion on game pass last night.

        My Point with Fitzpatrick is he hasn’t really done anything he is like Josh McCown. I don’t want that for my team.

        If Cousins improves his down field throws and stops the way off target by 10 yards throws( he had at least 3 in the pats game) I could see him being a place holder at minnimal salary till we Draft someone. But to even consider that thought now based off his performance so far is definitely premature.

        • bangkokben - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:01 PM

          Look, Tim you do not know where the ball is supposed to be or where the receiver is supposed to be. You objectivity is in question. The seven/eight drops were counted by ESPN stats and info. They don’t have a dog in this fight and remind me when Fitz or McCown were name offensive players for the week – twice in the same month?

        • John - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:09 PM

          When he has had a healthy deep threat (Jackson), he has hit the big play. Just look at the games last year against Philly and Seattle.

        • John - Nov 18, 2015 at 11:35 PM

          Keep in mind that Cousins has not had much help in the way of a running game or defense for much of the season.

          He has been completing 60+% of his passes, interceptions has been dropping off and in general improving from week to week.

          NFC Player of the week, not once but twice this season.

          Would you prefer Gus, Rex, Beck, Jason, Mark, or any of the other 20 quarterbacks we’ve had since Brad Johnson in 1999? No thanks.

        • hail74 - Nov 19, 2015 at 5:10 AM

          Tim start watching game pass of other QBs so that you can show us which one throws 100% perfect passes and we can use him as a control for cousins. That way we can avoid the cousins is below fitz who plays like McCown nonsense. How did you grade Brady from the same game?

        • hail74 - Nov 19, 2015 at 5:28 AM

          And I’m calling BS on the 7 is more like 4 too. I’ll watch the game again tonite, so tell me which drops weren’t.

        • John - Nov 19, 2015 at 10:40 AM

          There are no big time qbs coming out in the draft, the ones in free agency are no better and we’re not getting Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers to come here, so what great qb are you going to bring in to replace him?

          You don’t have to have a superstar quarterback to win in this league. Just surround him with better talent and sign him and let them develop together.

  4. sidepull - Nov 18, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    I am hoping a revamped secondary can hold back Olsen and Cam. Its nice to see them get some of the players back from injury. Its happening at a great time and who knows, they now have time to get in some work and I hope it is gong to produce positive results.

    • goback2rfk - Nov 18, 2015 at 10:19 PM

      Run, Run, Run. We need that running game to produce. Got to get that play action game going. Desean Jackson could be the difference maker if he steps up. Really don’t see the defense getting to Cam too much and can also see the Panthers putting up some points pretty easily. We are going to need to take pressure off of Cousins with the running game. Really do not want to see Cousins air it out 30+ times this game.

    • ajbus1 - Nov 19, 2015 at 12:18 AM

      I agree sidepull. Call me crazy but I’m worried about Ted Ginn also. We always seem to get beat deep and that’s the one thing he does well. If the defense can keep everything in front of them and do as you said and limit Olsen and Cam, it’ll be a close game.

      • John - Nov 19, 2015 at 9:41 AM

        Ginn as a receiver has always been average at best. Ted Ginn returning punts against our special teams. That makes me cringe.

  5. Andre Flack - Nov 19, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    What if he plays well enough to win the division, which is possible Archives

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