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Need to Know: Redskins should avoid taking risks when kicking off

Aug 29, 2016, 4:54 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 29, five days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1:10; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice approx. 1:15

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 232 days ago. It will be 14 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 20; Browns @ Redskins 34; Redskins @ Ravens 41

The Redskins week that was

—As everyone knows by now, a touchback on a kickoff will result in the ball being put on the 25-yard line instead of the 20. There is plenty of talk that teams will pooch kicks rather than booming them for touchbacks so as not to concede the additional five yards. There are fewer touchbacks so far in the preseason. Last year 56 percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks; so far this preseason it’s been 40.4. This could be part strategic, part having other kicker trying out during the preseason.

—But it seems to me to be a bad strategy. In 2015, a drive that started at a team’s own 20 yard line resulted in an average of 1.7 points. A drive started at the 25 meant an average of 1.8 points.

—So why would a coach risk a possible long return, not to mention the possibility of having one of his players on the very dangerous kickoff return team getting hurt, to save, on average, a tenth of a point per drive? Remember, these coaches won’t go for it on fourth and a half yard at midfield even though the numbers say that doing so would result in more points gained that you might save by kicking off and holding the other team inside the 20.

— Some teams might try it and a few teams might make pooching kickoffs their normal way of doing things. But after a while it will become more of an occasional surprise tactic than business as usual. I don’t see it kicking off short becoming any more of a normal tactic than, say, going for two after every touchdown (even though doing that will result in scoring more points than pooching kickoffs will save).

—As far as the Redskins go, if Gruden even considers having Dustin Hopkins kick the ball short, he should have a hotline to call to talk him out of it. Last year Hopkins kicked 65.5 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks. Through three preseason games this year he’s even better, with a touchback rate of 91.7 percent. Of 12 kickoffs, 11 have not been returned. The other one? The Falcons ran it back for a touchdown in the preseason opener. Case closed.

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In case you missed it 

  1. redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 5:24 AM

    I agree that the Redskins should use onside kicks and kick-off returns as surprise tactics but I’m disappointed that the Redskins did not experiment more in the pre-season. How much does your team learn / grow with kick-offs returned compared to just booming it out of the end zone? The Falcons scoring the kick-off return touchdown just shows that the Redskins need to work more at it and they’ve given up the opportunity to do so which may prove costly. You don’t get better at something by not practicing.

    It was embarrassing how poorly the Redskins played on special teams recently; I know there has been improvement of late but there was a stretch where it was very disappointing / almost unbearable to watch.

    I wish the NFL did not discourage kick-offs as much as they do, and moved the kicking the ball off point back to the 30-yard line.

    I wonder if any NFL team will develop a competitive advantage by being able to consistently pin teams down in 10-20 yard range? I doubt it but you never know …

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 29, 2016 at 6:02 AM

      I agree here. We should have practiced handling the returns. But those can be so costly with injury potential. I have not seen a ton from Kotwitca to believe that he can organize good kick coverage. The only reason his stats look better are because we picked up 2 great kickers. Other than our kickers that have saved our special teams, I am not impressed with Kotwitca. His kick coverage schemes don’t seem to be that effective.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 6:21 AM

        I agree that Hopkins, Way and Sundberg have done very well for the team.

        Way’s punts have been booming… just want to ensure he’s not out kicking coverage that in some instances will lead to more yards given up. Looking forward to more coffin corner punts! There was a beauty against the Falcons.

        Way was captain last season and he may continue in that role. I think the defensive captain will likely be either Hall (35%) or Compton (30%); outside chance it is Kerrigan (25%), Baker (5%) or Jean-Francois (5%).

        I think the offense could have two captains: Williams (previously in that role) and Cousins.

        • bangkokben - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:29 AM

          Way is awesome. He had one kick with a 66-yard net. A 56-yard punt with a 10-yard holding penalty while the punt was in the air. He may out kick the coverage occasionally too, but let him if that returner is 45 yards away. It isn’t easy fielding NFL punts — just ask Ross — but especially if the punt is ten to fifteen yards over your head. As for the teams improvement, it’s amazing how that seemed to coincide with Hopkins arrival. Danny Smith use to piss us off after the Redskins would uncharacteristically take a fourth quarter lead and he’d have Graham Gano try a directional kick toward the sideline inside the five. WTF? Now instead pinning the team inside the twenty or having the opponent start at the twenty, they’re starting at 40!

