The Redskins have decided to go with Kirk Cousins as the starting quarterback for Week 1, per a report from ESPN. The news follows a series of conflicting reports yesterday about Robert Griffin III's future in Washington. Cousins started in last Saturday's preseason game against the Ravens. After a shaky start, he finished 20 for 27 for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
As we stated yesterday, there are reports ownership is resisting moving on from RG3 while the coaches are ready, so things could get ugly. Cousins owns a career 7.4 YPA, but posted 8.4 YPA last season, along with a 10:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. As we also added, DeSean Jackson's numbers remained pretty much the same with Cousins under center while Pierre Garcon's production increased significantly. He averaged 4.2 catches for 53 yards and 0.5 TD in the six games that Cousins played last season. Those are high-end fantasy WR3 numbers. Both Cousins and Colt McCoy were having pretty good camps.
According to the report, front office officials and coaches are prepared to move on from Robert Griffin III but they are meeting resistance from ownership. There have been trade talks involving Griffin but there has been no interest.
But, in any case, it appears that Griffin’s time as the starting quarterback here is near an end. According to the report, from Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini, there is a “groundswell of support from a strong segment of football people within the organization to change quarterbacks.”
In terms of either trading or releasing Griffin, they are meeting resistance from owner Daniel Snyder. It is uncertain if coach Jay Gruden, general manager Scot McCloughan, and others in the football part of the operation have the authority to remove Griffin from the roster against Snyder’s wishes.
It's going to be an ugly divorce, especially if owner Daniel Snyder is not on board. Kirk Cousins owns a career 7.4 YPA, but posted 8.4 YPA last season, along with a 10:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The sample size is small (six games), but DeSean Jackson's numbers remained pretty much the same with Cousins under center while Pierre Garcon's production increased significantly. He averaged 4.2 catches for 53 yards and 0.5 TD in the six games that Cousins played last season. Those are high-end fantasy WR3 numbers.
Sure, the Washington Redskins would like the league’s top deep threat in their lineup this preseason, as the first-team offense works on gelling as a unit before the games start counting.
But most important for DeSean Jackson – and the team in general – is ensuring the wide receiver’s injured shoulder is at 100 percent when the Miami Dolphins come to FedExField Sept. 13 for Week 1 of the regular season.
“I think I’ll be ready to go,” Jackson said. “You won’t have to worry about me at all. I’ll be the same person I’ve always been, making plays and being the guy that brings the energy to this team.”
Jackson, who suffered an AC sprain in his right shoulder Aug. 6 in a training camp drill, told reporters Tuesday he’s not likely to see any game action in the remaining two preseason matchups – on Saturday vs. the Baltimore Ravens and on Sept. 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the story said. It went on to say, Jackson participated in practice drills Sunday for the first time since suffering the shoulder injury, taking part in individual and positional drills. He had a similar role in Monday’s practice, but was not wearing shoulder pads and is yet to take part in 11-in-11 action.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 2:48pm
The Redskins‘ first-team offense may be stalled midway thru the preseason, but it has no shortage of quality wide receivers.
Tuesday, when the team regrouped for practice at Redskins Park, two key receiving targets who’ve been sidelined by injury the past two weeks started easing back to work: DeSean Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed.
Neither has appeared in a preseason game yet. Reed hasn’t practiced since Aug. 11, when he joined the injury list with a strained hamstring. And Jackson, who led the team in receiving yards last season, has sat out with a shoulder injury suffered on Aug. 6, the first day of the Redskins’ three-day joint practice with the Houston Texans.
Monday, August 24, 2015, 1:24pm
When the Washington Redskins returned to practice on Sunday, wide receiver DeSean Jackson was back in action for the first time, according to the Washington Post. Jackson only participated in individual drills, but it's a great step in the right direction.
The Redskins have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position heading into 2015, but they need to get them back on the field. Jackson and fellow promising wide receiver Jamison Crowder have been sidelined until recently.
Monday, August 17, 2015, 12:50pm
Though he still holds out hope, there is no doubt that receiver DeSean Jackson (sprained shoulder) will miss Thursday’s game. Coach Jay Gruden said they will also likely keep Jamison Crowder (hamstring) out for a second game. Crowder was pushing Andre Roberts to be the slot receiver and top returner, but hasn’t practiced since Aug. 7.
Gruden is hoping both will be available for the third preseason game at Baltimore.
Friday, August 14, 2015, 4:57pm
Washington lost a pair of players to season-ending injuries last night, according to one of their teammates.
Coach Jay Gruden said last night Redd suffered a “possible ACL/MCL,” and apparently the news they found out today was not good.
There was plenty of concern last year over the precipitous drop in Redskins WR Pierre Garçon’s production compared to what he did in 2013, when he caught a team record 113 passes. Last year his catch total fell to 68. Although he still led the team in that category, he was often nearly invisible. In 2013 Garçon had at least five catches in every game. Last year there were eight games where he caught three passes or fewer.
But it wasn’t like he fell off the face of the earth for no reason. He was targeted 105 times, one of 49 receivers with over 100 targets. During the course of the season Garçon had to deal with inconsistent play from three different quarterbacks. There also was the addition of DeSean Jackson to the team. He provided another dangerous target for the quarterbacks.
Jay Gruden would like to get Garçon some more opportunities and they have some plans to get the ball into his hands.
“All of our plays, Pierre is a viable option, some of them more so then others,” said Gruden. “It’s just a matter of what the coverage dictates. We’ll try to move him around and get him the ball a little bit more because he’s very good after the catch.”
