It has been a long time since the Redskins looked this dominant against an opponent. Yes, the undertone will be that the New Orleans Saints defense hasn't been good all season but for a team that constantly shoots itself in the foot and has served as the NFL spring board for teams to get back on track, the Redskins executed with efficiency. Add in the Redskins defense held Drew Brees under 300 yards passing and you have a day not predicted by anyone. Any given Sunday. My "Fun Bunch" of thoughts from Week 10:
I tweeted this when first studying Jay Gruden's offense before he was named Redskins Head Coach.
- When Jay Gruden was with the Bengals, he used screens all over the field. He used them to anyone in any down and distance. In Washington, this element of his gameplan has been missing.....until today. Redskins had typically been using screens in predictable situation this year: 2nd and 14, 3rd and 13, etc. Today, Redskins were able to catch Saints defense off-guard a few times with it and it paid off in a big way. Not only did they rack up huge yardage, but they were able to expose Saints LBs against their RBs and used it all game. More screen could have been called until they showed they could stop it.
- As cliche as it is, this game was won in the trenches. The Redskins OL finally got some footing in the run game and it opened up the play-action. On defense, the DL gave the Saints OL problems and was disrupting Drew Brees' rhythm for most of the game.
- The entire team fed off the big 4th down stop by the Redskins DL. Chris Baker is becoming a leader and his enthusiasm on/off the field is becoming infectious. Players are definitely feeding off of him. I'd like to see Stephen Paea get more reps but hard to take them away from Baker. He is a triumph story.
- DeSean Jackson may have not had a huge impact on the stat sheet and he was out for a brief time, but he opened up the game with that huge catch which established the momentum at the beginning of the game. Kirk Cousins accuracy on the throw was fantastic.
- Speaking of the QB, is it okay to give him a compliment? Today was a great game on his part. He was very efficient and played point guard today. He distributed the ball around the field and let his players make plays. His accuracy was better today, too. You can tell not only is he growing and gaining confidence, but the coaching staff is gaining confidence in him as well. When Cousins has a run game to support him and gives him a game he can manage, he has the ability to push it to a level above.
- Fully admitting that the Saints have one of the worst defenses in the league, you can't take much away from Cousins and the Redskins. Redskins have a tendency to play bad against bad teams. If you're a Washington, there are no "gimmies." No one expected Cousins to put up those numbers, no one expected the running yards laid down in addition, no one expected Redskins to score almost 50, and no one expected Drew Brees to be shut down. This was a complete team effort and it was great to see the team come together.
Week 10: The Fun Bunch
1. Kirk Cousins
2. Matt Jones
3. Jordan Reed
4. Alfred Morris
5. Perry Riley
- Before signing off, one side note about the future contract of quarterback Kirk Cousins based on a Twitter conversation before kickoff today involving NFL salary cap analyst Jimmy "J.I." Halsell.
Halsell didn't tweet back, but he "liked" my tweet so that's a sign on I'm thinking clearly, in theory. Anyway, the contract question isn't raised because of today's performance but because of the new culture in the NFL. Kirk Cousins is no world beater but it's becoming increasingly difficult to find QBs in this league. With the salary cap growing every year and the importance of the position growing too, large contracts are going to be handed out to only above average QBs. Not every mediocre one can have a game like Cousins did and he is continuing to grow. Is it fool's gold? Will the Redskins be the team that pays him? The rest of the season will determine the outcome and help establish his true value.
Paul Conner is the Film Analyst at Breaking Burgundy. You can follow him on Twitter @P_ConnerJr.