          Interestingly, the Steelers were 4th worst in TB last year at 40.4%. What does that translate to field position? I don’t know. They were 10th in the league in lowest return average at 22.2 yards. The Redskins were 4th at 20.1 — which is contrary to what Rich is suggesting. Also, a one year sample could be an outlier. I think I saw earlier in the summer an article that took a five year sample where it averages to about 1.7 points and some years it’s close to but less than three points. Bottom line, coaches are cautious and will go with what’s fresh in they’re memory. So, my expectations are that Hopkins will keep kicking deep. It should be noted that that TD return was about 4-5 yards deep in the end zone and the return was right between Cravens and Fuller. Cravens was also about 10 yards further up the field than anyone else. Did he make a mistake? Or did the other 10 see the ball was going in the end zone and half-assed it down there? Who knows.

      • rtcwon - Aug 29, 2016 at 4:53 PM

        Coverage units have been fine. It is the return schemes that have been ineffective.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 3:26 PM

      One thing to keep in mind, league wide there are traditionally more punts and kickoffs returned for touchdowns than the rest of the season combined. Because the ST players are either inexperienced; a player was on ST but got moved into a starting role early in the season and he’s not playing ST anymore; or because team’s practice offense and defense far more and they haven’t really done a lot of ST work. Obviously that’s true for the preseason too. But these guys get better after the first couple weeks.

      And another point I don’t see brought up much: if you just boot for a touchback every time your opportunity for a turnover goes to 0. Nobody can muff or fumble a touchback. Recovering the ball inside the opponents 30 yard line greatly increases your chances of scoring.

      So I agree with Rich. Just boot it into the end zone. But a return in the first preseason game shouldn’t sway your opinion if you liked the idea of a pouch to begin with. I’ll bet a couple teams experiment with pouch kicks after week 4. Bellichick already goes for it on 4th and 1 at the 50. Tomlin already liked to go for 2. The Redskins may not try this but some coaches who are confident in their STs will. The opportunity to try for a turnover or pinning a team on their 1-yard line will be too tempting not to try. Wether they can pull it off and continue to do it is another story. But I hope they’re practicing to prepare for it, just in case.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 3:36 PM

        I meant to say more returns in the first 3-4 weeks. Sorry

  2. colorofmyskinz - Aug 29, 2016 at 5:57 AM

    Nice case closed for us and great point. Give them the extra 5 yards and put it on the backs of your defense. There used to be a time for us where our defense was not worth the risk. This year, we can count on the defense to handle the extra 5 yards of ball position.

    I can remember when our special teams and defense were so bad, 4th and long was a better defensive move than punting. We have come a long way.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 3:27 PM

      I agree. But teams may be tempted to kick to Ross if he keeps muffing. We may plan to kick touchbacks but they should be practicing catching and covering pouch kicks.

  3. colorofmyskinz - Aug 29, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    For the record, us speculating blogging fans called C and NT the most critical positions to upgrade after the season ended.

    Coley on 980 is talking about how horrible we are with stopping the run when 3 TD string backs run between the tackles on us. We are addressing one with stork thank god. We still need a real NT/DT that can sure up the middle of our line. Love Cedric’s tenure and leadership but… Not cutting it with clogging the middle.

