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Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Giants II


In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 20-14 win over the New York Giants

* * *

— While peeling the monkey better known as the Giants off their back, the Redskins slid into first place in the NFC East, which isn’t quite as good as proclaiming such in years past (because this NFC East is quite terrible this year), but Washington is set to play meaningful football in December. Hooray!

— You’re going to hear folks claim the Redskins rushing game got back on track Sunday, but that doesn’t tell nearly enough of the story. Sure, the Redskins finished with 105 yards, but that came on 37 carries, leaving a YPC average of just 2.8.

— Speaking of the run game, Alfred Morris was the bell cow. Not only was he healthy (or at least healthier), but Matt Jones has also battled the fumble bug as of late and Washington couldn’t afford another two cough-ups in this game. Morris only averaged 3.3 yards per carry, but ran it 23 times and had some strong runs down the stretch.

— Kirk Cousins finished the game without a turnover, which is a big deal considering his track record against the Giants. He finished 20-of-29 for 302 yards and two scores (one rushing on a QB keeper with inches to goal).


— The Redskins defense was the real darling on Sunday. They turned Eli Manning over three times, sacked him another three times, limited the Giants to just 33 rushing yards, and did a nice job against Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the game (52 of ODB’s yards and his lone touchdown came in the final quarter).

— Two of those three turnovers came early in the game (both INTs) and the Redskins offense sputtered in return, going three-and-out on the back end of both picks. NOT TOO GOOD, BOB.

— Which reminds me, 4-of-15 on third down is also pretty bad. Add to that Washington’s seven penalties for 80 yards and we might be able to start discussing all the points the Redskins left out on there. Weird, I know.

— But again, it was clearly a day for the defense, as they turned in arguably their best game of the season. Finally. Guys were flying around, they were alert, and they played with attitude.

— Specifically Ryan Kerrigan, who appeared more explosive and finished with two sacks.

— And Quinton Dunbar, who came into camp as a wide receiver before being switched to corner, and his length is undeniable. He held his own on Sunday and even picked off Manning in the end zone. Who knows what you have with him, but he’s a fun project to watch.

— And Bashuad Breeland, who played a helluva game, especially given the task of manning Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the afternoon.

— On the other hand, DeAngelo Hall at safety is still a concern. I’m not saying it can’t work, but there’s reason to be nervous with him back there right now.


— This may be the Scot McCloughan effect we all anticipated, but Will Blackmon continues to look like a solid veteran pickup. Another interception for him on Sunday.

— The two best playmakers on the Redskins offense showed up again. DeSean Jackson’s 63-yard touchdown bomb, along with Jordan Reed’s eight catches for 98 yards were both key ingredients to Washington’s victory.

— Special teams was fine for most of the game, although the blocked Dustin Hopkins field goal attempt was a tough one.

— It was a feel-good win, not only for the division win, but because it carried the weight of first place in the NFC East. And because it was good to see Cousins shake the Giants. And because the Redskins played well (for the most) part on all three teams. And because the defense led the effort.

— On to the (Romo-less) Cowboys on Monday night.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 12

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

In the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week.

* * *


Kirk Cousins ($5,400) v. NYG

The Giants rank 30th in the league against quarterbacks this season, and that bodes well for a guy who’s likely to throw 30-40 passes in a game the Redskins desperately need in order to keep their playoff (wtf) hopes alive. Washington can’t run the ball (as in, like, literally cannot run the football) and the pass is what they’ll need to rely on. That kind of opportunity at this number is a bargain.

Jameis Winston ($5,500) @ IND

Nine touchdowns to just two interceptions in his last six games has put Jameis Winston on quite the heater as of late. The Colts, meanwhile, are allowing over 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks and the Buccaneers should have a shot in this one.

Josh McCown ($5,000) v. BAL

With Johnny Manziel’s latest social media video comes his demotion to third string on Cleveland’s depth chart, which means next up is the man with the impeccable jaw line, one Josh McCown. The Ravens are third-worst in the league against quarterbacks this season, and McCown carved them up for 457 yards, three scores, and 39 fantasy points the last time these two teams met in Week 5.

