Reynolds chosen as 2012 WTT MVP; Jensen Earns Coach of the Year

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Reynolds chosen as 2012 WTT MVP; Jensen Earns Coach of the Year

CSNWashington.com

Today, the World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO named Bobby Reynolds of the Washington Kastles the 2012 WTT Male MVP.

After earning the 2010 Rookie of the Year award, Reynolds has followed up with an even better campaign in 2012 to earn the WTT Male MVP honors. Boasting a 64-41 record for a .610 winning percentage, Reynolds finished as the top ranked player in men's singles. He also paired up with the 2011 Male MVP Leander Paes to finish as the League's top-ranked doubles team with a .620 winning percentage. Yet after Paes left to compete in the Olympics, Reynolds kept the Kastles on track and helped lead them to a second consecutive undefeated regular season. "It's an honor to be named MVP," said Bobby Reynolds. "There have been so many great players who have been MVP over the years of World TeamTennis. The team has been behind me the whole year. I just hope we keep the streak alive."

Additionally, Murphy Jensen of the Washington Kastles was named WTT Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Kastles have had two consecutive undefeated regular seasons and won 30 matches in a row, the second longest win streak in pro team sports history. This is Jensen's fourth season coaching the Kastles. He led the franchise to the WTT title in 2009 and 2011, and the Kastles are now the top seed in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals as they look to win another championship.
"It feels unreal to be named Coach of the Year for two years in a row," said Jensen. "It means the world to me because I got an opportunity this month to serve some extraordinary athletes. I'm a cheap imitation of all the people who have mentored me along the way, starting with my mom and dad."

All of the 2012 WTT Award winners as well as the WTT Finals Weekend Schedule follow below:

2012 WTT AWARDS:
WTT FEMALE MVP: Martina Hingis (New York Sportimes)
WTT MALE MVP: Bobby Reynolds (Washington Kastles)
WTT FEMALE ROOKIE: Kristyna Pliskova (Philadelphia Freedoms)
WTT MALE ROOKIE: John-Patrick Smith (Orange County Breakers)
WTT COACH OF THE YEAR: Murphy Jensen (Washington Kastles)

2012 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO Schedule:
September 14-16 - Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
Friday, Sept. 14 - 6:30 p.m. EDT : Western Conference Championship - 1 Orange County Breakers (8-6) vs. 2 Sacramento Capitals (7-7)
Saturday, Sept. 15 - 6:30 p.m. EDT: Eastern Conference Championship - 1 Washington Kastles (14-0) vs. 2 New York Sportimes (9-5)
Sunday, Sept. 16 - 3:30 p.m. EDT: WTT Finals - Eastern Conference Champion vs. Western Conference Champion

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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.