Hi John: Thanks again for your top notch Redskins coverage.  Could Kirk Cousins have been put into a more pressure filled situation than against the Ravens?  He was as clutch as clutch could be.  We needed 8 points to tie with under a minute left and he came through.  This game alone was worth the 4th round pick used on him.  Also, should Kai Forbath get consideration for the NFC Pro Bowl kicker?  He is perfect so far and has nailed multiple 45 yard plus field goals and finally kicked a game winner against the Ravens.  I think Forbath, with his clutch kicking, should get a lot of credit for this 4 game winning streak.


JKC: Well, on this streak his kicks have made a difference in the last three games. It’s not just that he’s automatic, it’s that he’s automatic from 45 yards and beyond. It’s incredible. Yes, I do think he has an outside shot at the Pro Bowl kicker from the NFC. But the fact that he has attempted only 14 kicks will make it difficult. As for Cousins, I was impressed with his poise. That was a difficult spot in which to enter and he was not over-excited and he even made a savvy play on the touchdown. Speaks well of him. Whether he can do that for a whole game at this point, who knows? We may find out. But the fact that he’s so prepared enabled them to win that game. I never thought that he was a bad pick and think that his next few years will more than justify the selection. With Griffin’s style of play and slight frame, Cousins likely will be called upon from time to time.

John: Since Kai Forbath has been tremendous for us on field goals and struggling a little on kick offs, why not bring in someone to handle kick offs and let Kai concentrate just on field goals. Thanks so much Dude.


Bryan: No problem, boss. Having a kickoff specialist is a major luxury. With players banged up at this time of the year, I think they’d rather have as much depth as possible for position players. I think if Kai Forbath’s kickoffs had hurt the Redskins in a bad way – he’s inconsistent, but it hasn’t cost them a game – then maybe they’d consider this more strongly. They have an excellent coverage unit, too, so that covers up some of his sins. But this question was asked of Mike Shanahan this week, so it’s a legit topic.


Hey, John: Got a few question that has plagued me for years and, moreover, especially now.  It seems that the (especially) current team under RG, after a series or more of dazzling plays–catches and runs–and TD’s, goes into a funk or hiatus and they run a seriatim of three and outs. Why is this: young Shannyhanny’s play call; mental, physical inertia by the ‘Skins O?

Numero dos: Is RG Catholic as he points skyward after a touch and makes the Sign of the Cross.

I’m Catholic (a rather failed one at that) but a Catholic nonetheless and am interested in knowing.

In any event, the kid’s a class act.

Always enjoy your articles…Gratefully and as your time allows,

Fred Cruz

Fred: First, you sent me to the dictionary to look up seriatim. In my best Denny Green: It meant what I thought it meant. As for the answer, I don’t think I’ve seen anything unusual in that regard this season. Some teams do start off strong and fade and that’s often because they’ve scripted the first 15-20 plays. I remember some games vs. Philadelphia where the Eagles would start off hot and then do nothing once they exited their script. But keep in mind that every team has a few series in which they do nothing. As players like to say, the other side gets paid, too. Against Baltimore, they had six series that lasted six or more plays and five that lasted three or less (one was a fumble; another was on the overtime possession). It was spread out, too (though they had a monster first quarter; but good defenses adjust and if they had sustained that effort, they would have had more than 700 yards of offense. Man). They held the ball for 34:01 and gained 420 yards. They’re also a big-play team; sometimes if you’re not making those big plays you may go into a short lull. Maybe you’re getting spoiled? Haha. I don’t know his religion (I’m Catholic as well), but he is religious. He has said the three things he won’t talk about: race, religion and politics. Yes, he is a class act.



John: Thanks for the insightful coverage of the team and answering questions every week.  From the 2011 draft class, it looks like Leonard Hankerson is emerging some in terms of blocking and making some clutch catches in critical moments.   Kerrigan is a bit up and down but on the aggregate good if not elite.  Jenkins seems to be a good run stuffer but might not emerge as a pass rushing threat as some presumed in the 2011 camp.  Helu looked good last year but seems injury prone. Royster seems to have taken a step back.  D. Gomes has been given chances and hasn’t emerged and probably won’t.  The coaches seem to like Niles Paul, he has speed but seems to have inconsistent hands and thereby isn’t a Fred Davis type in training.   Aldrick Robinson has shown flashes but doesn’t seem to be a full time starter type.   Would you agree or disagree with these assessments?


Mike: To a degree. Hankerson has shown flashes before, then is quiet for a few games depending on the defense. He caught his passes vs. the Ravens’ zone coverage. I’d like to see him be more consistent before I get too excited – half of his 34 catches have occurred in three games. He had a seven-catch game followed by one catch; he had a six-catch game followed by one catch. I think he’s been fine; 34 catches so far in his first full season with three games left isn’t bad. He’s still learning. Kerrigan is not elite, but is a good player who will have some very good years. Jenkins, too, needs to become more consistent but it’s his first season. Let’s see how he progresses. The rest I basically agree with.


John: Off the field, what are the players generally like?  Good guys?  Hate to think they’re a bunch of prima donnas.  Who are one or two guys that stand out?


