NFC East: 2013 Week 17 WAS at NYG Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

December, 29, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' season-ending 20-6 victory over the Washington Redskins:

What it means: The game result couldn't possibly mean any less. But the injury toll in the Giants' finale was alarming. Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks left in the second quarter with sprained ankles. Guard James Brewer and wide receiver Rueben Randle left earlier in the game with injuries. And left tackle Will Beatty had to be carted off the field in the third quarter with a broken right leg. The Giants have eight months before their next meaningful game, but obviously they'll hope none of those injuries is serious enough to affect the players' offseason preparations. You'd have to think Beatty's is, at least.

Stock watch: Justin Tuck and Jerrel Jernigan, UP. Tuck added two more sacks to give him six in two games against the Redskins this year and 11 total -- the third-highest single-season total of his career. Jernigan caught a first-half touchdown pass and ran 49 yards for a rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and his emergence as a legitimate weapon was one of the few feel-good stories of the latter part of the Giants' rotten season.

What's next: The Giants head into the offseason with a ton of questions on both sides of the ball. They have 24 unrestricted free agents and will pick somewhere in the No. 9-15 range in the first round of the draft in May. They need three starting offensive linemen (maybe four, depending on how bad Beatty's injury turns out to be), a wide receiver, a tight end, a running back, a cornerback and assorted linebackers and defensive linemen. Time to get to work.

Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins

December, 29, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 20-6 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

What it means: The end of the Mike Shanahan era, as he will be fired shortly, perhaps as early as Sunday night, according to multiple reports. Shanahan’s tenure will end with a 24-40 record after a 3-13 finish this season. It became clear in the past three weeks that Shanahan would not be coaching the Redskins in 2014 thanks to multiple stories that emerged painting quarterback Robert Griffin III in a bad light, among other things. That brought a return of the circus atmosphere Shanahan said had ended. But it’s tough to pin his ouster on Griffin’s influence with owner Dan Snyder. One of Shanahan’s complaints, according to the reports, was his dislike of Griffin's supposed close relationship with Snyder. Rather, Shanahan’s ouster can be justified from a football decision. In a bottom-line business, a 3-13 mark in a fourth season is tough to overcome. The Redskins last finished 3-13 in 1994, Norv Turner's first season.

Quarterback watch: Kirk Cousins played a full game against the best defense he’s seen in his NFL career, and the results weren’t pretty. Cousins was inaccurate on a number of throws on this wet, dreary day -- too wide on some, high on others and inside on yet some more. It was a bad all-around day for Cousins, who also threw two interceptions (one off a high pass to Santana Moss, which could have been caught). Another pick was dropped -- actually a couple of more were in danger of being intercepted -- and he also lost a fumble in the red zone. Cousins showed he’s still a young, developing quarterback. There’s nothing wrong with that. But he has not shown that he’s worthy of being traded for a high pick by any means. Nor that there’s any reason to think anyone but Griffin should be the starter in 2013. Cousins has some skills that you like and other aspects he must overcome. A couple of passes were dropped, but Cousins really struggled, completing 19 of 49 passes for 169 yards.

Record day: Receiver Pierre Garcon became the third receiver in NFL history to catch at least five passes in all 16 games. Jacksonville’s Jimmy Smith (2001) and Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (also 2013) are the other two. There are better receivers in the NFL than Garcon, but you have to admire his consistent play this season -- as a pass-catcher and run-blocker.

End of another era: Linebacker London Fletcher played his last NFL game. Linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was inactive because of a strained groin, corners DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson, linebacker Perry Riley and safety Reed Doughty also will become free agents. All have been with Washington for at least four seasons. Any new coach will have a lot of holes to fill, which is what happens when a team goes 3-13.

Next up: Search for a new head coach.



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