Happy Halloween, everyone. Please save a Reese’s for me.
The month of October was a 31-day nightmare for the Redskins. They finished 1-4, losing starter after starter to injury. It was capped on a rainy Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field when Washington lost to the Cowboys, 33-19, and tight end Jordan Reed, defensive end Matt Ioannidis and right guard Shawn Lauvao suffered injuries.
So, for those keeping track at home, every single Redskins starting offensive lineman is dealing with an injury. The backup to the backup at left tackle is also hurt, and Washington used two offensive linemen it signed during the week on the final drive of the game.
But, hey, it should only get better from here. Right? Um, take a look at the schedule. The Redskins travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks, then host the Vikings (who are coming off a bye week) then hit the road again to face the Saints. All three teams currently lead their divisions with a combined record of 16-6.
A nightmare, indeed.
I can’t see the Redskins making a big splash before Tuesday’s trade deadline. They barely have enough room on their roster to make an acquisition because of the injuries, and at 3-4, they’re on the outside looking in when it comes to a playoff run. Although Washington has a number of players on one-year deals, I don’t see a team trading for a player on the roster either.
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It’s that time of year. The 49ers, who have long been rumored as a potential landing spot for Cousins, acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots for a second-round pick on Monday. Niners Coach Kyle Shanahan appears to have his franchise quarterback in Garoppolo, meaning the Cousins-to-San Francisco rumors are dead for now. Pour one out.
So what does that mean for the Redskins? Well, they always had the opportunity tag Cousins for a third straight season. The transition tag would cost about $26 million, while the franchise tag would be around $34 million. The latter is a ridiculous amount to pay for a quarterback, but Washington may not have another choice if it wants to retain Cousins.
With San Francisco acquiring Garoppolo, I think the transition tag makes a little more sense now. Beyond just the price tag, the 49ers had an ample amount of cash to throw at Cousins during free agency to price out Washington if it chose to transition tag Cousins. Now, it sure seems like there’s one less bidder on the market. The other logical destination for Cousins would be the Los Angeles Rams to reunite with Sean McVay, but former first-overall pick Jared Goff has improved significantly this season.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. The transition tag is a risk, but so is paying one player $34 million.
At this point, I think it’s too much to overcome.
Left tackle Trent Williams (knee), center Spencer Long (knees) and right guard Brandon Scherff (back/knee) all did not play against Dallas. Right tackle Morgan Moses fought through two sprained ankles to play every snap. Lauvao went down with a stinger, which Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said on Monday could force him out because of the decreased strength in his shoulder.
Williams’s backup, Ty Nsekhe, continues to recover from core muscle surgery. Nsekhe’s backup, T.J. Clemmings, hurt his ankle against the Cowboys.
It’s not just the offensive line either. Tight end Jordan Reed could miss time because of a hamstring injury, while Niles Paul is in the concussion protocol. Washington’s defensive line was already without Jonathan Allen, but Matt Ioannidis fractured his hand and will have surgery.
The Redskins have been fighting, and they haven’t given up hope, but this season is looking pretty hopeless right now because of the injuries.
Granted, Sunday’s situation wasn’t ideal. Washington’s defense couldn’t get a stop on third down, which caused Redskins Coach Jay Gruden to burn through his timeouts. Cousins got the ball with less than a minute left backed up in his own end zone with four backups protecting him. It was a long shot.
I think the biggest thing to take away is that Washington has been competitive, despite all the injuries it has dealt with. The Redskins have to capitalize on certain opportunities, however, to avoid situations where they need a prayer on the final drive to tie or win the game. That starts with cleaning up some of these self-inflicted wounds on third down, on both sides of the ball.
At some point, Perine will become the lead back in this offense. He just needs to continue making the most of his limited opportunities as Washington leans on Kelley and Thompson in the backfield. I’m not as down on Kelley as many fans are, though. I still think he’s a hard runner that will fight for every yard, something the Redskins lacked last season before Kelley took over. Although Perine has more talent, Kelley is still a serviceable running back in my mind, despite his limitations.
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