It’s Turkey time! Gets back to carvin’, Josh!

Brian Hoyer ($5,000) v. NO

If you like the idea of DeAndre Hopkins this week (which you should), then you should also consider Brian Hoyer, who’s returning this week from a concussion and set to play a putrid New Orleans defense that’s in complete disarray (unless they worked some miracles during their bye). Hoyer’s highest total of the season is 24, but he has a strong chance to exceed that this week.


Running Back

T.J. Yeldon ($4,800) v. SD

The matchup on paper is perfect. In the one hand you have an agile running back in T.J. Yeldon who’s a big part of his team’s offense and very much involved, and in the other hand you have a San Diego defense that ranks dead last in allowed FPPG to opposing running backs. Throw that together and you have your *thunderous rumble erupts* BARGAIN OF THE WEEK.

Javorius Allen ($4,600) @ CLE

When you refer to the Ravens being out of options, that’s implied in the most literal sense. No Steve Smith; no Justin Forsett; no Joe Flacco. This Baltimore football franchise is running off backups and third-stringers at this point. But sorting through the mess gives you a chance at finding something shiny, which could come in the form of Javorius “Buck” Allen this week. The Browns are allowing more than 22 FPPG to opposing running backs and the Ravens hardly have anywhere else to turn. For Allen’s anticipated workload, the price is a steal.

Giovani Bernard ($4,500) v. STL

Although his rushing totals have been pretty ‘meh’, Gio Bernard is earning his living in the passing game. While the Rams defensive front is a good one, they’re still allowing more than 21 FPPG to opposing running backs. And perhaps more importantly, the Rams defense allows more than six receptions by running backs per game, which ranks near bottom of the league. The Bengals aren’t getting away from their most explosive back and he has the skills to gash St. Louis and turn in some quality production.

Chris Thompson ($3,200) v. NYG

Alfred Morris is hurt, Matt Jones can’t hold onto the football — oh! — and Washington has no ground attack anyway. Chris Thompson can do some damage catching the ball out of the backfield, and you’d have to think that’s where the Washington gameplan lies this week in a game they need to win against a divisional opponent. Sure, CT may not be a reassuring pick in cash games, but he’s worth a look in tournaments.


Wide Receiver

DeSean Jackson ($5,100) v. NYG

His game and therefore his rostering is usually pretty risky, but the Giants host a defense capable of being gashed and mauled by a player like DeSean Jackson. His nearly 20 fantasy points last week reassured us that he’s back and healthy, so there’s no worries on that front. Jackson is probably more tournament than cash game, but his ceiling is attractive in each, especially at just over $5k.

Kamar Aiken ($4,900) @ CLE

The line in this game is one of the lowest of the week according to Vegas, but again, the Ravens are defaulting to guys at this point thanks to injuries, so a guy like Kamar Aiken is arguably the top receiving option in Baltimore. It’s hard to say what happens with Matt Schaub under center rather than Joe Cool, but Aiken’s 18 catches for 185 yards and 42+ fantasy points over his last three games is plenty to build on.

Stevie Johnson ($4,500) @ JAX

Stevie Johnson appears to have reacquired his early-season form over his last two games, and injuries to San Diego’s wide receiver corps could keep him in line for more volume. The Jaguars are allowing nearly 28 FPPG to opposing wideouts and Johnson is the most reliable wideout for the Chargers at this point.


Tight End

Delanie Walker ($5,400) v. OAK

With Oakland allowing close to 16 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Delanie Walker receiving plenty of attention from Marcus Mariota, the Titans tight end has a chance to be a top performer at his position this week.

