The Jacksonville Jaguars are a little over a week away from their first regular season game of 2015, but first they have to complete one more preseason contest against the Washington Redskins.
For a franchise that once had immeasurable hope during Robert Griffin III’s rookie season, the Redskins are in all sorts of disarray as they prepare for the beginning of real football. The team is now turning to Kirk Cousins and they are hoping head coach Jay Gruden can turn around a unit that completely fell apart down the stretch in 2014.
To get some intel on the Redskins heading into Thursday evening, we pinged our friends over at Riggo’s Rag and asked editor Maurice Barksdale a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
1. From the looks of it, Kirk Cousins is the future at QB for the Redskins now that RGIII appears to be out of the picture for good. How does he fit in Gruden’s offense compared to RGIII?
"I think Kirk Cousins is a better fit because he understands the offense better than RGIII. He gets the ball out of his hands quicker and he’s much more decisive in reading the defense and finding the open man. However, Cousins still needs to prove he can cut down his interception rate and show that he can keep his composure late in games. If he can do that the Redskins might have something, if not then they’ll be drafting another quarterback high in the draft next year."
2. The Redskins absolutely trounced the Jaguars early on in 2014 and the team looked like a playoff competitor. What happened over the rest of the season to derail that?
"Instability at quarterback happened. RGIII got injured and missed six games and while Kirk Cousins got off to a hot start in place of him, he couldn’t sustain it and became an interception machine. Jay Gruden then turned to Colt McCoy and he had a hot start too but Gruden replaced him with RGIII when he came back from injury. When McCoy got back in the lineup he also struggled with injuries.The Redskins also were decimated by injuries at cornerback as DeAngelo Hall was lost to a torn Achilles and free agent signing Tracy Porter never panned out as he was hampered all season with a hamstring injury. So the Redskins had to rely on two young corners in David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland and they struggled in coverage for most of the season."
3. Who are some of the under-the-radar guys we should keep an eye on in this last preseason game?
"On offense keep an eye on rookie running back Trey Williams, wide receiver Ryan Grant and another wide receiver Rashad Ross. Williams has great quickness and big play ability out of the backfield. Grant is a great route runner and knows how to get open, while Ross is leading the Redskins in receiving in the preseason. Colt McCoy will be looking for him often.On defense keep an eye on outside linebackers Preston Smith and Trent Murphy. With the season ending injury to Junior Galette, those two will be competing to see who starts opposite Ryan Kerrigan at OLB in the regular season. Smith has been rushing the passer well so far in the preseason and is really coming on strong."
4. Which rookies have stood out in training camp and the preseason so far?
"The Redskins have had a number of rookies standout in camp and preseason. On offense running back Matt Jones has added size and playmaking ability out of the backfield and will combine with Alfred Morris to spearhead the Redskins power running game. Rookie wide receiver Jamison Crowder has also been a standout. He has impressed with his speed and his ability to play outside or in the slot.I previously mentioned OLB Preston Smith and he’s competing to start and another OLB Houston Bated has three sacks in the preseason. Inside linebackers Martell Spaight and Terrance Plummer have performed well as have cornerback Quinton Dunbar and safety Kyshoen Jarrett."
5. Final score aside, how do you see Thursday night’s matchup shaking out?
"Considering that very few if any starters will be playing, all I can go on is what the teams have done in preseason. The Jaguars haven’t run the ball well and the Redskins are number one against the run. So the Redskins should be able to force some third and longs on the Jaguars where their QB’s will be susceptible to the Redskins young pass rushers.On offense the Redskins will try to run the ball but the Jaguars have also been good against the run. However, Colt McCoy has been lights out this preseason and I expect that to continue. It doesn’t mean anything but I think the Redskins will win this one. Hopefully both teams come out of it with no injuries."
Check out my answers to Maurice’s questions over at Riggo’s Rag with this link.
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