With the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins scheduled to kick off on Sunday, I reached out to our friends/enemies over at Hogs Haven. The great HogHunter kindly took the time to answer my questions.
Let's take a look at the answers.
1) OK, let's start off with an easy one. Kirk Cousins will start for Washington because Robert Griffin III is injured. To what extent are you confident in Cousins in leading Washington to a victory this Sunday?
Kirk Cousins has played some good football, but he's also played games that made you pull your hair out. Last season was a very deflating time for the team and the franchise and stepping in to those games wasn't a great experience for anyone. Think the Eagles in 2012 with Nick Foles taking over and a coach on his way out with a deflated fanbase and players. I was at the Redskins-Eagles game in Philly that year and it was an ugly scene. It felt like a 3 hour long funeral with the occasional drunken uncle falling into the casket. The most anger we saw from the crowd came from the Philadelphia mounted police who told us to go south to where we came from, luckily I had to go north, so he obviously wasn't talking to me.
Gruden knows exactly how to use Cousins in his system, and compares him to Andy Dalton (obviously). Cousins can get the ball out quickly and if he can protect the ball and move it down the field he will do just fine. The Redskins have plenty of weapons to make him successful. The defense and special teams look improved from last year which was another huge problem last year. Cousins will be fine until he's not, and then it will get ugly with the media and fans. All I'm worried about right now is him being good enough on Sunday.
2) Let's look more long-term with Cousins and RG3. Is RG3 done in DC? Is Cousins the long-term answer?
I want to say no and no, but I have no idea how this will play out. I wanted the team to keep Cousins this year, and trade him after the season. The Redskins want Griffin to be the long-term solution at QB, and they paid for that. Injuries screw up the best laid plans. The team has to decide on Grffin's 5th year option next May.
Griffin's timeline according to Coach Gruden is 10 days in the cast, and then re-evaluate the ankle from there. I don't see any way he plays until after the Week 10 bye, but realistically it will probably be longer than that. If he comes back in Week 13 or later and Cousins and the team are playing well it will be interesting to see what Gruden does. I still say that Griffin will be given every opportunity to succeed in Washington.
3) So that DeSean Jackson guy is in Washington now. I'm guessing the Eagles knew there was a chance that he would end up in Washington. Was the signing of Jackson as simple as Washington capitalizing on a massive Philadelphia blunder, then? Or do you ever wonder if that it was too good to be true and there was more to Jackson's release?
I would say that the way the Eagles handled the whole thing was a blunder, and I'm just going to go ahead and blame Lil Jimmy Kempski for stirring the pot and helping to trigger the Jaccpocalypse. Whether it was a good decision from a football perspective remains to be seen. Getting Darren Sproles definitely helped cushion the loss of production.
The Skins made it very clear that they weren't letting DeSean Jackson leave without a contract. There were a few teams calling his agent during a meal at Morton's (the dinnerupters). I'm not going to lie and say I was all for signing him, because I wasn't, and I was never a fan of his. The Redskins signed the WR I wanted in free agency, and I was fine with draft another young WR and carrying the money that went to DeSean over to the next year, or signing the best available safety, center, or OT that was still available. But Dan Snyder made it pretty clear they were tired of watching him score TDs against us, and the players were out in force to get him to come to DC. We'll have to wait to see how it all plays out.
4) What is the biggest strength and weakness of this Washington team?
I'm going to cheat and use the same answer I gave Mark in our Q&A yesterday. Offensive line and the secondary have been my concerns with the team going into the season, and that hasn't really changed. The OL is much better at run blocking than pass blocking, and this is great when we're actually running the ball. But when the coaches get away from the running game either by choice or because of the game situation, it's a problem. Kory Lichtensteiger has played better than I thought he would at center, but that's still an average level, and he's light for the position. Chris Chester needs to be replaced by one of the young guys soon, and I actually caught Tyler Polumbus with his hands folded to pray during a play last Sunday. I'm pretty sure that's not good.
Safety's been a problem since Sean Taylor was murdered, with a combination of injuries, suspensions, and poor play over the last few years. Eagles fans should know what that's like. Brandon Meriweather comes back from a 2 game suspension for headhunting in the preseason, and we are fully prepared for him to get another suspension on Sunday. We just cut Bacarri Rambo, so if the Eagles need a safety who barely plays specials teams and cheated on every Geometry test he's ever taken, he just cleared waivers and he's got a great jersey name!
The strength is the running game as usual. There were questions about whether Alfred Morris was a Shanahan system back, and if he would flop under Jay Gruden. Morris continues to get yards in chunks and he became the fastest RB to reach 3,000 yards in Redskins history last week. The offensive line is built to help the run game, and they are able to open up holes for Morris, but he also gets a lot of yards after contact and always falls forward. If Morris gets 20+ carries in a game, there's a good chance the Redskins are winning.
5) Washington is 1-1. Week 1 in Houston was a rough outing but Week 2 against Jacksonville was much, much better for DC's team. With that in mind, the two teams that Washington has faced so far have a combined 6-26 (.188) a year ago. How do Washington fans feel about the team at the moment and moving forward?
Week 1 was rough because there were costly mistakes in every phase of the game. Two turnovers in the red zone by the offense, a blocked XP and blocked punt returned for a TD by special teams, and a bad burn on a safety who was cut for a TD all piled up to the loss. The defense has held teams to 10 points two weeks in a row. You just don't see that happen against future Hall of Famers Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The general mood is that the team has depth, and played good against a bad team. Everyone's enjoying the dominating victory, but we know the team needs to be tested by a better team before the stats over the first two weeks start to sink in. Houston was definitely a better team than the Jaguars, and the Redskins lost. A win over the Eagles would overflow the Kool-Aid coffers, and then the Skins host the floundering Giants the following week which could easily be a win. The fans just need to take it one game at a time.
6) Let's hear a score prediction. Who wins this game and why?
I had this game marked down as a loss before the season started. So my logical mind say the Eagles should win this game at home. But then my game week homer mind called my logical mind a pussy so I'm going to have to go 30-27 Redskins. The Redskins defense and run game needs to continue to play at a high level for this to happen.
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