The Redskins pulled off a squeaker of a win on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, playing only for pride since they were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 14. Even with no postseason to look forward to, there are quite a few interesting and important issues facing the team as they finish out the year. Below are this week’s Odds and Ends.
This strange saga keeps getting stranger. Cravens stunned the team by leaving just before the season started and was subsequently put on the Reserve/Left Squad list. Last week, his agent publicly announced that he had been “medically cleared” to return to football after recovering from post-concussion syndrome; a confusing proclamation since his absence was ostensibly because of personal and family issues, not injury. Cravens would have received his salary this season if he were unable to play because of injury, so it is odd indeed that he did not make this issue known before now.
To add another layer of drama to the story, Cravens yesterday released a video of himself being detained by Loudoun County police after a November traffic stop, in which he uses foul language and claims mistreatment by officers. The reaction of the fan base was largely negative, so it seems that he is not too popular among Redskins Nation these days.
Williams has been playing through injury for most of the season and he was inactive on Sunday. He requires knee surgery and it seems inadvisable for him to play again this year, but the team has not officially shut him down as of yet. He has repeatedly stated his intention to play if it’s at all possible, so we may not have seen the last of him for 2017 yet.
Excellent Defensive Play
The defense didn’t give up a touchdown this week, holding the Cardinals to five field goals. They gave up 286 total yards, a not especially exciting number, but it seems more impressive given that Arizona had the ball for 36:16 of the game. Along the way, they sacked Gabbert 5 times for 44 yards lost and picked him off once. This was behind great performances from Martrell Spaight, Kendall Fuller, Anthony Lanier and Zack Vigil. Of those players, only Fuller was even a starter coming into the season and he began Week 1 as a nickel back. Lanier had a career game, seeming to be everywhere. He was responsible for 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 6 tackles, 2 assists, 3 batted balls, and a forced fumble. The team was without star linebacker Zach Brown, making such a defensive performance even more impressive. It was more than they could have hoped for from such a cobbled together group.
Bibbs is the feel good story of the week for this team. He scored the team’s second touchdown on a 36 yard reception in his first game in Burgundy and Gold, just the second TD of his career. He endeared himself to fans immediately by talking publicly about having had a dream that he would play for the Redskins just weeks before they called him for a tryout. He was signed to the practice squad in November and placed on the active roster for Week 15 because the running back position has been disastrous for the Skins this year. Bibbs is on the team because Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and newly-acquired Byron Marshall have all landed on the IR.
Zach Brown’s Controversial Tweet
In response to tweets from Davante Adams regarding a dirty hit endured in Week 15, Zach Brown sent a series of controversial tweets of his own. Some have since been deleted, but the upshot was that offensive players should stop complaining about getting hit and accept the danger inherent in the game. The most contentious of his comments was that he is “always headhunting”. This phrasing drew a lot of angry responses. Despite the indelicate wording, Brown is not a dirty player and has never been fined for an illegal hit. His point that the game can only be made so safe is a valid one.
Jonathan Allen Shut Down for the Year
Allen suffered a lisfranc fracture in Week 6 and hasn’t played since. The team said at the time that they were hopeful he would have a quick recovery from surgery and be available before the end of the year. His rehab has progressed well, but the team announced this week that he will not return to the field in 2017. If they were in a playoff run, the situation may have been handled differently, but the Skins are being cautious with their promising first-rounder, hoping he’ll be 100% to start the 2018 campaign.
The Redskins will face the 5-9 Denver Broncos at home on Sunday afternoon. Brock Osweiler turned in a career performance last week in relief of injured started Trevor Siemian, finishing with a staggering 147.7 QB rating. Despite that, the Broncos have not decided whether he or Paxton Lynch will start against the Redskins. If they start Osweiler and he plays like he did against the Colts, the Skins’ makeshift defense will be in for a long afternoon.