The addition of Jackson may take away targets, but in reality should have opened things up more for Garcon because Jackson is a home run threat. You only need to look back on his last year with the Eagles when Riley Cooper thrived with Jackson on the other side. The team needs some QB stability this year and the hope is Robert Griffin III provides that. That should help Garcon's production, especially if the team tries to move him around the field as the story said. Garcon has done it before and could be a potential buy-low, late-round option if you like to take a chance on these type of players.
It's never good to miss camp, but Jackson is a veteran who has been in Jay Gruden's system for a year, so this shouldn't drastically impact his draft value.
DeSean Jackson slipped at practice and injured his shoulder falling to the ground. After trainers examined him on the field, the receiver was spotted back on the sidelines with his pads off. A wrap was put on the shoulder and Jackson was talking with Redskins President Bruce Allen.
Word was the field was slick and multiple players were slipping during drills. Jackson apparently hit a blocking sled or other piece of practice equipment as he went down, which may have caused the injury.
Considering he is back out on the sidelines, the injury is not believed to be serious.
Jackson had a good first season in Washington, but he was playing with a chip on his shoulder after being released by the Eagles. He used that as motivation to post 5-117-1 against Philly in Week 3 and 4-126 in Week 16. When the two Eagles games are excluded, DeSean Jackson played at a 58-1140-6.1 pace. Those are fringe WR2 numbers in PPR and solid WR2 numbers in standard formats. Will he play with the same motivation in 2015?
The Indianapolis Colts' excitement for Phillip Dorsett hasn't dissipated since the speedy first-round draft pick earned rave reviews for his work in offseason practices. Appearing on Wednesday's edition of the Around The NFL Podcast, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport relayed a sentiment at Colts training camp that Dorsett's skill set is essentially a carbon copy of Redskins deep threat DeSean Jackson's. "They could not be higher on Phillip Dorsett," added Rapoport, who was onsite in Anderson, Indiana, on Tuesday. "I think they think they added a superstar." When Rapoport asked a Colts coach if he was surprised they didn't address a porous defense with their top draft pick, the response was, "Well, no. This guy's that good."
Clearly, the Colts are very high on Dorsett, so it seems likely that they'll put him in a significant role as a rookie. This means he may very well play ahead of Donte Moncrief, who was originally penciled in as the team's WR3. Dorsett is currently going in the 15th round, so he's an inexpensive flier and a potential handcuff for T.Y. Hilton owners.
With Jeremy Maclin now in Kansas City, many expected the Eagles to move Jordan Matthews to the outside, and line Josh Huff up in the slot. That is not, however, what the plan is. Huff has been lining up with the first team offense on the outside in Maclin's place, with Matthews remaining in the slot.
Huff could see some time inside, but the plan is for Huff to run many of the same routes Maclin did -- including going deep. Huff is the quickest receiver on the team, and the Eagles will be giving him a chance to stretch the field, much like DeSean Jackson did two seasons ago.
Ask Riley Cooper how much the Eagles like their receivers to be able to block, and he will respond by pointing out he played 980 snaps last season, second most on the team. That is a good sign for Huff, who is perhaps the second-best run-blocking receiver on the Eagles, behind only Cooper. Huff should be able to stay on the field, and keep rookie Nelson Agholor off of it, by being a strong run blocker.
When the team drafted Agholor, it was assumed that he would start. That could still end up being the case, and Agholor has the skills to be a star in the NFL. It will be Huff, however, that gets the first crack at the starting job, with Agholor on the bench.
Agholor could end up taking one of the starting spots, from Huff or Cooper, but he will have to do it in training camp, and won't be handed the job.
The prevailing assumption is that Agholor will start alongside Matthews, who could play outside or in the slot. If Matthews is in the slot, then there's an opening for Huff or Cooper on the other side. Then there's the matter of Zach Ertz, who is rumored to be in line for more snaps as he pushes Brent Celek for the starting job. Ertz could also play more in two-TE sets, but that will send two of the aforementioned receivers to the bench. Training camp will be key for all the Eagles' receivers -- the only player seemingly assured of a big role is Matthews.
As the season progressed, it was clear that Zach Ertz was taking on a larger role in the Eagles' offense. Over the final four-game stretch of the season, Ertz edged out Brent Celek in total offensive snaps (168 to 167), and his historic 15-catch performance (an Eagles record) against Washington in Week 16 was the shining example of what Ertz might be able to accomplish in his NFL career.
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Most (73%) of his snaps came on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint.
According to a person familiar with the situation who requested anonymity, Eagles QB Sam Bradford is "looking great", has been in the rehab room close to every day this summer, and should be ready to go when training camp opens.
That means Bradford should be out on the field for 11-on-11 drills for the start of training camp.
If Bradford is fully healthy and wins the starting job, then he's a threat to post low-end QB1 numbers in Chip Kelly's offense, which has been fantasy friendly towards quarterbacks over the last two seasons. The team is dealing with turnover at receiver, losing DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in consecutive years, but Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz should be able to pick up the slack.
Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia was asked which rookies would contribute in 2015:
Agholor joins a receiving corps that has lost its best receiver (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin) in each of the past two offseasons. He’s expected to win a starting job, likely outside opposite Riley Cooper with Jordan Matthews in the slot. If that’s the case, he’ll be a fantasy factor as a rookie. Matthews finished #25 in PPR formats as a rookie last season. That sort of production is certainly feasible for Agholor if he plays starter's snaps and the team gets good play out of the quarterback position.
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