NFL

NFL AM: Redskins Clinch NFC East

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The Washington Redskins became the latest worst to first story as they came from behind to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-24, and clinched the NFC East.  Here are some takeaways from the game:

Kirk Cousins Can Play

Kirk Cousins may not yet be a superstar quarterback, but he’s more than viable.  Cousins had another stellar performance on Saturday night and he’s seemed to turn a corner in his career development.  He went 31 of 46, for 365 yards with four touchdowns and no picks in the division-clinching victory.

“I’m very proud of Kirk,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said after the win. “He came in here and we had the debacle at the end of the half and a normal guy could have gone in the tank there, but he just came in and kept his composure, just like he has all year. Just like he has done his whole career. He’s kept his composure and just kept his nose to the grindstone and just kept battling and competing and doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s a class act and I’m happy for Kirk and what he’s accomplished. I’m very proud of him and the whole team. Anytime you go out and you name a starting lineup, you want them all to succeed like we do with everybody, but Kirk has really taken his position and done well.”

Over his last nine games, Cousins has completed 72.4 percent of his throws, for 2,570 yards with 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions.  That extrapolates to a season of 4,569 yards, with 36 touchdowns and five picks.

The team is 6-3 over those nine games and Cousins is getting the most out of the Redskins offense.  It may be premature to believe he’s a future Pro Bowler, but he’s certainly playing like one and he will get a nice sized contract.

“It’s been quite a journey,” Cousins said. “It will be quite a journey going forward. You almost expect it in this league the way things work and the way things can change quickly. But I’m very satisfied to see how the tables have turned this year. Now we look forward and say, ‘Where can we go from here?’ and ‘How high can we take it?’”

How Dangerous Are The Redskins?  

Washington is entering the postseason as a hot team and they will have one home game to prove it.  Although Seattle poses a terrible matchup, the Seahawks haven’t been the same dominant team from the last couple years.

If they get the Minnesota Vikings in the first round, the Redskins should and will be favorites.  Although Teddy Bridgewater is playing better football of late, he’s not on the same level as Cousins right now.

As for Washington going any further than the first round, it will be difficult for them to win a road game at Carolina, Arizona or Green Bay.

The Eagles Are Regressing

The shimmer from Chip Kelly’s shine is wearing off quickly in Philadelphia.  This will mark the third straight season without a playoff victory and the team is heading in the wrong direction.  After 10 wins in 2013 and 2014, they will finish with either six or seven this year, and Kelly’s remaking of the roster seems to be the root of the problems.

Chip Kelly was asked what went wrong.

“There are a lot of things,” the Eagles head coach stated. “I think there’s not — this isn’t the time for it. I’m not going to think back on the whole season. In this game, we didn’t play well enough to beat a good football team.”

Reporters pried a little more (doing their job) and asked about a wide receiving corps that saw Kelly jettison DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in favor of Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor.

“Again, those are end-of-the-year things where we will look at the whole thing and we’ll go through all that,” Kelly responded. “I’m not looking at that right now, I’m sorry. But we didn’t catch the ball well enough today to win and, obviously, that’s a problem.”

Kelly has a plan in his own head and it doesn’t seem to be working.  His immediate success was due more from the leftover talent that he inherited from Andy Reid (who is about to make the playoffs for the second time in three years).

What the Eagles czar hasn’t had is a legitimate quarterback that can run his system.  It’s difficult to imagine that he’ll get one by next season, but if he doesn’t he may be back in college for 2017.

 

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.