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State of the Redskins, Week 7—Defense remains on a roll

Oct 19, 2016, 9:09 AM EDT


Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 7 of the NFL season.

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

Rankings and changes from Week 6

Offense (yards/game): 387.2 (5th, +6 from last week)
Defense (yards/game): 366.5 (21st, +6)
Points for: 142 (15th, +1)
Points against: 142 (18th, +1)
Passer rating offense:  90.3 (18th, no change)
Opp passer rating: 89.6 (14th, +4)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.8 (4th, +11)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.0 (32nd, no change)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 8.5% (11th, +1)
Playoff chances per FO: 45.9%, +16.5% from last week

Trending the right way: After averaging 7.0 yards per rushing attempt against the Eagles the Redskins are now fourth in the NFL at 4.8 per attempt on the season. That’s over a full yard better than their 2015 average of 3.7 per carry.

Trending the wrong way: The rushing defense is not getting any better. The Redskins remain dead last in the NFL giving up 5.0 yards per carry to the other team.

Top three storylines:

Three headed monster—It’s too early to proclaim that the Redskins’ trio of running backs are something special but Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and Robert Kelley are looking pretty good. Jones is on pace to rush for over 1,100 yards but he needs to watch out for Kelley taking too many of his carries. Meanwhile, Thompson is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and is on pace to rush for more than 300 yards.

Shutting them down—The Ravens scored a touchdown on their opening drive against the Redskins defense and they haven’t allowed one since. If you go back to the second half against the Browns that’s one touchdown in 10 quarters of play. The “fire Joe Barry” crowd has been very quiet lately.

Chink in the special teams armor—The Redskins’ special teams have been outstanding for the most part but they suffered a crucial breakdown in allowing a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown. Sure, the penalty on Vernon Davis put them at a disadvantage but they have to get off the blocks and make the tackle. One return alone isn’t an issue as long as they tighten things up from here on out.

Next three games

Sunday @ Lions (3-3)—The Redskins once went for 30 years, from 1968 through 1997, without losing to the Lions. Now the Lions have won three in a row against Washington. Detroit also has won its last two games. The last time the Redskins beat Detroit Jim Zorn was in his first year as the head coach. Nobody should expect a walkover for the visitors.

October 30 vs Bengals (2-3) in London—While the Bengals are still a quality team this game does not seem quite as daunting as it did when the matchup at Wembley Stadium was announced. The Cowboys steamrolled them on Sunday. Despite a pretty good arsenal of weapons Andy Dalton has just five touchdown passes in five games.

November 13 vs. Vikings (5-0)—How did the Vikings get to 5-0 without their starting quarterback and Hall of Fame running back? Let’s start with them being plus-11 in turnover margin. They have at least one takeaway every game and they have only turned it over once. Minnesota has more return touchdowns (4) than rushing TDs (3).

  1. redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    The improvement in most statistics illustrates how great a game the Redskins had against the Eagles.

    Rushing attack is an A for me. My goal for the year was an average of 4.2 or 4.3 yards per carry; they’re a full half yard above this!

    I felt rushing defense finally had a good game against the Eagles so I feel it did show better even if they remain dead last in average yards per carry (I think they climbed out of the bottom in run DVOA); whether the Redskins defense can repeat a strong run defense performance is an important question they need to answer.

    The Redskins offense just needs to continue a strong, balanced, “mistake free” performance. The Redskins defense needs to contain run and stop Lions potent passing offense. I expect Redskins secondary to be tested.

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    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      Matt Stafford is probably the best QB you never hear anything about. He is capable of shredding you and is an expert throwing those crazy side arm throws at the last second.
      This Lions game is going to be tough for sure. We are going to need good Kirk for this one. Might have to pass a lot to stay in the game.
      Hopefully Reid and Cravens can play? Have not heard much on them. Would be really nice if Reid could go.

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      • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:35 AM

        x 2. Stafford’s mobility is helping the offense too.

        I feel balance between run and pass is best; as you say, Kirk needs to play well / smart like he did for 95% of the game against the Eagles. Hopefully we are planning our run attack as well as we did against the Eagles.

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 21, 2016 at 3:40 AM

          @12thman: I forgot to tell you. The Washington post did a little film breakdown of Cousins vs. the Eagles yesterday. Don’t know if you saw it but they had a couple sentences about how Cousins has done well with his mobility this year and has made some good plays moving around. Kind of made me chuckle because of some of the conversations around here. I guess it all depends on your perspective.

      • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 2:53 PM

        Stafford is a good QB. I like him a lot. But something seems off with that offense every single year. Maybe Jim Bob gets them going but so far I’m not overly impressed.

        If our O-line can hold up then I’m not too worried. But Detroit probably has a better D-line than some people think so that’s not a given.

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    • ET - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:32 AM

      Stafford is a real threat. The Lions OL isn’t great, though, so I hope we see some real pressure from our front seven. Otherwise it’ll be a long Sunday shootout.

      Cousins is capable of going toe-to-toe with another slinger, but I think we’d all rather see the balanced, methodical offense we saw last week. If the RBs are chewing up yards again, watch out Lions.

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      • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:37 AM

        x 2. The Lions OL held its own against Donald and rest of Rams front 7.

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      • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 11:28 AM

        The Lions hold the worst passing defense by quarterback rating 119.3 and are 31st by football outsiders which has them at 47.6% or that much worst than an AVERAGE passing defense. Conversely. Washington is holding it opponents to a QBR of 89.6 and are -1.1% or just better than average which ironically ranks 11th in the league. Bring on the shootout — if need be.

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    • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      If the Redskins offense is “mistake free,” they will dominate this game by two TDs or more. They can easily win this with mistakes provided they aren’t dropping every pass (a la New England last year). Mistakes are part of the game as long as they’re limited the Redskins will score 25 points. If they’re free of any blemish they score forty.

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      • ET - Oct 19, 2016 at 12:09 PM

        Ha—if this team can manage to play “mistake free,” they can be terrifying.

        Maybe we’ll get to see something close once this year if we’re fortunate.

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  2. redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Facing Andre Roberts, I agree we need to clean up special teams play; we’ve also had two punts nearly blocked / turned into impact plays (Giants / Ravens).

    Some more top storylines:

    With Long at center, have we started to see Hogs 2.0 and return of strong running attack?

    Can Redskins defense hold Lions, like they did the Eagles, to less than 100 yards rushing?

    Are we ready for Lions passing attack?

    Who returns from Lions injured list?

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 2:57 PM

      I don’t think Andre Roberts scares anyone.

      The best way for us to hold Detroit to under 100 yards rushing is to get an early lead (so they have to throw) and then run the ball well ourselves (so Detroit’s offense isn’t on the field). Our D has played so much better the past couple weeks but stopping the run is still our weakness.

      As far as Hogs 2.0: They have the size. That’s for sure. But I don’t know if they’re quite there. I think Scherff is quietly having a really good season. He seems to be breaking out. If Long gradually gets better and everyone else stays healthy then maybe they’re worthy of that name by the end of the season.

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      • redskins12thman - Oct 20, 2016 at 8:19 AM

        Redskins and Lions are 1 and 2 in punt returns. Like Crowder, Roberts returned a punt for 85 yards.

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 21, 2016 at 3:53 AM

          Yeah. He had a single kickoff return for us last year too. It’s still relatively early in the season to get too caught up in stat leaders.

          I always thought Roberts was an OK player if you removed the drops (but you can’t do he’s not actually very good). The guy did good work from the slot and got open. He just couldn’t hold on to anything. He wasn’t a bad return guy, but he’s also no Devin Hester. I don’t mean to be overly confident or obnoxious. Andre Roberts is just the least of my concerns. He’s about the definition of “just a guy.”

          Detroit doesn’t really have a #1 receiver since Megatron retired but Tate and Jones are good #2s and Ebron is a good TE if he’s actually healthy enough to play. Those are the guys, particularly Jones, that can hurt us and who they’re probably game planning for. Roberts is just a guy you pay attention to when he enters your zone because you have to. I

          Hopefully all of Hopkins kicks go for touchbacks. Our coverage on punts has been decent. He will probably have a big return just to spite me but I don’t see him as any more of a threat than any of the other guys who usually return punts. Last week with Sproles, that was scary. Against Dallis with their little ST demon (Whithead? Harris? Something like that) that guy is scary. Pittsburgh with AB returning kicks, scary. But not Andre Roberts.

          Remember that Ross returned a kick for us last year too and he’s not even usually active on game day but he’s not returning anything even when he is. Sometimes guys just get really good blocking or get lucky. It’s kind of funny because Ross and Roberts were extremely similar stat wise last year but fans couldn’t wait to see Roberts leave and treated Ross like he was the next DJax. Remember, this is the guy fans basically tarred, feathered and drug out of town.

