4 Keys to victory: Niners VS Redskins

49ers Redskins Football

By Niner Faithful

This week the Niners finish their 3 game road trip against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland. For the second week in a row the Niners face a former Niner this time, Vernon Davis. The Niners last played in Indy in 2009 and lost 18-14. The Niners hold a 20-10-1 advantage in the all times series and have won 4 in a row going back to 2008(That was the game we named Mike Singletary our coach. Also I was at that game).The Redskins are coming of a bye week so they are going to be well rested and have 2 weeks to get ready. Its games like theses where people think we have no shot that we seem to end up playing our best football. Here are my 4 keys to proving the doubters wrong.

  1. Score a TD early

The Niners have had issues scoring touchdowns all year. Scoring first would not only give us a lead but also allow the Niners to play relaxed and loose. The perfect scenario would be for the defense or special teams to get an early turnover and put the offense to score an easy touchdown to get some confidence. And scoring early also allows the defense to not try to play perfect.


  1. Do your job

Last week there were too many break downs on defense that caused to big plays. And it’s never just one thing or one player. We lost containment on a bunch of running plays and 3rd downs continued to be a problem. And last week you saw to Colts go after Rashard Robinson and expose him as not a top corner (yet). The defense did get 3 sacks and a pick to save/set up the win for us. But overall the defense needs to play far better this week if we are going to win.

  1. Play more consistent on Offense

The Offense has been inconsistent all year. There are times when it looks really good and you start to dream about things that could be. And then there are times that you wonder why on earth we brought in (insert player name here). No one is expecting this to look like the 80’s in Kyle Shanahan’s first year but this will be the Niners 6th game I don’t think it’s too much to ask to score 2 td’s a game.


  1. Let’s see our Defense play together for a whole game.

11 snaps that’s all that Reuben Foster played in week one before he got hurt. Eric Reid went out the next game at Seattle. With both players making their returns to practice this week the hope is for the first time since week one we will have all 11 starts out on the field. Maybe not for the whole game but enough that I should make a difference.

If we follow my 4 keys and #56 and # 35 play there shouldn’t be a reason why we don’t get our first win.  GO NINERS!!!!!

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Kirk Cousins: Is he worth what it will take to get him

kirk-cousins-112016-getty-ftr-usjpg_18lb9v64c7nvr1rxwgob83qkmzBy Niner Faithful

Monday at 1pm PST was the deadline for Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins to come to terms on a long-term deal. That deadline has come and gone so he’ll play out the 2017 season under the franchise tag and make $23.9 million doing so.

Now what about next year? Well Washington could use the franchise tag again for the third year in a row, but is Washington going to pay him the $34,478,784 doing so would cost? They could use the transition tag that would only cost $28,732,320. Unlike the exclusive franchise tag Cousins could negotiate with other teams but Washington would have 7 days to match any offer from any team and then could keep him at the term the other team negotiated with Cousins. If they refuse the offer then Kirk Cousins would become a free agent and Washington gets nothing for him (unlike the nonexclusive franchise tag where the team that signs him would have to give up 2 first round picks).

They could trade him either before this season or after, but the problem with that is Washington has no leverage teams know that Washington won’t pay use the franchise tag again so, they can just wait to see if Washington uses the transition tag or if Washington just lets him walk next year. And that brings his trade value down. Both sides have said they are both open to a long-term deal but it has been 3 years and they are still so far apart and Cousins has come out and said he wants to reunite with Kyle Shanahan. But is he worth what it would cost to get him to play in red and gold?

Kirk Cousins is entering his 6th season and has been Washington’s full time starter for the last two seasons posting a 17-14-1 record and a 0-1 record in the playoffs. He’s completed 785 out of 1149 passes (68.3 completion percentage) for 9083 yards, 54 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Not bad numbers I think Niner fans would take those numbers over what we got the last 2 years.