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 29, 2016 at 7:35 AM

      3rd string RBs

    • sidepull - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:48 AM

      Agree. I was always of the mind of building the lines inside out. NT and C. It just has never really taken off for whatever their reasoning is. I mean we went 3-4 and never got a first rate NT. I never got that at all. Why bother switching when what they had was working? Because the Steelers made it look tempting to do so is what I think. When the Redskins finally went out and got Knighton I thought now we are going to see a push up the middle and maybe Knoighton can stop the runs up the middle and maybe every once in a while slam the QB to the ground like he did RG3 when the Redskins played Denver. I thought Pot Roast was going to really help. Now hes gone and we are back to being “fine”. I hope it works, whatever they are planning. I think Stork is a nice addition but truth be told, I think he has issues and could wind up gone just like Knighton. We will see. They couldnt stop the run last year, at times the lack of pressure on the QB made them all look like Brady. I am skeptical. No lie. I hope I am wrong and they unveil some sort of great game plan that covers rather than exposes what I perceive as weaknesses. I mean on the bright side they won the NFCE last year. Who knows? Thats the caveat to all of this. On any given Sunday. In my mind they gotta rack up points.

      • COSSkinsFan - Aug 29, 2016 at 9:16 AM

        The pats cut pot roast. Maybe we get him back on the cheap. He wasn’t great last year but I still say he’s better than what we have. Heard we are trying out Cullen Jenkins so we can’t be happy with line play. Would rather have pot roast than paean. Losing Storke is a bummer but his concussion history bothers me. Hopefully we can find someone else.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 29, 2016 at 9:49 AM

          I don’t get the love for Pot Roast.

          We didn’t want to outbid the Patriots for him and now they’re cutting him. He’s not the answer.

        • sidepull - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:29 AM

          EZ come EZ go. He’s an afterthought already. Back to watching stellar C play.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 2:52 PM

          Pot Roast is probably not coming. Like, 99.8% sure about that. But if he would be willing to come play cheap, I personally would like it. Assuming his conditioning is better.

          The reason is because he seemed to be a great presence in the locker room. He’s a leader. That stuff matters. RJF and Baker seemed to love playing with him and guys play better when they’re happy and having fun.

          Also his main issue was conditioning last season. But the Pats cut him because he didn’t fit the scheme. They asked him to 2-gap. He’s been a 1 gaper his whole career. But he wasn’t cut because of his ability or conditioning (at least not that I’ve heard). He’s a true nose tackle (somethings many of you are pounding the table for), a leader, been on a Suler Bowl team, and is a better DT than Golston. He just is. Golston got the job because of money. If Knighton will come in at a low price, he would be a good addition.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 12:33 PM

        But you don’t build the line from the inside out. This is why nobody care what “speculating blogging fans” think. You guys say the damnedest things. The most valuable position on the O-line is LT (not on the inside) You get that done first. Then RT (not on the inside). Then I’ve heard an actual NFL front office guy argue that the backup/swing tackle is the 3rd most important position on the line. Then Center (obviously on the inside). Then LG, then RG. But centers and guards are absolutely not more values me than tackles and you don’t get them first.

        Edge rushers are also more valuable than interior linemen. Significantly so. then DEs, then DTs. Is our OLB situation all taken care of? How bout DE? You quite simply draft a 3 technique over a 0 technique if given the opportunity. That’s football 101.

        NT might be a very weak position for us but it’s not the greatest need because not all positions are equal in value.

        • sidepull - Aug 29, 2016 at 1:25 PM

          Hey Trey, I guess I didnt qualify everything I am thinking when I write it. I see how it came off. I personally thought when referring to inside out was….were good. Redskin specific. Not generally. Trent LT, we added a G and a RT stepped up in Moses. Now fix it from the inside out meaning Trent is getting older and by the time the do get a decent C he may be gone at this rate. Again w the NT we had Galette, Smith, Kerrigan and we at the time needed help inside. I think they could have beefed up the interior sure but I would have loved to see a big disruptive NT get some freaking push for once. I got your point and where your coming from easily. I should have just said it like that not thinking It was going to provide you with the chance to teach about football 101. My bad. I just dont think the “this is why nobody care what the speculating blogging fan think” “you say the damnedest things” comments are needed. Give it a rest 101.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 2:34 PM

          Well the comemnt you quoted wasn’t really directed at you. But the rest of my post was. And you’re right. It was an unnecessary tone to take. Non productive.

          But I can’t read your mind. When you say you’ve always been of the mind to build lines from the inside out, that sounds like you mean start with a NT and finsish with an OLB. It doesn’t sound anything like what you just said. People who think a nose tackle is more important than an edge rusher need a footbal 101 lesson.

