1. What will you be looking for from Washington on Thursday night? What will be a "success" or a "failure" against the Jaguars?
Thursday night is all about the bubble guys and filling out the end of the roster. The only way to call Thursday night a "success" in my opinion will be if both teams come out of the game with no injuries. We have maybe five spots at the end of the roster that aren't completely decided yet and we'll be watching to see who steps up. All the die-hard fans have a favorite player or two on the bubble that they'll be rooting for to really stand out against the Jags and lock up one of those spots.
2. Okay, what the heck is going on with Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins, and Robert Griffin III? What's the opinion of how Gruden is handling the situation? Do you all think Griffin is gone before the year is out?
What's going on is that Jay Gruden has decided to make Kirk Cousins our starting QB for this season. Prior to failing the concussion protocol and thus not being able to play against the Ravens last Saturday, all signs pointed to RGIII being our starter. Jay (and presumably general manager Scot McCloughan, president Bruce Allen, and owner Dan Snyder) have had a change of heart and are making the choice that most fans have realized was best for the team's chances of winning for a while now.
Opinions on how the situation thus far has been handled are mostly negative. Fans have been clamoring for a fair, open quarterback competition since the end of last season. At the end of last season, Jay basically said as much and we were all satisfied. Then, out of nowhere at the combine, Jay came out and said RGIII is the starter. This made basically no sense as he was terrible last year and wasn't the starter to end the year. Plus, he was contradicting what he said about there being an open competition. So, all throught OTAs, training camp, and the first two preseason games, RGIII has been the announced, official, undisputed starter. He took a beating in the second preseason game against Detroit, suffered a concussion (we think...), was cleared to play in the third preseason game, took all the first team reps, and then was "un-cleared." Kirk started, played relatively well, and now he's the starter.
Some would argue that it's been a competition all along and that RGIII was announced as the starter for a couple of reasons. One would be to try to boost his confidence. The other would be so that Jay didn't have to answer questions about who our starting quarterback would be every time he talked to the media. I think most people agree that the right decision has been made (to start Kirk), but that it was done in an unnecessarily poor manner.
With regards to RGIII's future with the team, I personally think he'll be gone before the season even begins. Jay said in his press conference announcing Kirk as the starter that he envisioned RGIII with the team and that they haven't discussed releasing him or anything like that. Should we believe him? Who knows? I can't see him being on the team after this year and I believe the best thing for the entire team, and RGIII himself, would be to go ahead and release him now. His presence is an unnecessary distraction at this point. Perhaps a trade would be the best outcome, but because we picked up his fifth-year option for next year ($16 million) he's basically un-tradable as pretty much no team would want him for that price (and if he suffers a major injury, the team that he's with has to foot the bill... and injuries are common with RGIII).
3. Do you think Cousins is better for Washington's offense or would Griffin be? Which player is going to elevate the performances of those around him?
The fan-base isn't completely in agreement on this, but I speak for the majority (and myself personally) when saying that Kirk Cousins is definitely a better fit for our offense than RGIII. He definitely elevates the entire offense and has by far the better ability to move the team down the field and gives us the best opportunity to score TDs. Kirk's greatest weakness is his INT-rate. He has a problem throwing picks that he must correct. Hopefully he has or at least will. We'll see. But aside from that, he's been a pretty productive QB and has a far greater ability of getting rid of the ball and not taking sacks.
4. How has Preston Smith played so far this preseason? Was the signing of Junior Galette a sign that Smith wasn't playing up to where he was drafted, or was it just a case of Washington wanting to sign a good player on the market?
Reports from practices have been fairly up-and-down on Smith, but he's played great in the preseason games. I don't think signing Galette had anything at all to do with Smith. I think it was more just an opportunity to get a great football player on a very low-risk, inexpensive contract. The opportunity presented itself and we acted. I think the team would have felt fine going with our OLB corps without Galette, but he certainly would have drastically improved the group.
Of course, now that Galette is out for the year, we're back to where we were before signing him, anyway. Smith is now fighting with Trent Murphy for the starting OLB spot opposite Ryan Kerrigan, but regardless, all three guys should play a lot.
5. If you could take one player on the Jaguars offense and one on the defense, who would they be?
On offense, I'd like Julius Thomas. The Redskins are a bit thin at tight end and I think he's the most talented guy on your team's offense. He's still only 27 and is already proven to be great. Of course, an argument could be made for Blake Bortles or perhaps a good offensive lineman (like Linder, Parnell, or Beadles), too.
Defensively, I'm taking one of the defensive linemen. My top choice would be Sen'Derrick Marks. He's a stud. Our team is already pretty stacked at defensive line, but Marks is still only 28 and next year we could lose Knighton, Hatcher, or both. My second choice would be Jared Odrick.