Three Red­skins de­serve to go to Pro Bowl

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TOMMY CHALK

At 6-5-1, the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins are ever so slightly aboveav­er­age. But sev­eral Red­skins are hav­ing well above-av­er­age sea­sons and de­serve a spot at the 2017 Pro Bowl. With only five days re­main­ing in the fan vot­ing por­tion of the se­lec­tion process for the Pro Bowl, not a sin­gle Red­skin leads the bal­lot in their re­spec­tive po­si­tion. Here are three Red­skins who should be in the mix for post­sea­son hon­ors:

Kirk Cousins, quar­ter­back: For Cousins fans, this sea­son looks a lot like last year, the sig­nal-caller’s first full year as a starter. Af­ter start­ing off a bit cold, Cousins has ramped up his play in the lat­ter half of the year, av­er­ag­ing 363 pass­ing yards per game, throw­ing for 11 touch­downs and just two in­ter­cep­tions since Week 8.

His to­tals com­pare fa­vor­ably to the rest of the NFL. His 3,811 pass­ing yards rank third. His 8.04 yards per at­tempt ranks fourth, his 67.5 com­ple­tion per­cent­age ranks sixth and his 99.6 QB rating ranks eighth.

The only area where Cousins may be lack­ing is to­tal pass­ing touch­downs. His 21 pass­ing touch­downs rank just 11th in the NFL. But while his touch­downs haven’t been plen­ti­ful, they’ve been con­sis­tent: Cousins has thrown a pass­ing touch­down in each of his last 11 games.

As far as Red­skins quar­ter­backs go, Cousins is hav­ing one of the most pro­lific sea­sons in fran­chise his­tory. Be­fore his in­ter­cep­tion against the Arizona Car­di­nals on Sun­day, Cousins had gone 187 pass at­tempts with­out an in­ter­cep­tion. That’s the sec­ond-long­est such streak in team his­tory, trail­ing only Ja­son Camp­bell’s 271 passes with­out an in­ter­cep­tion streak that strad­dled the 2007 and 2008 sea­sons.

Cousins needs 356 pass­ing yards over his next four games to throw for the most yards in a sin­gle sea­son in Red­skins’ his­tory, eclips­ing a record he al­ready set just last year.

Cousins is also well on pace to set a record for the most com­ple­tions (379, set by Cousins him­self last sea­son).

Af­ter be­ing snubbed for the Pro Bowl last year, Cousins is putting up the kind of num­bers this year that are hard to ig­nore.

Jor­dan Reed, tight end: In­jury wise, it’s been a dif­fi­cult year for Reed. But de­spite the fact he’s missed three games due to a con­cus­sion and a sep­a­rated shoul­der, Reed is still pro­duc­ing like an elite tight end.

Even with the in­juries, Reed stands out in a down year for tight ends across the league. Very few are putting up dom­i­nant num­bers. Reed though, is in­dis­putably the cog that makes the Red­skins of­fen­sive at­tack go. He leads all Red­skins in tar­gets per game, av­er­ag­ing 8.78 looks per game.

And if a ball is thrown Reed’s way, he catches it more times than not. His 73.49 com­ple­tion per­cent­age ranks sec­ond in the NFL among tight ends with at least 60 tar­gets, be­hind only the Oak­land Raiders’ Zach Miller. Reed’s five touch­downs also rank third in the NFL.

He is par­tic­u­larly a threat in the red zone. His 14 to­tal tar­gets within the op­po­nent’s 20 yard line rank eighth in the NFL, while his com­ple­tion per­cent­age of 64.29 ranks fourth among tight ends with at least 10 red zone tar­gets.

Josh Nor­man, cor­ner­back: The Red­skins have got­ten ev­ery­thing and more of what they ex­pected when they signed Nor­man to a five-year, $75 mil­lion con­tract this off­sea­son.

Nor­man has served as the shut­down cor­ner for the en­tirety of the sea­son, and even the league’s best re­ceivers have strug­gled against him.

Dal­las Cow­boys All Pro Dez Bryant, in two games this sea­son, has man­aged to record just 32 yards on three catches when lined up against Nor­man.

Nor­man doesn’t just suc­ceed against Bryant and the Cow­boys. Against the Green Bay Pack­ers’ a strong pass­ing at­tack, the ball was thrown Nor­man’s way by quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers five times. Nor­man al­lowed just one catch for 13 yards on that tar­get.

A first-team All Pro last sea­son, Nor­man has just one in­ter­cep­tion this year to go with two forced fum­bles, and he’s de­fended only 12 passes — just 10th in the NFL.

But that’s be­cause the ball doesn’t get thrown Nor­man’s way — and that’s the best type of de­fense.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins tight end Jor­dan Reed leads the team in tar­gets per game. Reed is one of three Red­skins who are de­serv­ing of go­ing to the Pro Bowl this sea­son.

The Cow­boys’ Dez Bryant has just three catches for 32 yards against the Red­skins’ Josh Nor­man.

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