Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kirk Cousins Rallies Team For Historic Comeback

Kirk Cousins has been scrutinized the last few games for his inconsistent performances, but Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have silenced his critics—for now.

The Redskins found themselves in a hole right from the start as they were down 24-0 in the second quarter. At this point, fair-weather fans, or should I say Robert Griffin III supporters, started booing the 'Skins. Some of the players, like Keenan Robinson, took note of this. After the game, he tweeted, "If yall so fed up then stay at home. We lay it all on the line every time we play. The opposing teams get paid too. Its the NFL for a reason."

Not to worry, fair-weather fans, for Captain Kirk was at the helm and did not disappoint. Cousins ran for an 8-yard touchdown, getting Washington on the board. He proceeded to throw three touchdowns, with the most crucial of them coming with only 24 seconds left. This was Cousins' second game-winning drive in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter in the month of October. The last player to accomplish such a feat was Drew Bledsoe back in 2005.

Cousins also tied a franchise record for completions (33 of 40), while his 124.7 passer rating is the highest of his career.

After leading his team to the largest comeback in Redskins history, Cousins was fired up, and rightfully so. As he walked past a local reporter, he shouted, "You Like That!," which came as a surprise to many since Cousins usually has a calm demeanor. However, it was all in good fun and presumably resulted from being scrutinized so much lately.

Unlike RG3, Cousins is proving to be a game manager and one that can stay healthy without getting sacked every other play. Hopeless fans are still clinging to RG3's magical 2012 season, constantly reminding others of what he was capable of. News flash: that was 3 years ago; he is not the same player anymore. This is Cousins' first season as the starter—let him play and continue to grow. RG3 had his share of opportunities, and now it is Cousins' turn.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Redskins 2015-16 Free Agency: Day 1

With the 2015-16 league year officially starting at 4 p.m. EST today, the Washington Redskins have signed a flurry of aging veterans with massive contracts.

No, wait, that was the old way free agency was handled at Redskins Park. The team's new regime is remaining patient and not dangling money bags above the biggest named players. In fact, general manager Scot McCloughan recently stated the draft as being "the lifeline of your organization." I cannot speak for everyone, but that is music to my ears.

Photo: zimbio.com
Still, the Redskins did sign one free agent that should have an impact on defense; 26-year-old Stephen Paea

Paea's deal is worth $20 million over four years. His contract seems cheap compared to Ndamukong Suh's six-year contract worth $114 million and $60 million guaranteed. 

In 2011, Paea was drafted in the second round (53rd overall) by the Chicago Bears. He is coming off a career season where he recorded 33 tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. At this point, it's hard to tell if he will play at nose tackle or defensive end. Regardless, pencil him in as an upgrade for Washington.

Unfortunately, the Redskins have lost a key player of their own to free agency. Speedy running back Roy Helu Jr. was signed to the Oakland Raiders on a two-year deal. The 26-year-old is from the Bay Area, which most likely impacted his decision, considering that the Raiders' history of losing would not entice any player. Now the Redskins must begin their search for a solid backup RB behind Alfred Morris.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kirk Cousins Shares His Drug Testing Experience

Kirk Cousins is known for his likeability, positive attitude, and honesty. Sometimes, though, he provides more information than necessary.

Photo: Zimbio.com
"The off-season drug testing protocol continues to amaze me! Got invited to the tester's home this time: Knocked on the door, introduced myself, peed in his bathroom while he watched, talked corvettes, then left. Totally weird, but great hospitality & I love a drug free sport!" Cousins said via his Sqor account.

Not only did this incident further enhance Cousins' openness, it raises the question: How did the topic of corvettes arise under such circumstances? If asked, Cousins will most certainly have an amusing answer.

No doubt he will pass his test with flying colors.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Redskins' Free Agents of 2015: Who Should Stay and Who Should go?