Jordan Reed ($5,100) v. NYG

Continuing to take advantage of defenses who struggle against tight ends, coming in just behind Oakland is New York. Jordan Reed’s sprained MCL is a slight concern, but he did return to action last week after sustaining the injury and we haven’t seen anything to doubt he’ll go on Sunday. He’s averaging nearly 16 FPPG and he’s caught fire in the redzone as of late, hauling in five scores in his last four games.

Crockett Gillmore ($3,700) @ CLE

After earning himself a spot on the bargain shelf last week and then turning in an 18-point performance, Crockett Gillmore lands himself on the list again this week against Cleveland. Not to sound like a broken record when it comes to the depleted Baltimore offense, but the same theory applies here. Gillmore should be a primary target for Matt Schaub.



Bengals ($3,000) v. STL

The line is low, the Rams are bad, the Bengals are favored, and Case Keenum is starting.


Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Panthers

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 44-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers 

* * *

We could talk about the horrible officiating, Washington’s pathetic pursuit of establishing a rushing attack, the lack of discipline as it pertains to probably a half dozen neutral zone infraction penalties, a miserable defense, and the list goes on.

But instead, to save time, the postgame notes and react are best summed up with this…


Better luck next week.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 11

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

In the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week.

* * *


Tyrod Taylor ($5,200) @ NE

The matchup obviously isn’t ideal, but this is a fair number for a player of TyGOD’s skill and the Patriots are allowing better than 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. If this game — for whatever reason — gets into any kind of shootout, we’ll take our chances there. Remember Taylor’s last game against New England in Week 2? Sure, they picked him off three times, but TyGOD also threw for three scores, ran in a touchdown, and finished with 29 fantasy points.

Derek Carr ($6,300) @ DET

Derek Carr has missed the 22-point mark just three times this season (including one against Cincy in Week 1 and another against Denver in Week 5) and he’s slingin’ the ball a ton. Detroit meanwhile is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (20+) and the Raiders are a two-point favorite on the road in a high-lined (48.5) game.

Brock Osweiler ($5,000) @ CHI

No need to preach about this shot in the dark, but the Bears are allowing nearly 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, Denver has some receiving weapons, and it’ll only set you back five grand. Chicago coaches are sure to have their own reads on Brock Osweiler, but hey — you get what you pay for, right?


Running Back

Charcandrick West ($4,500) @ SD

The price here is a bit surprising given Charcandrick hasn’t sunk below 22 points in his last three games. Not to mention, San Diego is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (26.4). The line in this one (KC giving three on the road) should cause some flirtation on the Chargers side, but a Chiefs blowout victory wouldn’t surprise anyone, right? Gimme all the Charcandrick.

Matt Jones ($4,000) @ CAR

We took a flier on Matt Jones last week against a porous New Orleans defense and wouldn’t ya know it — BAM — 31+ fantasy points. Things aren’t assumed the same this go’round, but Carolina (albeit a very good defense) are actually giving up more than 22 FPPG to opposing rushers, which isn’t great. As mentioned in weeks past, Jones is the most explosive (and fantasy friendly) back in Washington, and he’s the guy called on if/when the Redskins get things going on the ground. And as a bonus, he gives you something in the screen game too (see: last week).

LeGarrette Blount ($5,000) v. BUF

Although LeGarrette Blount plays a different position, the loss of Julian Edelman will force the Patriots to rely on other skill players and that’s where Big Body Blount could come into play. Buffalo is allowing just over 20 FPPG to opposing running backs, which puts them somewhere in the middle of the league, and seemingly something for Blount to work with. It may not be a play to fall in love with, but the price is right.


Wide Receiver

Rishard Matthews ($4,700) v. DAL

With all the love that’s sure to be poured over Dallas with the expected return of Tony Romo, feel free to play against the grain with this one. Rishard Matthews has created a pretty strong floor for himself and neither team can afford a loss here, so gunning for points we shall have. Matthews is averaging just over 15 FPPG this season, and that’s good enough at this price point.

