The Cowboys are trying to pick up the pieces after a brutal loss to the Packers last Sunday. They get a chance to grab some momentum and keep pace in their playoff chase by beating their hated-rival, the Redskins. So we ask five questions of Hogs Haven about the team from the nation's capital and the upcoming game.
Blogging The Boys: Where do you stand on the RG III benching? What's his future in DC and what is Kirk Cousins future?
Hogs Haven: Given the dumpster fire blazing at Redskins Park these days, this news kind of just melted into the landscape. Of course it was/is a big deal - anything related to RG3 around here is - but with the competitive portion of our season behind us, this move makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons, and therefore I support it. Kirk Cousins' development is very important, whether it be for our benefit on the field or through compensation in the draft. It is true that Griffin could also use the development, but I like the idea of guaranteeing him a full offseason of work on the field and not in rehab. If I had to bet my money, I would say that the Redskins will field trade offers for both Griffin and Cousins this offseason, and I would be shocked if they didn't have a target price for each of them. It is far more likely that they trade Cousins than Griffin. RG3 will lose the brace next year (reportedly) and will have the benefit of working with his teammates this offseason in the offense. His upside is undeniable, and the opinions that matter seem to fall down on his side. As for Cousins, I know that people think this is crazy, but I would compare him favorably to Aaron Rodgers. I think he will be that good. I only pray that he ends up in the AFC.
BTB: What about Mike Shanahan? Is he the bad guy here and can he possibly be the coach next year? If he's not back, any early favorites on replacing him?
HH: I think Mike Shanahan returns next season, which is an opinion that I have gotten beaten up over, but I just don't see Snyder firing him. Shanny's ego is the bad guy here for sure, but he can absolutely be the coach going forward. The argument for him is that he has had to make do with $18 million behind his back for the last two seasons with little ammo to upgrade key units like the offensive line and secondary. The argument against him is...uhhh...well-documented. If Snyder goes the other way and starts fresh, my hope is that they tap a current coordinator in the league and not go the college coach route. Jack Del Rio is a man I would not be angry to see take over my team.
BTB: What's your scouting report on Cousins and how did he look against Atlanta?
HH: My exact notes from the Atlanta game: "Throws an accurate deep ball on the run, which he showed last year as well...keeps his eyes downfield under intense pressure...footwork in the pocket better than Griffin's...not using his eyes enough to control safeties...tons of leadership on the field and on the sidelines...spreads the ball around to all receivers...even in the second half, still shows hints of anxiety." He looked as good as you can look for not having played much at all this season. Atlanta is no world-beater on defense, but Cousins was able to be very successful in driving the ball, especially with the game on the line at the end.
BTB: Looking back over the season, what do you see as the Redskins biggest problems after winning the East last year?
HH: Offensive line, offensive line, offensive line. Because of the unpredictable nature of Griffin's style last season, as well as the fact that nobody really had a book on him, our offensive line enjoyed the benefit of defenses approaching us with a bit of trepidation. A lot of people decided our offensive line was "good." It wasn't. The same group came back this season and with Griffin a lot more one-dimensional, our offensive line got abused. Even though our secondary is terrible, and we give up the most points of anyone, I believe that the worst group on our roster is the offensive line. They just aren't good enough to anchor a championship team-there is only one guy that you would consider keeping if you had the choice of starting over (Trent Williams).
BTB: What is the formula for the Redskins to break their losing streak and beat Dallas?
HH: We have to run the ball effectively and keep the time of possession in our favor. We can't trade field goals for touchdowns - and our defense is going to give up touchdowns. Let's say we need a touchdown in at least 75% of our red zone appearances, and likely need to score from long range once or twice as well. If the Redskins have a chance to win, it will be a high-scoring game. Maybe the biggest thing we need to do is put the ball in Romo's hands at the very end! But yeah...we're terrible.