The story with Kirk Cousins goes beyond the numbers Washington was underperformed the last 2 seasons. Football is a team came but franchise quarterbacks (at least ours) overcome that and find a way to get it done. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t be a welcomed improvement, but if you look at what we would have to pay him (look at Derek Carr’s contract) that’s a lot of money for a quarterback that has only made it to the playoffs once despite having loads of offensive talent on his team.

I’m the type of person that judges a quarterback on when it counts the most and you have the ball in your hands with a chance to win the game do you come through.  He does not he seems to shrink in the big light most of the time. I’d like to see what he does this year with far less talent and the pressure of knowing that he might be show casing for a new team. With all the Niners have to get him. They have given Kyle Shanahan a 6-year contract. They are invested in the long-term future of the team has a lot to do with him. He believes in Kirk Cousins he wants him so like Bill got Joe and Steve you must give Kyle Shanahan he guy.

The Niners are in a good position they have Brain Hoyer under contract for this year and next year plenty of draft picks in next year’s draft and plenty of cap space. They were smart not to give away the farm to get him this year. Not when they can play Hoyer this year draft someone next year and try and get him next year with no draft compensation attached. My guess is the Niners Sign him to a contract next year Washington decides that it’s not worth the headache anymore and let him walk because he has little trade value. Or worse case Washington matches the offer Hoyer is our quarterback one more year and he becomes a Niner in 2019 but I don’t see that happening. I just hope Kyle Shanahan is right. How he’s looked on as a Niners coach will depend on it.

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Tag Or No Tag

The Washington Redskins are faced with a hard decision this offseason. They have ample of cap space because they don’t have any one player taking up a lot of their room except for Josh Norman who will count for almost $18 million against the cap this season. The cap killers are usually the quarterback and the linemen but the Redskins don’t have their quarterback locked up for the long-term.

Last season Kirk Cousins played on the franchise tag after wanting to sign a long-term deal but the team was not convinced that he was the man to lead the team so they wanted him to prove it. He played on the tag and he lead the team to finish 3rd in the NFC East and a winning record for the second seasons. They had a chance to get into the playoffs but in the usual fashion, Kirk Cousins didn’t show up in the big game and threw an interception at the end that sealed the deal of the Redskins going fishing for the summer.

Once again, the franchise tag is available for the team to use on him but it will cost even more money this time. The tag will be $24 million for one year and Kirk Cousins has stated he will sign the franchise tag but he will not sign a long-term deal unless it’s the dollar figure that he wants. This man wants Aaron Rodgers type of money and he is not on Rodgers’ level of play. I love the Redskins but I don’t think they should tag this guy. He has shown he can’t get it done and he reminds me of a watered down Tony Romo.

Kirk Cousins had a bad defense this season and Tony Romo has had a bad defense for years and just over the last few years got an offensive line. Yes he choked in big games and only has two playoff wins but at least he has a playoff win. Kirk Cousins has only been to the playoffs once and they lost bad at home against the packers in 2015 season. This man can’t get it done and its time to move on and grow with someone else.

Written by Melvin Jackson III

Each NFC East Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help.  Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks.  Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player.  I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the NFC East:

  1. ezekiel-elliotDallas Cowboys- The Cowboys put together a season that seemed to have come right outside of a movie script.  The veteran qb goes down with an injury and it is up to a couple of hotshot rookies to keep the team afloat until the star veteran could return.  Except, the veteran never returned and not because of his injury being too severe, the hotshot rookies were on a roll and looked unstoppable.  They seemed to be taking the team over in the same kind of way that Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk took over the Rams in their first years starting on the team, except Zeke and Dak were true rookies.  That was all until the team got to the playoffs and lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in their first playoff game.  Now it is time for them to find their flaws and the biggest one is their ability to rush the passer consistently on defense.  They might not be in this position where their biggest need is at this position if Randy Gregory didn’t end up becoming a head case, but it is where they are now.  And this draft, besides just being a deep edge rusher draft is also a draft where a late first round prospect at edge rusher plays for a Lovie Smith in college who runs the same defense as Rod Marinelli with a lot of the same terminology in Dawuane Smoot out of Illinois.  Dallas really is building something special here, and once they get a consistent pass rush, they can potentially advance to the next round of the playoffs.
  2. landon-collinsNew York Giants- Going into the season, most Giants fans expected the Giants to have the most explosive offense in the NFC East and one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL while their defense would be improved from the worst ranked defense in the league but not being anything special.  And that right there is why the games are played.  The Giants’ defense turned into one of the very best units in the NFL with all 3 of their big free agent acquisitions proving their worth, a 2nd year pro at safety going from looking lost in coverage into arguably the best safety in the NFL, and strong showings from multiple rookies.  So yea, for now the Giants’ biggest need isn’t on that side of the ball.  Their offense on the other hand looked like it was a Ferrari parked in a garage and not moving because no one knew where the keys were.  There wasn’t a 100 yard rushing effort by a running back until week 17, Victor Cruz couldn’t get separation on the outside, Eli Manning was missing some throws, the tight ends looked like they had anchors strapped to their feet after the catch, but most importantly was that the Giants had some of, if not the very worst offensive tackle play on both sides of offensive line in the NFL.  Eli Manning threw the ball sooner after the snap than any other quarterback in the league yet he was still constantly under pressure.  Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart are not good enough to be starting tackles in the NFL, and their inability effected how every other person on the offense struggled.  Now, I have said before that this draft is a weak offensive tackle draft, but late in the first round is where a team can actually get value at the position in this year’s draft.  If the Giants can fix their offensive tackle problems, they may be able to find the keys to the Odell Beckham Jr lead Ferrari.
  3. trent-williamsWashington Redskins- Coming off their first playoff appearance since 2012, the Redskins had high expectations for this past season.  On offense, they had some of the most yards in the league behind Kirk Cousins throwing for over 4900 yards and a receiving corps that ran deep with 2 great receiving threats at tight end.  They had a very good offensive line and they had a developing running back in Robert Kelly who can stand to have a change of pace backfield mate.  Their defense on the other hand needs some help.  They were the worst team in the NFL in 3rd down defense, allowing 46.63% of all third downs to become first downs.  By comparison, the Buccaneers who were first in the NFL in that category allowed just 34..36% of third downs to be converted.  That big of a difference is unacceptable and something needs to be done to fix that.  One thing that would help them greatly is an inside linebacker who can go out in coverage and stop the run equally well.  Mason Foster was adequate at that, but he doesn’t have sideline to sideline speed and none of the other linebackers on the roster have that kind of skill since Su’a Cravens will be moved to strong safety which will help that position.  If the Redskins get a speedy linebacker to compliment Foster, they will be a lot closer to having a competitive defense.
  4. NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia EaglesPhiladelphia Eagles- The Eagles came into the year with a rookie qb pegged as the starter after they traded away Sam Bradford with little time before the start of the season.  Carson Wentz started out fast but slowed down as the season went on.  They also switched to a new scheme on defense, switching to a 4-3 wide nine scheme from a 3-4 two gap system and for the front 7 it worked out wonderfully.  Brandon Graham had a career year, Fletcher Cox lived up to his contract, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham were great at linebacker, and in the secondary Malcolm Jenkins showed how he is a top 5 safety.  But both their offense and defense had an Achilles heel.  For the offense it was their wide receiving corps which was one of the worst in the league with only Jordan Matthews playing at a passable level on offense while on defense their best corner back  was Leodis McKelvin who isn’t good enough to be a top 2 corner on most teams in the NFL.  According to Pro Football Focus they had the lowest ranked receiver in the NFL in Nelson Agholar and the lowest ranked corner in the NFL in Jalen Mills.  Both of these positions are in dire need of help, but their receivers need to improve to help the development of Carson Wentz.  If they get a good wide receiver, they may be able to help Carson Wentz into not having a near 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio in his 2nd year and may make the Eagles’ offense into a more serious threat across the board.

Previous articles in this series:

AFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-north-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC West- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need-2/


By: Melvin Jackson III

The Redskins are coming out of a bye week with a new focus and new life for the last half of the season.  They have a new starting running back with Rob Kelly and that is going to take this team to the next level.