Brandon LaFell ($4,300) v. BUF

He may have been a disappointment last week (just two catches), but Brandon LaFell receives an uptick at this point for obvious reasons (the loss of Julian Edelman). The Fighting Rex Ryans are allowing more than 32 FPPG to opposing wideouts, which is good for seventh-worse in the league. No one forgot about Rob Gronkowski, but Tom Brady will need his receivers too.

Jamison Crowder ($3,800) @ CAR

I promise it’s not homerism; I just can’t quit Jamison Crowder this season. His price point is entirely too low for how big of a part he plays in the Washington offense and he provides the potential big play YAC on nearly every short throw. With more attention focused on containing DeSean Jackson and keeping him from going over the top, it’s Crowder who’s there to gobble up the low-lying fruit. All day, ya’ll.

Danny Amendola ($4,000) v. BUF

The last time these two teams met, Julian Edelman went in on the Bills with 11 catches and two scores. Edelman is of course injured this time around, but Danny Amendola can step in as a poor man’s version. Awesome price, here.


Tight End

Jordan Reed ($4,900) @ CAR

Another young stud I can’t help but lush over. Until his price creeps above $5,000, Jordan Reed is an easy play each week regardless of opponent.

Crockett Gillmore ($3,300) v. STL

The receiver group in Baltimore is a mixed bag of day-old bagels, which bodes well for Crockett Gilllmore, and especially so in daily fantasy stuff and things. The price is right and this game could get weird (no surprise here if Baltimore blows the doors off St. Louis).



Eagles ($3,100) v. TB

They’re not necessarily sneaky, but the Eagles defense has been a solid producer this season despite not being talked about too much. They’re one of only a few units averaging double-digits this season and they’re at least $500 less than the others playing this week (Seahawks, Broncos, Rams).

Ravens ($2,700) v. STL

No one’s saying the Ravens are good, but they have the makings of a decent streaming option this week. The total is way low in this one, the Rams are shuffling quarterbacks, and Baltimore has to be beyond pissed off following last week’s game.


DeMar DeRozan Dunks All Over Rudy Gobert

If we’re discussing good ideas and bad ideas, challenging Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert one-on-one at the rim would typically fall on the ‘bad idea’ side of things. He’s 7’2″ with this freakishly massive wingspan, the ability to leap over you, and hands the size of frying pans.

Simply put, the odds usually aren’t in your favor if you’re the guy trying to score a bucket in that spot.

But then a guy like DeMar DeRozan comes around and tells us all to shut up.


Take a look at the reaction faces just before DeRozan puts the ball through the bucket.


And it’d almost be a disservice if someone didn’t sync this clip to some Jim Ross commentary, so special thanks to this fine fellow. Enjoy…


Maryland Defeats Georgetown: 10 Terps Things and Takeaways

awesome picture c/o Tommy Gilligan of USA Today Sports

awesome picture c/o Tommy Gilligan of USA Today Sports

The ice frozen between both programs melted on Tuesday night and the Maryland Terrapins defended home court up to the very end, edging Georgetown 75-71 and handing the Hoyas their second loss of the season.

The hype surrounding this No. 3-ranked Terps squad is warranted — they have a handful of potential NBA draft picks for next summer — but the season is still very young. Here are 10 things and takeaways from the game, whether they be premature or not.


1. Buy Michal Cekovsky Stock

The seven-foot Slovakian sophomore is trending hard in the right direction, and his play on Tuesday night was exciting. Not only can he run the floor, but Cekovsky has active hands on defense and he looks more assertive with a year of big time play under his belt. His footwork has also improved and this should be a sizable leap year for him.


2. Frontcourt Depth

Diamond Stone, Michal Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, Robert Carter Jr. All 6’9″ and up; all capable of holding their own down low (we think); all athletic enough to run the floor and score in transition. It’s a really nice insurance policy to have and one that’ll come in handy come tournament time.


