Washington Redskins’ youth movement never gets old
By Tracee Hamilton,
Well, drafting Kirk Cousins in the fourth round looks pretty smart now, doesn’t it, you doubters! All he did was turn a devastating loss into a 31-28 overtime win Sunday after Robert Griffin III went down (and then got up and went down again). So I hope all of you who mocked that pick are ashamed of yourselves.
I know I am. I admit it; I thought that pick would be better spent on a lineman.
Linemen? We don’t need no stinking linemen! (Well, that’s not necessarily true but Monday has a “big talk” feel to it, doesn’t it?)
Let’s evaluate the situation. The Washington Redskins are about .500. In December. The Redskins are playing meaningful, nay, crucial games. In December. The Redskins are exciting to watch. In December. And the Redskins are doing all of this largely thanks to a cadre of rookies.
Griffin — where to start? His quarterback rating leads the league. He’s fifth in completion percentage. And he’s tied for 35th in interceptions. Four picks for a rookie quarterback? Astonishing. With apologies to Reggie Jackson, he’s the straw that stirs the drink.
Too bad he isn’t a bendy straw. We’ve finally found his weakness: His knee bends in only one direction. Now the watching and waiting begins, although I wouldn’t count him out for Cleveland. But don’t you love a guy who says of getting hurt: “I screamed — like a man, of course.” Come on! If you don’t like Griffin, you are Scrooge, the Grinch and Gollum, rolled into one.
Cousins — all Cousins did Sunday was come into an impossible situation and make it look easy. He was patient and accurate on the touchdown throw to Pierre Garcon, and then to go for a quarterback draw for two points . . . that was Griffin-esque. Cousins was 2 for 2 with a touchdown and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. Spartans everywhere are cheering.
Alfred Morris simply ran all over the Ravens. He set a franchise rookie record for carries to bookend with his franchise rookie record for yards. He’s fourth in the league in rushing yards. (Griffin’s 26th.) When Morris says he won’t be brought down by the first defender, he’s not kidding. It’s fun to watch him go under a pile and then squirt out of it for more. If Morris showed up last season, pre-Griffin, he would have been the Darling of D.C.
Kai Forbath has not missed a field goal — long ones, short ones, high-pressure ones. (Yes, he needs to practice his kickoffs. But since the NFL is eliminating them, Forbath might as well buy a home in Ashburn and settle in.)
And then there’s Richard Crawford. Say, he’s apparently a pretty good kick returner. Perhaps the Redskins should use him again next week.
(Morris is a sixth-round pick; Crawford is a seventh-rounder. Forbath, while not technically a rookie, is playing his first pro season. Maybe this is why the Redskins felt comfortable trading away those high picks.)
You can’t win in the NFL with a team full of rookies, of course, but apparently you can win with rookies in key spots. The Redskins are proving that every week. Remember when Zimm and Ovie were the new kids in town? Now Griffin, Cousins, Morris, Forbath and Crawford join Bryce Harper at the head of Washington’s youth movement.
Everyone in the area, it seems, already owns a No. 10 jersey or is impatiently waiting to find one under the tree, or the menorah, or — if you’re at my folks’ house — the pool table (don’t ask). So for the person who has everything, how about a No. 12 Cousins jersey, or an Official Griffin Sleeve, as a stocking stuffer?
Maybe the Redskins’ marketing department should do a “rookie set”: Buy 2, 10, 12, 39 and 46 as a package, just in time for Christmas! To pay for it, just play those numbers in the lottery — for the PowerBall, use “III.”
After games such as Sunday’s, you’ll hear fans say, “That took 10 years off my life.” In fact, the Redskins’ entire season could be seen as one big wrinkle-maker, courtesy of a bunch of youngsters. You can remain in the fetal position and ride it out, or you could accept the tension, embrace the kids and treat this year as a crazy sports fountain of youth. Splash around. Enjoy the ride. Maybe you’ll feel 10 years younger. Or 20. Wouldn’t 20 be good?
For previous columns by Tracee Hamilton, visit washingtonpost.com/hamilton.