This week the Redskins played the slumping Vikings who started to season red hot and beating up on everyone they played. They have recently been stopped in their tracks. The defense still plays well but the offense is horrible and it’s all Sam Bradford and the offense line fault.

The Vikings woes played to the strength of the skins because we started to run the ball very well and got a few stops against them. The Vikings did score 20 straight points on the skins to take the lead and the skins started to look like the same sorry redskins of the past. They overcame that and went on to win the game with an excellent game from Kirk Cousins who is right now the leader of winning the MVP of the league. Jamieson Crowder is playing like he is emerging as a number one wide receiver and the best wide receiver in the NFC east.

The skins have an easy game coming up next week against the packers. The packers are a mess and just got smacked by the Titians who are not that good of a team. I expect us to blow the packers out by three touchdowns and then get ready for a rematch with the most hated Cowboys.

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Washington Redskins: Hello Fat Rob

gettyimages-489461308By: Brandon Thomas

In 2015 the Redskins took Matt Jones, a bruising 230-pound running back from the University of Florida. Jones impressed Redskins coaches with his size, speed and pass catching ability. Some Redskins weren’t sure about this pick however, there were the injuries and questions about his ball security, but coaches were really excited about what he could bring to the Redskins offense that ranked near the bottom of the league in pass receptions by a running back in 2014 (26th).

The 2015 season Matt Jones seemed to live up to what the coaches thought that he would be, piling up 304 receiving yards (only six less yards than then starter Alfred Morris had in his first three seasons combined), including a 78-yard catch and run against the Saints. He was really efficient in short yardage situations, and his breakaway speed in the open field earned Jones more snaps on a game to game basis. However, the glaring problem that plagued Jones since his days a Florida began to rear its ugly head….


Jones fumbled five times his rookie season (losing four of them), and several of those proved to be costly (fumbling going into the end zone against the Giants) and fumbling four times this season (losing three of them), coupled with an inability to stay healthy caused coaches to turn to Robert Kelley also known as “Fat Rob”.

Kelley’s debut against the Bengals was impressive (21 carries 87 yards and a touchdown) but really impressed coaches was his ability to read the holes and churn out tough yardage all while protecting the football.  Is it enough to secure his spot as the Redskins starting running back going forward? That remains to be seen, but for how it’s time to say” hello” to Fat Rob.

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Rise and Fall of Robert Griffin III

I am an avid college football fan so when I began to pay attention to the Baylor University football team, they had a quarterback by the name of Robert Griffin III or his nickname RGIII. He was dynamic and exciting. He was bringing a new flavor to the college game’s, that had been missing since Vince Young. The media thought he was the next best thing and I myself thought he was going to be an elite quarterback.

During the 2012 draft, the media hype up the top two quarterbacks going into the draft, which was RGIII and Andrew Luck. The Colts, who still had Peyton Manning, who just missed the season due to neck surgery and they had the number one pick. The Colts ended up drafting Andrew Luck first overall and the Washington Redskins who was in dire need yet again for a quarterback drafted Robert Griffin III.

During his rookie season, Mike Shannahan ran the pistol offense with RG3 and Alfred Morris. They ran that offense so fluent and tricked the defense a lot because they didn’t know who had the ball. The only problem was when RGIII ran, he didn’t know how to slide or get out of bounds. He was absorbing contact and that’s not a good sign. He ended up injuring his knee against the Baltimore Ravens. That didn’t stop him because the Redskins had to win out to make the playoffs. They made it to week 17 with the division on the line in FedEx field. The Redskins was a Tony Romo interception away from losing, they won and advanced to the playoffs since 2004.

This made everyone in Washington excited and happy again. They felt a sense of hope and accomplishment. He gave the franchise their first division title since 1999, which was a long time for fans.The city came alive again and a sense that the suffering was over, or was it?

The Fall….