3. The X-Box Crowd

Not that anyone should ever doubt how rabid a fan base can be at the Xfinity Center in College Park, but they sounded especially good on Tuesday night. Surely the longtime rivalry and discussion added fuel to the fire, but the students and those in attendance didn’t disappoint. Loud, raucous, effective. “Now I’m on this side I can officially say it,” Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon said after the game. “They’re the best fans in the world.”


4. From Most Hated to Most Cherished

There’s a little bit of hyperbole splattered on that statement — Rasheed Sulaimon was probably never the most hated guy on those Duke teams, and it’s doubtful that any player on this Terps roster pulls at your heart strings more than hometown stud Melo Trimble — but the Duke transfer looked awesome in his first big game donning his new and improved Maryland colors.

Just to come out and make an early prediction, here’t is: After never really living up to the hype under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke before ultimately being dismissed from the program last season, Rasheed Sulaimon will resurrect his career in College Park and be a first-round draft pick next summer. Boom.

He might be Maryland’s best on-ball defender (although he needs to become more efficient on those under/over pick decisions), he’s extremely fast up and down the court, he’s a seasoned senior with plenty of experience in big spots, and he’ll be a huge part of Maryland’s success this season alongside Melo Trimble.

It was hard to ignore the spark and flare Sulaimon played with on Tuesday night on his way to 10 points, seven assists, two boards, and a steal. He had tons of energy whenever he brought the ball up court, he made wise decisions against the zone (his drive and dish to Ceko with the shot clock winding down rings a bell), and he even made big shots late in the game when the Terps desperately needed them (hello, three-ball from way downtown).

Rooting for Sulaimon will probably still take some getting used to after cursing him so often during his three years at Duke, but it shouldn’t take long. He’s an exciting part of this team.


5. We Heard A Lot About Him, Now Robert Carter Jr. Is Finally Here

Following his transfer from Georgia Tech, Robert Carter Jr. was forced to sit out last season in accordance to NCAA rules. Terps fans heard all about how impressive he looked in practice and how he just had to be the best redshirt player in the country.

On Tuesday night, we finally got to see RCJ1 in action2 and he looked awesome with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds. Although not spectacular on the defensive end Tuesday night, he’s strong inside with a massive wingspan and soft shooting touch, and he’s perfect for this Maryland offense.


6. How Does Maryland’s Frontcourt Compare

Just before Maryland’s tip with Georgetown, Kentucky happened to be on television and thankfully took it to Duke, winning 74-63. One easy observation of the Wildcats was how athletic their big men are and how threatening they can be in transition.

While it’s probably not fair to put the Terps big men in the same category of ‘athletically freakish’ as guys like Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee, and Alex Poythress, Maryland shouldn’t be ignored. Good footwork inside and the ability for each of them to create down low goes a long way.


7. Sharp Diamond, Rough Stone

…please excuse me while I see myself out for writing arguably the lamest headline you’ll see all season…

Freshman Diamond Stone is just a baby, but his aggression and toughness is apparent, which is a great sign this early in the season. He doesn’t shy away from contact, he’s a willing shot blocker, and he’s a guy whose motor won’t quit.

Stone finished Tuesday with just five points, a rebound, and a block in 31 minutes, but then again this was just his second collegiate game, and first big time action. There’s no worries with this guy moving forward and Maryland fans should probably cherish the time they do have with Stone, who could likely make the one-and-done leap to the NBA following this season if all goes well.


8. Beyond the Arc

You’ll definitely get production from point guard Melo Trimble from three-point land, but senior Jake Layman and sophomore Jared Nickens are the shooting strokes Maryland will need to rely on most this season.


9. The Legends Returned

And the pictures and tweets were so beautiful.

Maryland all day..

A photo posted by #TeamVasquez (@greivisvasquez) on


9.5 Early or Not, Tuesday Serves as Huge Win

If you threw everything into bowl and mixed it all up, Tuesday night was huge. Not only was the game long-awaited, but long-discussed; the Hoyas were hungry after dropping their season opener to Radford; pressure was on Maryland to not only defend homecourt, but defend their No. 3 ranking against their first true test of the season, in a game of this magnitude with tons of alumni and old-timers looking on and praying the Terps prevail. Add on top of that the fact that Maryland had to maintain their composure and play disciplined basketball at the end of a close game to ultimately pull out the win and it was just…a lot.

