Washington Redskins astutely riding ground game in win streak

By | January 11, 2018

It’s unclear if Kirk Cousins got his wish to attend Sunday night’s Coldplay concert at FedEx Field. If so, he was treated to a Redskins shoutout by singer Chris Martin.

During a solo acoustic interlude during the band’s sold out show, Martin launched into a seemingly improvised version of an NFL fight song shot the through the prism of a sensitive aughts rock hero.

Murphy earned a career-high nine sacks in 2016 as a rotational pass rusher. The 26-year-old didn’t start a game last season, but played 45 or more snaps in 12 games, mainly in passing situations.

Murphy was slated to miss the first four games after getting popped for a PED suspension in April.

A toe injury might not sound extremely serious, especially to keep a player out of camp for its entirety up until this point, but it can become a nagging injury. For Reed, who had to see a specialist about the toe and has struggled to stay on the field in his career, caution is the best approach. It’s also great news for the Redskins, who were at one point facing the possibility of the injury being more serious than it turned out to be.

They should also be ecstatic about receiving one of the league’s best tight ends two weeks before the season begins. Considering the aforementioned health reasons, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of live game reps Reed gets in the next two weeks.

The key to the Redskins’ hopes of repeating as NFC East champions can be summarized by one play late in their 27-20 win over Philadelphia. It was the image of Washington running back Matt Jones charging downfield on a third-and-7, gobbling up precious yardage and consuming even more valuable seconds. The Eagles had to know that call was coming, as it was the sensible move for a team holding a one-score lead, pinned back in its own territory. That Philly surrendered a 57-yard dash at such a crucial moment tells you plenty about the Redskins’ long-term potential.

Simply put, the Redskins need to run the ball the way they did against Philadelphia to be serious playoff contenders. They generated 230 yards on the ground and reminded people once again why they’re currently riding a four-game winning streak.

If 2015 was the year when Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins surprised the NFL, then this season offers a crucial opportunity to remind us all of what he truly can do. There is no more flying under the radar, no more chances to capitalize on the time-tested benefit of being underestimated. Cousins enters his fifth year knowing full well what’s on the line and what needs to be proven. All he has to do now is deliver.

What makes Cousins so interesting is that he led the Redskins to the NFC East title in 2015, yet he still has to show this team that he’s worthy of being the long-term answer at quarterback. Washington has guaranteed him a one-year salary of $19.953 million — after designating him as a non-exclusive franchise free agent in February — but neither side could agree on a new contract during the offseason. So Cousins has to impress his employer all over again, just as he did when he supplanted Robert Griffin III last year. That, by the way, is just fine with him.

While it should never be surprising to see a 13-year veteran get released this time of year while general managers try to get younger and cheaper, Jenkins looked to have a decent chance of making the roster. He could still be a heavy favorite to return once the Redskins can get him on a week-to-week deal and don’t have to guarantee his salary for the season.

If Washington doesn’t bring him back, they’ll obviously keep their eyes peeled for help along the defensive line. The team is currently relying on the likes of Ricky Jean-Francois, Kendric Golston, Chris Baker, Kendall Reyes and Ziggy Hood. Jenkins played in 14 games for the Giants last season, logging three sacks and 15 total tackles. A defensive tackle and stretch end, Jenkins could still be versatile enough to find a home in any defensive system.