    • devlyn310188 - Oct 19, 2016 at 6:52 PM

      lovin’ how the line looked last week. Scherff was awesome against supposedly one of the best tackles in the game. Long also very encouraging. In pass pro they were reminiscent of the Hogs.

      My main concern is the inability, or reluctance, to pound it in on the goal line or up the gut on 3rd and 1, so not quite there yet

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 9:11 PM

        They were mauling guys in the run game though. When we actually called a run, we delivered. It’s not the line’s fault we didn’t try goaline runs or on 3rd and 1.

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  3. bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    As most of you know, if the overall record is tied, there are then tiebreakers. Within the division, they are as follows: head-to-head, division record, COMMON GAMES, nfc, strength of victory, strength of schedule, and five more before a coin toss. Therefore the current standings format is inadequate, AFC record is actually slightly more important due to its commonality, and these numbers are for your pleasure;

    overall, div, com, nfc, victories by victories, sos
    DAL 5-1, 1-1, 4-1, 3-1, 11 wins, .484
    WAS 4-2, 2-1, 4-2, 2-1, 9 wins, .511
    PHI 3-2, 0-1, 3-2, 1-2, 5 wins, .570
    NYG 3-3, 1-1, 2-3, 2-3, 10 wins, .549

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 11:16 AM

      This is great. Redskins are about to face two teams the Cowboys already beat — Bengals and Packers — and the Cowboys face the Lions later in the season.

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      • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 11:39 AM

        Washington isn’t going to get any help with Dallas from the other teams. The Redskins need to keep pace by just winning. Dallas has its bye, then Philly, Cleveland, Pittsburgh (with or without Big Ben), and Baltimore before Thanksgiving. However, as long as the Redskins keep pace, they control their own destiny. Philly is into the teeth of their schedule and aren’t likely to emerge out of it unscathed. They are just now accumulating injuries and it will be interesting to see how they handle:
        vs. MIN
        @ DAL
        @ NYG
        vs. ATL
        @ SEA
        vs. GB

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        • ET - Oct 19, 2016 at 12:40 PM

          vs. MIN
          @ DAL
          @ NYG
          vs. ATL
          @ SEA
          vs. GB


          Sorry / not sorry, Philly. That’s a tough stretch. Might wanna get that right tackle situation fixed and save the Golden Boy from a drubbin’.

        • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 2:29 PM

          Seriously, those that were/are on the Philly bandwagon might want to look for that eject button. I hope the Eagles surprise me and beat Dallas but I’m finding it hard to see them finishing the year with a winning record. Next year, watch out.

        • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 3:01 PM

          Good point: “The Redskins need to keep pace by just winning.” …. either to catch Cowboys or to put ourselves in a position to contend for a Wild Card spot.

        • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 4:07 PM

          And it appears Pittsburgh will be without Ben for at least 6 weeks, maybe more, because the doctors found some old injuries when they went in there. So wouldn’t it just be our luck if we were the only team to lose to the Steelers in our division? Not that they’re terrible without Ben, just not as dangerous.

          I don’t think the Cowboys are winning out the rest of the year, but I don’t see too many more losses if they keep playing like they are. Ben is right, all we can do is keep winning and not worry about them. Until we play them that is.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 8:23 PM

          This actually looks worse than I remembered. 1. Because Kirk stared D JAx down. 2. Threw into triple coverage to an undersized receiver. 3. Crowder ran a perfect wheel route and is wide open to his left for a TD. 4. Matt Jones is opening in the middle of the field, in his line of sight, and would have at least gotten the first down.

        • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:04 PM

          What is this in response to?

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:16 PM

          Previous discussion I didn’t feel like scrolling through for my notifications for. Pick one.

        • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:26 PM

          I get that but specifically? Did I ever say anything about that play?! What did I say that would give you the idea that I was justifying it?

        • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 10:32 PM

          My bad. Now that I look at it I know what you’re talking about.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 20, 2016 at 1:02 AM

          Yeah I think it would’ve helped if the gif would’ve posted. The link shows up in the notifications though. Referring to the near pick in the red zone.

      • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 7:14 PM

        Yep and if you look at the common games you see that the division games mean that much more.

        We beat the Ravens and Browns but lost to the Steelers
        Eagles beat the Steelers and Browns but lost to the Lions and play the Vikes this week
        Giants beat the Ravens but lost to the Packers and Vikes
        Cowboys have beaten the Bengals and Packers

        We just need to win our division/head to head (and hope Dallas doesn’t stay in first) or have the division tie breaker. Common games are looking like they’re going to shake out evenly.