The massive exhale and sigh of relief from Mark Turgeon following the end of the game was revealing. It was simple, yet expressive of what this game meant, both before the opening tip and after the final whistle.

Also, this Maryland/Georgetown thing should happen every year. Fantastic stuff.


10. Does Maryland Look Like a No. 3?

I’m throwing this out there because it came up in casual chit chat at the coffee machine Wednesday morning. Is Maryland really the third-best team in the nation?

In simplest form, I’d answer by saying it’s way too early to tell.

Do the Terps have as much highlight potential and four-letter network showcase pizzazz as a team like a Kentucky? Probably not. But they’re a very solid team with good foundation, strong guard play, adequate depth, and valuable experience, all of which makes them an undoubted top-10 team in the nation.

With a freshman in Stone, a new(ish) guy like Carter3, and a transfer in Sulaimon all a part of the starting lineup, surely some gelling will need to develop and grow moving forward in order for Maryland to meet their true potential, but that potential is very real.

As it is with many teams (think of John Calipari and his rotating door of one-and-done’s), time and experience and playing alongside one another is what takes a group of talented basketball players and morphs them into a team, and that’s exactly what Mark Turgeon has in College Park. It might take a little bit, but the Terps are legit.


Brandon Browner Shows How Much of a Mess Saints Defense Is

How much of a mess?

Enough of a mess that reports surfaced Monday morning that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired. And enough of a mess that head coach Sean Payton later dismissed those reports a few hours later.

Enough of a mess that the Redskins blew the doors off ’em 47-14 on Sunday. And enough of a mess that they’ve allowed 120 points and over 1,400 yards over their last three games.

Without pretending to know the in’s and out’s of the Saints defense, there appears to be some sort of leadership and/or discipline issue at the very least. Take this clip of Brandon Browner from Sunday’s game against the Redskins for example.

That’s a 31-year-old veteran, two-time Super Bowl winning cornerback making a selfish play and taking a blindside cheap shot on an offensive lineman. But even more than looking like a clown based on the fact that he blindsided a guy, Browner could have made a play on the ball carrier in this play and possibly (most likely) saved his team a touchdown in a tied ball game.

Solid stuff, bro. Don’t be surprised if those reports surrounding Rob Ryan come back around.

Answering Questions Regarding the Redskins and Kirk Cousins’ Looming Contract Extension

Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after a touchdown by Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Following Kirk Cousins’ perfect performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the hot topic moving forward will be the quarterback’s future in Washington and the impending contract extension that comes with it. The 27-year-old Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent following this season and the Redskins will need to make a decision over the course of the next several weeks on which direction they’d like to go with the game’s most coveted position.

Does Captain Kirk deserve an extension? 

It’s hard to argue that he doesn’t. Surely the length and amount of money involved is the most important part of that question, but if we’re talking about extension for exactly what it is, yeah, the guy deserves a contract.

And that’s not to say you prefer Kirk Cousins as your team’s starting quarterback. Maybe you think a few good games so far this season are more indicative of fools gold than they are a promising future. You may be right, you may not. But the facts are 1.) Cousins can play the quarterback position in the NFL, and 2.) he’s shown progress this season.

Why should the Redskins make an offer to Cousins right away? 

The quarterback position is the game’s most important and there are only 32 starters in the league, not all of which are good. The market for quarterback is obvious, and therefore you don’t want to let something good get away. If you don’t begin talks with Cousins now, who’s to say he doesn’t begin to welcome the idea of testing the open market following the season? And who’s to say another team isn’t willing to make him a rich man; perhaps even more rich than if he were to stay in Washington?

