While it should never be surprising to see a 13-year veteran get released this time of year while general managers try to get younger and cheaper, Jenkins looked to have a decent chance of making the roster. He could still be a heavy favorite to return once the Redskins can get him on a week-to-week deal and don’t have to guarantee his salary for the season.
If Washington doesn’t bring him back, they’ll obviously keep their eyes peeled for help along the defensive line. The team is currently relying on the likes of Ricky Jean-Francois, Kendric Golston, Chris Baker, Kendall Reyes and cheap jerseys and Ziggy Hood. Jenkins played in 14 games for the Giants last season, logging three sacks and 15 total tackles. A defensive tackle and stretch end, Jenkins could still be versatile enough to find a home in any defensive system.
There are many players who would be miffed that they weren’t adequately rewarded after a breakout season, especially those who make their living at a position where it’s so hard to find talent. Cousins has the refreshing mindset that if it takes two seasons to win over the Redskins, he’ll give them two seasons worth remembering.
“I’ve felt like I’ve had to guard against that this year, feeling like I have to prove I’m worthy of the opportunity,” Cousins said. “As much as you don’t want to do that, that’s the nature of the business. You have to prove people wrong every day. Otherwise, they’re going to find someone else.”
Cousins feels like he’s continually talking about the importance of his run game for one simple reason: It has been the most obvious factor in this team rebounding from an 0-2 start. The Redskins have averaged 131.3 rushing yards over the last four weeks (as opposed to 68.5 in those first two losses), which has led to the team becoming more consistent in all phases. They’re controlling the clock more effectively (32 minutes of possession in that win streak) and their defense also has become more dominant in the process (Washington has allowed 19.3 points per game during this four-week span, compared to 32.5 in the first two defeats).
That type of success also means Cousins can return to the form that made him so successful in the second half of last season. He started this year looking very much like a man who knew he was playing for the long-term contract he couldn’t procure during the offseason. Too many of his passes were off target, the offense couldn’t move consistently and he operated as if he was trying too hard to produce significant results. Now he’s back to playing within himself, shrugging off costly mistakes (like the interception Eagles cornerback Malcolm Jenkins returned 64 yards for a touchdown) and giving his team opportunities to win.
The numbers don’t exactly show it — Newton managed to throw for 237 yards in a Week 17 loss, a week after going 18 for 43 in a loss to Atlanta — but the quarterback was less than his best self down the stretch last season, as Carolina limped to just two wins in its final six games. Injuries and inconsistent play, especially along the offensive line, doomed Carolina, and it made sense when it was revealed after the season that Newton had been playing through his own ailment.
There’s little to no reason for Newton to take a single snap of game action prior to Week 1 of the regular season, which everyone involved knows. But monitoring his ability to throw in practice is important, because it serves as our sole barometer of where his shoulder is. With proper treatment and monitoring off the field, Newton should be fine come kickoff weekend.
One of the reasons Baltimore opted not to sign free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick earlier this offseason was because the Ravens did not have a need for anything more than a camp arm. Despite the fact that Kaepernick, according to someone close to him, would have been interested in that opportunity, the Ravens cycled through a group of third and fourth stringers over the last two weeks in Vaughan and David Olson. Now, Lewis joins a group that includes backup Ryan Mallett, Liberty product Josh Woodrum and the injured Joe Flacco (back).
Adding another established veteran to the mix is interesting. Mallett went 9 of 18 for 58 yards in Baltimore’s preseason-opening win over the Washington Redskins this week — a performance that was complimented by head coach John Harbaugh, but not exactly one that quieted Mallett’s outside critics. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier that Baltimore would only turn to Kaepernick if the team believed it needed an upgrade over Mallett.
In five drives, Mitchell Trubisky deleted five months of hot takes about his worthiness. The No. 2 overall pick stopped being a talking point and started becoming an NFL player, however early in his development Trubisky might be.
The best result any rookie can hope for in this organized tease called the preseason is to make his coaches want to see more. Even John Fox must be intrigued after Trubisky’s opening statement. Before diving into the rest of the winners and losers of Preseason Week 1 below, I wanted to highlight seven rookies who made me want to see more this month.