          But we agree that a big/nasty DT (or two) is a great thing to have. I too worry that this team won’t get built into a contender in time for guys like Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan to ever have a true shot at a Super Bowl. Seriously, that bothers me. It’s a waste of talent for us and an unfortunate set of circumstances for their career/legacy.

          But make no mistake, this team is still very much rebuilding. We’re not a center and a nose tackle away from a super bowl push. There’s a good chance we need a better right tackle. We need one or two more quality OLBs. One or two more quality DEs. Probably a solid #2 receiver. Probably two starting caliber safties and at least one quality backup (depending on what happens with Cravens). Possibly all of those are bigger needs than a center or nose tackle for the immediate future. I might personally take a mountain of a DT over a safety if he is a 3 down player, but not everyone will agree.

          This team had a whole lot of holes to fill this offseason and just couldn’t get to the lesser needs. It happens. I won’t be shocked if the same is true after next offseason. Except the center. Center is pretty important. I think Kory is plenty good for 206 but obviously is getting old and we need his replacement. So I do expect them to address that by 2017 week 1.

    • bangkokben - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:32 AM

      So much for Stork since he failed his physical.

      • John - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:28 PM

        Bang your earlier comment about the punter. Sure, its great he has the big leg but that can be a problem when he out kicks the coverage, example: Landry TD return against Miami. The guy had plenty of time to pick a lane and make a move before the coverage got there. Next thing you know the Skins lose, and everyone was crying about Kirks INTs which were inconsequential.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:24 PM

          Out kicking the coverage is a problem. But Way’s booming punts are a nice problem to have. Better than a punter who punts too short. It’s nice to have the option of a 55-60 yard punt. Our ST improved greatly last year because we got a real kicker, and Way had a down year. But a good punter and kicker can make a huge difference on ST.

          Still, the coverage units just need to do their job if Way kicks it a little far. The receivers are still expected to catch a ball of Cousins doesn’t throw it perfectly on the money. Get down there and coral the returner out of bounds or make a damn tackle. No excuses.

          And I’ll tell you. The next big innovation in football should be athletic punters and kickers. Find Safety and Linebacker rejects and teach them to kick. Did you guys see the Cleveland punter back off instead of even trying to run the returner out of bounds in the 3rd game? We need kickers who aren’t afraid to lay the wood and would be actual run threats on fakes. Come to think of it, maybe Tebow should give up the MLB dream and try to be a new age kicker.

        • bangkokben - Aug 30, 2016 at 7:01 AM

          True. As long as the offense scores like it can, he will only have to punt three times a game. I don’t expect it to be an issue most of time. It’s a helluva lot better to have this problem than a net 35-yard punter.

  4. Duke - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    Amen! But, can a punter do a kick off? Just wondering 😊

    • John - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:30 PM

      Yes. Jeff Hayes used to kickoff back in the day instead of Mosley. Though Mosley had plenty of leg himself.

  5. blazerguy234 - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    I would guess that the difference in points scored from the 20 to the 25 yd. line was not necessarily accurate because there were a lot more times teams started from the 20 yd. line. Prior to the new often did a run back end right at the 25 yd. line.
    Pouch kicks…there is a lot more that can go wrong with this type of kick..than go right. Too short, out of bounds, two name a couple of things. It would require the kicker to ease up on a polished motion. Like a golfer not swinging as hard…often not the result that was wanted. The media came up with teams pooch kicking. Maybe I missed it, but I haven`t heard coaches talking about it…so, who else would have talked about it?

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:28 PM

      The coaches don’t talk about what plays they’re going to run on offense either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t run them.

      A lot can go wrong on a pouch kick. For both sides. The receiving team could muff or fumble. Or you could just pin them on their 5 and get a safety. There’s 0% chance of that happening if you boot it into the end zone. It works both ways.

  6. redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    Stork fails physical according to Cooley. Just awful news!

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 29, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    I guess we need Long to really get it at center.