Is there any reason why the Redskins should wait to extend Cousins? 

Absolutely. A couple reasons, actually. And that’s part of the game of contracts. It’s a matter of gamble and leverage and negotiation. It’s a matter of each party sitting down at the table, doing what’s best for themselves, maintaining a smile, and then walking away pleased with how it all went.

At this point, Cousins has lots of leverage. His team is in contention for the division, he hasn’t thrown a careless pick in the last three games, he made franchise history when he orchestraed that comeback against the Buccaneers in Week 7, and he’s coming off a Saints game in which he posted a perfect passer rating. Needless to say, Cousins looks sexier right now than he ever has before.

So what’s a hypothetical front office angle for waiting?

Obviously you’re not rooting against the guy, but one front office angle could be to hold off on contract stuff at the moment, let Cousins get through Carolina, Buffalo, and four division games, see if his stock settles at all, and then move forward with contact negotiations.

Worst case scenario (for the front office, that is, strictly in terms of dollars and cents), Cousins goes 6-0 to close the season, throws a dozen touchdowns to just two interceptions, and the Redskins make the playoffs. In that case, the front office waiting angle failed, Cousins is in fact sexier than he was in Week 10, and you’re probably looking at ponying up more cash.

On the flip side of that situation, however, your team is doing well and you have a real quarterback on your hands, neither of which is a bad case at all.

And of course, if Cousins falls flat on his face to close out the season, the asking price fluctuates accordingly and the Redskins have a decision to make, albeit (most likely) an easier one.

What kind of money are we talking for Cousins? 

With all the recent quarterback contracts we’ve seen lately including what’s best referred to as ‘funny money’, it’s tough to say.

Take Andy Dalton’s extension for example. He signed a six-year, $96 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, including a $12 million signing bonus, $17 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $16 million. Not bad for comparison purposes.

How about Ryan Tannehill? He signed a four-year, $77 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, including a $11.5 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19.25 million. While that does seem a little rich, that could be the potential uptick in annual salary we’re talking about if the Redskins front office decides to hold off on negotiations now and Cousins proceeds to light it up to close the season.

And remember Colin Kaepernick’s deal? He signed a six-year, $114 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers and everyone screamed about how crazy and baffling $100 million plus was for a guy like him. But the deal included a $12.3 million signing bonus, $61 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19 million. Again, probably a little too rich, but these are listed for comparison purposes only.

Point being, a contract’s total (and largest) number that finds its way into all the headlines only tells part of the story. The details give you the meat of it. It’s safe to assume we see something similar to that when the Redskins extend Cousins. The total number will likely force sticker shock to some, but the details will end up team friendly.

What’s the best case situation for Redskins fans?

Undoubtedly, the best case for Redskins fans is that Kirk Cousins finishes the season strong, the Redskins make the playoffs, and the quarterback is extended at the end of the season. Aside from the instant gratification of making the playoffs, that would mean fans could also rest easy knowing they have a solid quarterback on their roster and that he’s not going anywhere for a few years. Stability, structure, and potential moving forward is a huge step in the right direction, especially when you’re talking about the quarterback position.

Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Saints


In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 47-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.  

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— The Redskins did their best impression of a high-powered Patriots offense on Sunday. They were on fire. Couldn’t miss, wouldn’t stumble, didn’t sputter. It was awesome to watch.

— That said, the Saints defense is awful. Like, really awful. That’s not to take anything away from the Redskins offense, but with the parts they have on offense, they should be able to put up points against a defense that often appears like they’re playing with nine guys instead of 11. The Redskins handled business at home.

— But I’m not going to halt the excitement on behalf of a not-so-good opponent, because the Redskins were really good. Kirk Cousins had a perfect game, and I mean that literally. He finished 20-of-25 for 324 yards and four touchdowns, which is good for a passer rating of 158.3, which just so happens to be a perfect quarterback rating in the NFL. Watching the tape will tell more, but I remember just two bad passes from him all day.