Santana Moss:
A longtime starting wide receiver and deep threat for Washington, the 35-year-old Moss has seen a significant drop in his offensive role. One of the most obvious reasons for his decline, aside from age, is that previous 'Skins personnel ignored the team's need for a true No. 1 receiver, keeping Moss atop the depth chart. This was the case until the acquisitions of starters Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. When asked about his future in the NFL, Moss said, "I know I can still play, physically, therefore, I'm still going to try to play." Given the few opportunities Moss had in 2014, he made the most of them and looked quick, despite turning 36 by the time training camp starts. Washington should keep the savvy veteran around for one last ride at the minimum cost.

Tyler Polumbus:
For some strange reason, Polumbus has been the starting right tackle for the last few seasons. Perhaps the organization was stuck in the Twilight Zone (a dimension where anything is possible) during that span. This is the only plausible explanation I have come up with. Justifying my harsh comments is not necessary if you have seen him play. Therefore, I will keep it simple: Polumbus needs to be cut; right now.
Photo: usatoday.com

Roy Helu Jr:
The speedy running back who recently turned 26 will have his first opportunity to test the free agent market. Helu is a valuable player, especially in passing situations, and the Redskins would be wise to offer him a nice contract—without overspending. It would be hard to imagine heading into the 2015 season with Silas Redd and Chris Thompson as the backups to superstar Alfred Morris.

Brian Orakpo:
After being drafted 13th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, Orakpo seemed to be a solid pick for Washington. Through six seasons, Orakpo has totaled 254 tackles, 40 sacks, 6 interceptions, 1 touchdown, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. The problem for this gifted pass rusher is keeping himself healthy. Orakpo wants to be paid as an elite player, but his inability to stay on the field does not warrant a hefty contract. Still, after all of his injuries, there are numerous 'Skins fans arguing that he should be signed to a long-term deal. As MADtv's character 'Tank' would say, "PASS!"

Ryan Clark:
Sure, he has lost a step, but the Redskins coveted Clark, not the other way around. Therefore, I cannot fathom why fans hate on him so much and call him a "bum," among other names. Clark is still a reliable team leader who came at an affordable rate. His role was used as a Band-Aid to cover up the safety position that has been abysmal ever since the death of Sean Taylor. However, it would be a huge mistake if the Redskins choose not to upgrade their safeties in 2015. Unless Clark is willing to serve as a backup, it is time to move on.

Jarvis Jenkins:
Mike Shanahan selected Jenkins 41st overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Jenkins has yet to show signs of potential. He has missed time with injuries and even has a PED suspension during his brief time in the NFL. Whether through free agency or the draft, adding a pass rushing defensive end should be a top priority.

Chris Nield:
See above on Jenkins—just change "defensive end" to "defensive tackle." In Nield's defense (excuse the pun), he was not drafted nearly as high as Jenkins, nor did he have many expectations to make an impact. In addition, Nield was never suspended for PED violations.

Niles Paul:
There was a time when Paul drew comparisons to former tight end Shannon Sharpe. These were probably the same people who believed Nick Williams could be the next Wes Welker. However, 2014 proved to be a breakout year for Paul, putting up 507 yards on 39 receptions and a touchdown. When Jordan Reed went down with injuries—what else is new—Paul stepped up as the starter and showed some flash. At just 25 years old, there are two scenarios this offseason: 1) the Redskins re-sign him and continue to utilize him as a backup, or 2) they let another team entice him with the opportunity to be a starter. Unless Vernon Davis is brought to D.C. as some speculate, Paul should continue to wear the burgundy and gold.

E.J. Biggers:
The only feasible reason Biggers was brought back last year is because the team found themselves backed into a corner (no pun intended) once again by not landing a proven cornerback. He is still young and does not affect the salary cap very much, but he is not that good. There is always the possibility of the 'Skins spending on other needs first—leaving little cap room to work with—which means Biggers could be back. Still, they should look elsewhere.