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      • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 7:56 PM

        Also I gave Kirk a B- mainly because of the pick because it’s getting to be an old theme. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for the guy. Yes there are worse QBs in the league throwing a lot more picks but he has the better o line, receivers and supposedly talent level. THAT SAID this pick wasn’t as bad as I orginally thought it to be.
        Ok it wasn’t that bad but still

        I’m sticking with my B- now that I see that it was a favorable grade. He still almost threw a pick in the end zone so it’s not like he learned from his mistakes. But otherwise I might’ve bumped his grade up because this wasn’t as bad though he could’ve took the sack or threw it away..

        Other note if Kirk would’ve acted like he wanted to tackle the guy and flopped on that “block” near the goal line I think he would’ve drew an illegal block in the back and negated the TD or at best gave us better field postion after the kick. I know it’s not standard ops to have your QB attempt to tackle (or RBs remember CP in the preseason years ago?) but just a heads up play on a turnover that was your fault.Throw it away and take the penalty

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  4. RuddyJamesDIO - Oct 19, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Fire Joe Barry…

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  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 19, 2016 at 12:36 PM


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  6. Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    Obviously I’m not happy about giving up a return TD. But that was the first kick return these guys had to cover all season. I think it’s reasonable to say they might be rusty and make got caught sleeping. I’m just more upset about stupid penalties than i am that. The rules might be stupid but they’re the rules. Know them and just follow them. It’s literally your job.

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  7. lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    I’m extremely nervous about this game because it’s almost the only game we’ve been picked to win. The Browns were and still are winless but hey still put up a good fight. That was a different defense. I want to say that was the minimum of this defense’s trajectory. I said before one of the biggest favors Kirk can do for himself is to continue to to beat weaker teams. (On my own points system that doesn’t merit a ton of praise, but man if you lose and especially if you look awful- it’s a weighted average) I worded that pretty carefully, weaker teams. We have better offensive weapons, I’d say our line is pretty solid and out defense is definitely better. Our run game hasn’t had much sustained success but has looked good the last tow outings but the Lions have a little injury turnover in that section. I think it’s easy to fall into the barn burner shoot out this looks like but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if this is the statement game for the run game. Last week we were happy with the production but still wanted better quality play calling ie the red zone. I think that’ll be fixed. If the run game continues then I think you start seeing us stretch the field. I just don’t think Kirk is going to be the primary method of attack. Start your Redskins RBs in fantasy.

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    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 19, 2016 at 4:06 PM

      Ford Field is indoors and this is a passing league. This has shootout written all over it. Look for Kirk to have to put up some points and yardage to keep up with Detroit. McVay ran enough last week for 2 games worth. I smell pass heavy. The Redskins are a passing team.
      Jackson is out with a shoulder, if he cannot go and Reid cannot go, get Garcon and or Crowder in your lineups. Start your Redskins WRs in fantasy.

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      • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:21 PM

        If Reed can’t go and Jackson can’t go then DEFINITELY start your RB’s. I don’t think anyone wants to see Kirk get in a shootout with Stafford with Ryan Grant or Ross starting in place of Jax.

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:24 PM

          That’s a scary thought. But we still have Crowder, Garçon, Davis, and Paul. I think i would take that group over Jones, Tate, Roberts, and Ebron.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:50 PM

          Roberts caught a GW TD pass last week, that’s how I knew Dallas was going to beat the Pack. Up is down.

        • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 6:30 PM

          I saw that. It was a great catch too. I guess that’s his one for the year.

        • COSSkinsFan - Oct 19, 2016 at 7:34 PM

          Homecoming for Kirk, he’s gonna shred them.

    • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 4:12 PM

      I would be happy with a relatively balanced attack. I don’t think we want to do too much of either. Have Cousins throw too much and we expose him to sacks and INTs. I don’t think we’re in danger of over running the ball but we’ll obviously have to take our shots in the passing game too. Just keep a nice balanced attack and trust the D to do their job.

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      • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:05 PM

        Not saying it will be run dominant like Kirk is only going to throw 20 passes but the run will definitely set up the pass this week. Idk just one of those feelings I’m having. Three bac, back field. Build on last weeks discovery of the run game. Why I’m struggling so much in starting my fantasy line up.