— The ground game returned to the tune of 31 carries for 225 yards. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones were neck and neck in terms of snap counts and each of them averaged better than five yards per carry (with Morris sniffing the 7.0 YPC mark). It’s great to see the Redskins effectively running the ball again, but things weren’t fixed overnight. Let’s see how they perform on the ground next week against Carolina before we run and tell the town how great they are.

— Speaking of Matt Jones — he added three catches for 131 yards and a score, including a 78-yard screen pass that he creatively turned into a score. The rookie has such a unique set of skills and he’s an exciting piece of the puzzle moving forward.

hotline bling

— How ’bout the defense! Fully expecting this game to be a back-and-forth affair, the Redskins held the Saints to just 14 points. Drew Brees threw two interceptions, he was sacked three times, and the Saints converted just four of their 11 third downs.

— The Saints finished with 158 yards on the ground, but 70 of those yards came from a Mark Ingram run that sprung thanks to poor Washington tackling. I hate doing this BUT, take that run away and the Redskins held their opponent to less than 100 yards on the day.

— Only five penalties for 26 yards for Washington, and we’ll gladly take that.

— And 6-for-11 on third down, which is a number that should keep you in most games so long as you don’t constantly shoot yourself in the foot.

— Tight end Jordan Reed is a stud. I thought he’d be targeted more, but we’ll take three catches for 29 yards and two scores. He’s the team’s best RZ option and this team is a different animal when Reed is healthy and on the field.

— I guess you could say DeSean Jackson was a bit more involved in his second game back since suffering that hamstring injury. His 44-yard catch down the left sideline was a thing of beauty (on 3rd-and-4!), but it was the only deep shot Jackson had all game. Just two catches for 44 yards against this defense was less than anticipated.

— Another good game for Dustin Hopkins, whose name should be receiving votes for most sought after replica jersey in 2015. He’s fantastic.

— Hat tip to the defense, and maybe a soft apology to Perry Riley Jr. We’ve been ripping him lately (which I will continue to support as well deserved) but he came out and played a decent game on Sunday, making a play to break up a pass early in the game, and even coming down with an interception of his own. Not a perfect game or a great game, but a good one given what we’ve seen out of the middle linebacker as of late.

fist pumping

— After missing a tackle on a huge play early in the game, safety Dashon Goldson redeemed himself in the second half with a 34-yard interception for a touchdown. Brees’ pass went through the hands of Marques Colston on the sidelines and Goldson had a nice break on the ball to be in the right place at the right time. He high-stepped nearly the entire way into the end zone. It was great. His inability to wrap-up, however, is the complete opposite of great.

— On one of the Saints’ long touchdowns to Brandin Cooks early in the game, Ryan Kerrigan had beat the right tackle and appeared to have his shot at Brees. An apparent stutter at the top of his move, however, left Kerrigan unable to bend and convert on the sack attempt. It was a frustrating play in the game, but one that was likely forgotten as time went on and the Redskins kept rolling. I will say this though regarding that play: Brees is one of the very best in the league. He feels that kind of pressure, he knows that kind of pressure, and his feet are trained to avoid that kind of pressure. I’m not sure how much we can beat up on Kerrigan for that one. It was a great play by the future Hall of Fame quarterback too.

—  Josh LeRibeus at center continues to be frightening. His snaps can be anywhere and everywhere and Cousins even made a couple nice, instinctive plays in order to haul in shotgun snaps on Sunday. Yeesh — white knuckling each snap is bad for the blood pressure.

— The monster stomp by the offense, the solid play by the defense, and the doable performance by the special teams unit made this an all-around good game for the Washington football team. But it’s very important we don’t get caught up in this win. They won’t all be like this moving forward. We need to remind ourselves of the opponent and prepare for the next game.

— The Redskins are in a unique situation in that they have four remaining division games, and that helps the cause of ‘control your own destiny’. Now on to next week against the Panthers. Upset alert?

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