  8. renhoekk2 - Aug 29, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    They should just get rid of the kick off play if they are moving touch-backs to the 25. I honestly believe the NFL doesn’t want to do that because in most cases they have commercial breaks after the extra point and then immediately again after the kick off. They show one non play and then go to commercial. They would be robbing their sponsors of advertising time. And don’t think the advertisers won’t take notice and have a problem with it, considering how much money the league takes from them.

    • bangkokben - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:35 AM

      Getting rid of the kick-off is the worst idea but you may be onto something as to why it’s still there. No kick-offs = no onside kicks = no Music City miracle, etc.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 2:43 PM

        No onside kicks is in fact one of the main reasons the competition committee hasn’t asked the owners to get rid of them. But kick returns are also one of the most electric plays in the sport. They’re willing to limit the chances of them happening, but they want the fans to feel there’s a chance. I’ve also heard some guys nostalgically talk about homie a game would look without an opening kickoff. Or taking more kicking plays (the foot) out of football.

        Punts seem safe for now, as they’re literally safer than kickoffs, but we could do away with them too. A team could just defer on 4th down and the opposing offense starts a flat 50 yards (or whatever) further back. But then there’s no fake punts or punt returns.

        There are ways to make this game safer without eliminating phases of it. And, if there’s still a risk of injury even without kickoffs so they need to do these things anway. But they’re harder and dirtier to do so they’re messing with an easy 5 yards in touchbacks instead.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:34 PM

      I forgot to address this earlier. But why couldn’t the NFL just take a commercial break whenever they want? They already take commercial breaks. They’re not going to make less advertising slots if they change the game. That’s really a simple thing to navigate around. Especially if it’s to prevent massive class action law suits from former players.

      Maybe they could just kick the PAT, go to commercials then come back and have the “receiving” team spin a wheel like on the price is right. It could have you start anywhere from the 5-25 in increments of 5. Maybe you get a bonus round or something if you stay under so many penalties. Then they go to commercial again. Yeah? Or maybe we could just watch NFL players play madden instead. Or maybe just make better damn helmets and get these guys off steroids and HGH so that the hits aren’t as hard. I know, crazy.

  9. mtskins - Aug 29, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Paul Kruger was released. It’s debatable if he is a good add or not, but he’s available.

    • bangkokben - Aug 29, 2016 at 11:36 AM

      Is he better than Bates? Do I really need to answer that?

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 12:22 PM

        That’s funny. I was just about to tweet that almost word for word

  10. John - Aug 29, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Kick it through the end zone on every kickoff. No its ands or buts!

  11. redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    Just added Cullen Jenkins. The guy is older than Golston…

    • ET - Aug 29, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      And did not add The Pot Roast. That says somethin’.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 2:46 PM

      I don’t really get it either. I’m assuming he’s Paea’s replacement but I really just don’t get it. I wish I could have been around practice and the locker room to know what these coaches know about Paea. Because one down year in a new system isn’t reason to bail on a powerful lineman with a sizable dead cap who had 6 sacks the year before. We’re obviously not getting the full story.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 3:23 PM

        On the personal side, Paea lost his grandmother, this summer, to whom he was very close. He has recently learned that his dad has prostate cancer. I feel bad for Paea; he wants to dedicate his season to them.

        Obviously, I have no idea why Paea is struggling. Sometimes, such tragic events sap energy instead of galvanizing an individual. Unfortunately, each team needs to assemble the strongest 53 players regardless of anyone’s personal circumstances. Given that the Redskins could wait two weeks to sign a veteran to a non-guaranteed contract suggests to me that the Redskins feel really concerned about the DL depth at the 6th spot. Signing a player two years older than Golston appears really desperate. In Scot We Trust.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 3:33 PM

          Well you’re spot on here. About all of it. Their actions are very telling.

          And I just want to emphasize what emotional stress like that can do to someone. This sounds cliche but the game really, truly, is so mental. It’s why great athletes fail in the NFL all the time and lesser athletes end up in the hall of fame. That could be exactly why Paea is struggling so bad.