Leonard Hankerson:
Standing at 6'2", he has the size of an ideal wide receiver. However, staying healthy has been a challenge for him, as has having butterfingers for hands. Not to mention, his work ethic has been questioned ever since his rookie season. Another no-brainer here: move on and find someone who can play the game.

Brandon Meriweather:
Somewhat surprisingly,  Meriweather played okay this past season, notching 55 tackles, 3 sacks (that's more than Orakpo), and 3 forced fumbles. Nonetheless, he continued to give up big plays while failing to play all 16 games—something he has not done since his 2010 season with New England. Meriweather will be 31 and can only get worse. Perhaps if Clark is not willing to serve a backup role, the 'Skins could keep Meriweather around. But, by no means should he be the starting safety in 2015.

Colt McCoy:
McCoy began the season as the third-string quarterback, but seized his opportunity when he rallied the team to beat the Dallas Cowboys in overtime. After that game, fans said he was the new face of the franchise and created "Vote for Colt" presidential logos on the internet. McCoy was injured later in the season, ruining his chance to continue proving his value. Now the Redskins are back to square one regarding their quarterback decisions. Assuming Kirk Cousins will be traded, McCoy's chances of staying in Washington should increase.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Washington Redskins Hire a New General Manager

The Washington Redskins potentially made the smartest football decision they have made in a long time.

The team has hired Scot McCloughan as their new general manager. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is for four years.

McCloughan was previously the GM of the San Francisco 49ers until 2010 when they parted ways due to his past issues with alcohol abuse. The Seattle Seahawks then hired him to serve as a senior personnel executive. McCloughan resigned in 2014 due to some personal issues.

Photo: ESPN.com
Known around the league as a natural talent evaluator, McCloughan should give the lowly Redskins a much-needed GM with a true scouting background. The number of talented players acquired though the draft under McCloughan's reign is astonishing. Most of those players are still on their respective team's rosters, while a number of them have been to the Pro Bowl—both of which are foreign concepts to the Redskins. Washington fans are used to seeing drafted players either A) not make the team, or B) traded/released but then blossom for another team.

With the signing of McCloughan, Bruce Allen's title will change from being the President and GM to simply being the President. This allows McCloughan to have control over picking players while Allen handles the business side of everything with the team.

When asked about his assessment of the team's quarterback situation with Robert Griffin III, McCloughan said, "Not sure yet." His brief comment will no doubt lead to speculation and rumors surrounding Griffin's future with the franchise. After all, McCloughan was not part of this organization who gave up a king's ransom to select Griffin in the 2012 NFL Draft.

This hiring proves that there is still some hope behind the doors of Redskins Park.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Former Redskin Cory Raymer Offers Advice to Young Athletes

Cory Raymer, former NFL offensive lineman of eleven seasons, shared his beliefs as to what amateur athletes must understand in order to become professionals.

"It's not that anymore," Raymer, 41, said when referring to playing football in the backyard with friends. "You got numbers, you got names, you got responsibilities... you gotta really bare down and you know, just as much time on the field, you gotta spend probably two or three times as much off the field."

Raymer's analogy for athletes is: the step from high school to college is large enough where one would need a ladder, but from college to the NFL, one would need an elevator.

Raymer emphasized the importance of work ethic and education.

"It's like work — it sucks sometimes, but you gotta find a way to make it fun and enjoyable and it's gonna repeatedly be there and it's repeatedly gonna kick you in the butt time and time again," Raymer said. "That's just the way it is, and it's not just school, it's life in general."

The harsh reality is that most youth athletes never get the opportunity to play professional football. For this reason, Raymer encourages athletes to strive in school and reach for higher education.

"A college degree is worth as much as weight in gold," Raymer said. "I mean, it's a piece of paper, but without that piece of paper, you're going nowhere."

Raymer attended the University of Wisconsin, where he was honored as an All-American. Drafted 37th overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1995 draft, he finished his career with 83 starts at center. In 2005, he retired from the NFL.