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:18 PM

          I think I would actually like to see what this offense looked like only passing 20 times. It’s not going to happen, it would be a strange reversal and we wouldn’t be using our strength. But I would be curious what Cousins looks like in that offense. I suspect he would look better with less on his plate. But I could be completely off.

  8. lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 6:09 PM

    “Kirk Cousins is coming off a strong outing — save for one disastrous decision that was returned for a touchdown. That’s been the problem this season. Cousins has some excellent moments every game, which is why he has thrown for 1,695 yards (sixth in the NFL) and nine touchdowns. But he has also thrown six interceptions, some of which were of the head-scratching variety. One occurred in the end zone late in a Week 2 loss to Dallas. Until last week, Cousins was missing too many targets downfield, and he has struggled in the red zone, ranking 25th in total QBR at 26.1. The good thing for Washington is that he has thrown eight touchdown passes and three interceptions in their four-game win streak. But there’s plenty of room for more growth.” — John Keim

    I’ve been getting killed for calling him average but my notifications have grown silent since Rich graded Kirk’s performance more harshly, then posted the comparison from up and down Kirk last year to up and down Kirk this year. ESPN gave him a C+ I haven’t seen a publication grade him above that yet. I was asked yesterday so I thought I’d share.

    “But there’s plenty of room for more growth.”

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  9. lezziemcdykerson - Oct 19, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    “Is Cousins improving?

    He’s slowly progressing and making several off-schedule plays last week was a positive step for a player who struggled to make such plays for much of last season. This is an excellent offense capable of more than what it’s shown. Some of that has been on Cousins’ inability to connect on more opportunities. Some of it has been due to costly mistakes. And some of it stemmed from a need to be less reliant on the pass. Cousins is not a carry-your-team quarterback so having other elements to limit pressure is a plus. Detroit’s defense has not defended the pass well. The Lions are last in total QBR by opposing quarterbacks; 27th in net yards per pass attempt and 23rd in total passing yards. There will be chances.”

    Also when I said the offense should be playing better. Also when I said he’s only improved marginally this is what I meant. Take it from them I’m just a hater. I’d go back and reply to the actual conversation but I’m too lazy.

    “But there’s plenty of room for more growth.”

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    • COSSkinsFan - Oct 19, 2016 at 8:34 PM

      I remember Gruden saying at the beginning of the season last year that Kirk could not carry us. Then he started doing just that. He spoiled us into thinking he could. The jury is still out on that I think he will prove himself to be that guy, but a reason for optimism is how the team has grown around him. Special teams has surpassed my expectations and has been spectacular. The defense is improving and is better against the pass than last year. If we improve against the run we will be dangerous. If we can plau to our pitential on offense, i like our chances against anybody. All the hype is on the Cowboys, let it be there. The funny thing is had Kirk thrown a td instead of that headscratcher interception against Dallas, I’m confident of 2 things. People would still be hyping the Cowboys and the other is the same people would be making reasons why my we are the worst team in our division. The disrespect people show us is crazy, but the advantage is it has people playing with chips on their shoulders. I can’t wait til we go to Dallas and show them how the game is played.

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 20, 2016 at 1:51 AM

        When did Gruden say that? I think I would like to see that quote. I feel like it would have been plastered everywhere this summer when people were debating about Cousins’ contract if Gruden actually said that. Are you sure Gruden didn’t say something more like that a QB can’t win games all on his own and needs a team to help? Because that’s true for every QB.

        If you look at how Dallas had success in 2014 and how they’re doing it now: they’re really doing it without a very good defense. Their stats might not be all that bad but I think they’re misleading. They’re able to run the ball and keep their defense fresh. So they still have energy even late in the game. That matters. They’re also not getting in a hole so their defense can play however they want. That run game and turnover free football is really helping the D look better. It’s the other side of the coin to Denver last year. It’s hard to build both a great offense and defense in this league. But if you build at least one side of the ball correctly then it can work out for you.

        That’s not me saying the Cowboys are winning out and are a great team or anything. It’s just kind of amazing how in both 2014 and 2016 everybody expected them to have serious defensive struggles and they didn’t manifest while having the top rushing attack in the league .

        But Dallas is the most profitable sports franchise in the world and they have two rookie sensations, including a QB. Of course they’re going to get a lot of attention. It’s just how it works.

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        • COSSkinsFan - Oct 20, 2016 at 8:45 AM

          I’ll try to find the quote. It was early last season before he was performing at an elite level.

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