          I can call his 2014 performance an anomaly and say his baseline is somewhere between 2014 and 2015. Then give him the family troubles as an excuse for this offseason. But, eventually, he had to prove his worth.

      • John - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:20 PM

        Perhaps Paea is just a better fit as a DTackle in 4-3 as opposed to an Ed in a 3-4? Some guys don’t necessarily translate like trying to make Chris Doleman and Andre Carter into OLBs in a 3-4, when they are natural speed rushing RDEs in a 4-3. Just better coming at you with a hand in the dirt.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 9:35 PM

          Yeah that’s a possibility. Although I kind of doubt it. We don’t really run a 3-4. We just call it that because there hasn’t been a term coined for what we run. But it doesn’t fit the usual distinctions between the 4-3 and 3-4. Paea’s job in Chicago wasnt that different from DC. He still 1-gaps, that’s an important similarity. And we’re in a 4 man front like 80% of the time. Paea plays a DT in that role. But his hand is in the dirt at DE or DT. So what’s the difference where he would be struggling?

          2014 was an anomaly for him though. That was an unusually good season for him. But 2015 was unusually bad. So I’m not sure we can really judge him on either. Paea should be bigger, faster, stronger than a 35 year old who wasn’t exactly a pro bowler to begin with. There’s something else going on.

        • John - Aug 30, 2016 at 11:03 AM

          Yeah, its a 3-4, but they run a lot of 4-2-5 nickel with a OLB with a hand in the dirt as an edge rusher from the right (Usually #93, Trent “Beast” Murphy. LOL).y point is he probably more comfortable/effective facing off against a G and or C as opposed to a T or T/TE combo.

    • John - Aug 29, 2016 at 8:09 PM

      The difference is Jenkins can provide a push up the middle, when they run a 4 man front. He was a key to the Packers pass rush when the pack got to the Super Bowl against the Steelers a few years back. Perhaps never got into a groove with Philly and NY as they looked for him to start when he is really a situational rusher. We could use someone like him in the rotation for passing downs. Even if its only for a year or so.

  12. redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 6:00 PM

    Redskins sign Vinston Painter. Originally drafted in 2013, he’s played in three NFL games. I like the fact that the Redskins continue to explore. It looks as if they gave players through the first three preseason games to make their case and they’ve got 1-2 openings along the offensive lines and defensive lines where they are not satisfied with the performance level.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 29, 2016 at 6:05 PM

      I like that they’re looking too. I hope they’re really looking at Kruger. It’s neglect of they don’t at least call him and ask what kind of money he’s looking for.

      But there’s a chance that none of the guys they bring in make the final 53. They can still be cut.

      And before people start going nuts about the Vikings trying to trade Sullivan, their center. Dude is 31, has been injured, and has a base salary of about 5.5 mil the next two years. I sincerely doubt McCloughan goes after him. Unless the Vikings will take a conditional 7th and eat some of his 2016 salary.

  13. goback2rfk - Aug 29, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    Yeh! 11 – 5 lets go! Pretty pumped for this season. With Tony Rhomo out for awhile Skins can secure the division if things go OK. Hail Yeah!

    • redskins12thman - Aug 29, 2016 at 9:14 PM

      I think the Cowboys will be much tougher than in prior years when Romo has been injured. Their offensive line remains one of the best in the NFL; to take full advantage of it, the Cowboys have two fantastic running backs in Elliott and our very own Morris, Bryant is healthy, Witten continues to turn back the clock and Prescott is playing beyond his years. I don’t think we are about to experience a Roethlisberger or Wilson rookie performance but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either; more likely, I think Prescott will play better than recent second stringers to Romo and that’s all the Cowboys really need; Prescott is decent in the pocket and is mobile too.

      In 2014, the Cowboys defense was projected to be the worst in the NFL but they turned out to be slightly above average and better than the Redskins defense that season.

      In 1989, the Redskins went 10-6; the Cowboys 1-15. The Cowboys win that season was against the Redskins.

      These are different ways I’m trying to say, please do not look past the Cowboys; they will be a real challenge and anyone taking them for granted will be in for a surprise. Archives

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