In the playoffs, we played Seattle at FedEx field. Griffen was moving the ball at ease against a very talented defense, lead by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas just to name a few. I had a good feeling we would win the game until Griffin was injured. He fumbled the snap and while trying to recover it, the already injured knee twisted and left Griffin on the ground and a sense of quiet filled the stadium. It was like the life and excitement were taken from the whole franchise in the blink of an eye. The game continued but the team was not the same and they went on to lose and the drought of a playoff win since the 2005 season continued.


RGIII diagnosis was a torn ACL, which was horrible for him and ended his magical season. He went at his rehab hard and he coined the catchphrase ” All in for week one” which a lot of fans believed in, including me. He posted his rehab videos and were doing things that were beautiful on the field. High expectations was swirling around the team and their accomplishments. RGIII was the rookie of the year so of course, everyone wanted to see him do well.

Rumors started to swirl around that then-coach Mike Shannahan didn’t like Griffin and he should not have played him against Seattle because he was already injured. I believed he made the right choice; it was the playoffs, it’s win or you go home, so why not take a risk and put your best product on the field. Other rumors were that Griffin could not read a defense, he locks in on his first read and he is not a pocket passer.

When the 2013 season came around, the Redskins started off losing to the division rival Eagles. The bleeding was just starting. The team was fighting with each other, the owner and coach were fighting and of course, Griffin was the center of it all because he was injured again and the team got swept by the entire NFC East and finished with a record of 3-13 which was not the expectation. That put a bad taste in the fans mouths again, it was the same old Redskins, Snyder can’t get right and losing started to become acceptable in the fan base.

Griffen was rehabbing another offseason and coach Shannahan was fired, Jay Gruden was hired and more drama started. Gruden wanted to start Kirk Cousins instead of Griffin and that shocked a lot of people. The owner, Daniel Snyder was not having that and he wanted his man Griffen on the field. Gruden compiled and started the 2014 season with Griffin was the starter. Players on the team didn’t like it because they thought Kirk Cousins moved the offense better. During this season, RGIII got hurt again, which gave Cousins a chance to start. He showed he was an interception machine so people wanted Griffin back. The season ended again miserably 4-12 and last for the 7th time in ten seasons in the NFC east. The team was embarrassed along with the owner who called for change.


A new general manager was brought into town by the name of Scott McClaughan, he was known to build teams into winners but his personal demons was alcohol. He began to draft and sign players who fit the scheme. We were trying to win again and that including phasing out Griffin. This did not go well with the some of the fan base and it started a divide the fans and players on the team. Those who wanted RGIII and those who wanted Cousins. That’s not a good thing to have in a locker room during a team sport. The offensive line seemed to not lock for rg3 but when kirk cousins came in they gave him all sorts of time. The play calling was different for both quarterbacks. It was rumored that Gruden was purposely calling plays to make RGII I look bad and to make Cousins shine so he can get his man to start. It worked and your new starter for 2015 season was Kirk Cousins.

Griffin the once poster boy, the love, heart, and soul of this team was on the outside looking in. He didn’t even dress for games and did not take a snap the entire season. It was depressing for him and his fan base. He was not on the team anymore by mid-summer, he was cut by the team which was expected and signed with the Cleveland Browns.


147164838966597-f549ddf1593442218c870463daa2ceb3It’s only preseason but Griffen has been looking terrific with his new team and new wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. They have not won a preseason game but Griffin’s numbers have been excellent and looking better than past years. He seems to be happy, have his confidence back but something have not changed and that’s the drama that surrounds him. He announced he was divorcing his wife and the tabloids exploited his now new girlfriend. This is a distraction that a team does not need during this time where they need to be focusing on getting ready for the upcoming season. Griffen is still causing a division with the Redskins fan base even though he is on another team. People who were Redskins fans have switched teams to follow their beloved quarterback and some still root for the skins but they back Griffin as well. Then you have some that just plain don’t like him and they love Kirk Cousins. You have those who don’t like Kirk Cousins. My opinion, that mess with the fan base needs to stop. We need to come together as one to rally around the players on the field of our team. I loved Griffin but I will not switch teams to follow him. Players come and go but my love for the Redskins is for a lifetime
Written by: Melvin Jackson III