Doug Walton
Toronto, Ontario

Doug: I don’t really know how they are off the field because I don’t see them anywhere but at Redskins Park. The media, especially beat reporters, should not be palling around with the players. You want to have a good, professional relationship. So it’s tough for me to say how they truly are. I will say, it’s a good locker room to deal with. A lot of guys stand out. I think Lorenzo Alexander probably stands out the most, but he’s definitely not alone. I really could compile a long list of guys that I enjoy dealing with and who I think would classify as good guys. No team is full of angels, but they are professional and that’s what matters to me. It’s a good rookie group; in addition to Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris comes across as a humble kid. Actually, all the rookies do.


Hi John: Thanks for your great work, it’s a must read for me and my friends. Wondering if you can help with a question about our $36m cap penalty. If we had colluded with the other teams and not paid out players in the uncapped year, how much less cap space would we have had in these 2 years 36m cap penalty years? In other words, was it worth the risk of the penalty because we would’ve had like $30m in dead cap space anyway? We assumed part of the $36m was to make up for the uncapped year/avoidance of dead cap space in future years and the other was punitive, but have never seen the breakdown.



Sachin: Thank you… Cap talk hurts my head, but my understanding is they’re probably about where they would have been had they not dumped Albert Haynesworth’s $21 million and DeAngelo Hall’s 15 million into the uncapped 2010 season. Had there been a $170-million cap in 2010, the Redskins would have been fine because that’s what there’s would have been.


@john_keim would the skins bring back Hightower for rb depth? cut him while he was getting healthy and royster has played awful any idea?


@Richardandjulia: If they thought he was healthy, I’m sure they’d bring him back. Mike Shanahan really likes Hightower. But after the Redskins cut him, he needed more surgery. Hightower was far from 100 percent before camp started; I’m not sure why they didn’t have him open on the physically unable to perform list and I never really got a good answer when asked. The fact that he hasn’t played anywhere this season is telling. I’ll be curious to see if they invite him to camp next year.


@john_keim What is up with Ryan Kerrigan? I know he is stout against the run but after 1st 4 games or so he cant win 1v1 against lesser RTs.


@JimmyWong7: You’re right, he does struggle in those situations. I think only one of his sacks has come vs. a right tackle this season. Part of it is he lacks elite explosiveness. Also think his best work now comes when they move him around or he can rush inside, get some momentum and perhaps stun the guard or get inside the tackle. That’s where he’s having success. I know tackles have done a good job taking away his rip move. I’m sure it’ll help him when Orakpo returns next season, but Kerrigan will need to keep working on his moves, perhaps adding another.


@john_keim does @HankTime85 continue to be more involved in the offense and get a TD this Sunday? And who would you start at QB?


@vkim68: If the doctors say Robert Griffin III is healthy, I’m starting him.  If they think there’s a chance he could hurt himself worse, then I start Kirk Cousins. Simple. …As for your first question, Mike Shanahan likes to ride the hot receivers and coming off a strong game I’d expect Hankerson to get more opportunities. But as I mentioned earlier he’s had good games before followed by quiet ones. However, he’s shown that he can at least play and help them. As for a touchdown, no idea. That’s impossible for me to predict. I do know he’s only scored once this season (dropping another one vs. Pittsburgh and he was open, but missed, for a score vs. Baltimore).


Bryan Nikirk@BeeNye06

@john_keim skins d seems to be rejuvinated. how well do you think the browns will move the ball Sunday?


@BeeNye06: Well, every team but Philadelphia has moved the ball against this defense. So I would expect the Browns to do the same. They have some weapons in the passing game. The question I have is whether or not Trent Richardson is even healthy. From what I hear/read, he is not. That’ll help. They’ve scored 20 or more points in four straight games. But in their first nine games they scored 17 or fewer points six times, so even if they move (they only average 5.1 yards per play so it’s not a great offense) they could have issues scoring.


@john_keim who do you like better in the 1 on 1 matchup, Haden or Garçon? Does your opinion change if it’s Cousins or Griffin?


@thekingrobert7: It changes some because of Griffin’s ability to fool the defense’s eyes, giving the receivers a little more time to get free. Haden is an excellent corner but I’ve seen him give up some deep balls, something Garcon is able to get. And Griffin throws that well. Plus, it’s obvious that Griffin and Garcon have a good rapport on the field. I don’t know how Cousins would be with him, but I know that he will make aggressive throws. It’s really hard to say who I’d favor because both Garcon and Haden make a tremendous difference to their teams. Their teams are a combined 1-9 when these players sit.



@john_keim Always been curious. If you were assigned a different beat, another team or not even in sports, what would be your “dream job”


@TMM75: Great question. Here’s what I do now: Talk to football players and coaches; talk to ex-coaches and players; watch hours of film on football games so I can discuss it intelligently.  Sort of sounds like a dream job to me, even if it’s draining and takes a ton of effort. I think there are goals that I have (not putting them in print). And if I had my way, I’d love to take the film review stuff and somehow discuss it in some sort of online video session. So, really, my dream would be to continue writing about football but expand/reshape my role… Other dream jobs: to be a fiction writer and live in the country. Alas, I don’t write fiction and I live in the ‘burbs. Teaching and coaching high school basketball…Being a national columnist for a major site. And there are other sports I enjoy writing about, basketball in particular. I love baseball and it was my best sport to play, but covering that sport is tough when you have a family.