The biggest uncertainty entering Sunday was the availability of the New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is nursing an ankle injury. The Giants ruled him inactive an hour and a half before their matchup against the Cowboys in Dallas, the first “Sunday Night Football” game of the season. Last week, Beckham said, “I’m itching. I’m itching, but [it’s about] just patience and trusting.”
“They’re completely different backs,” Gruden said. “I think it depends on what your vision is offensively, what you want to do. I know Jonathan Stewart is 30 years old now. Fozzy Whittaker is there. They’ve got some pretty good backup young backs. But if you want a feature back, if you want an I-formation tailback, Fournette is your guy. I just think he’s built for the long haul. He’s a punishing runner. I do like him a lot.
“McCaffrey, he’s a jack of all trades. I think you’ve got to be able to use him creatively in your passing game. That’s where, to me, he is the best. If that’s your offense, I think McCaffrey is for you. If you’re looking to be a little bit more conventional, take the burden off your quarterback and pound the ball, Fournette is your guy.”
So, certainly with Eric Rowe involved, having a full offseason, OTAs, training camp and doing a good job for us from that standpoint. I think all those guys that go out there and play have earned some time on the field and whatever that is, depending on how the game is going, kind of just plays itself out when we’re in the particular situation we’re in as far as the game is concerned.”
If Cousins departs, the Redskins will be forced to do two things: Draft a young prospect, ideally with their first-round pick; and sign a veteran free agent to challenge for the starting job while the rookie learns Gruden’s system.
In his first mock draft of the offseason, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Thursday predicted the Redskins will take Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield 13th overall.
But Mayfield would suit owner Daniel Snyder’s style, bringing Heisman Trophy buzz and credentials (for the second time in six years) to energize a dispirited fan base.