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Bold Predictions--A Trap?

Bold Predictions--A Trap?

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com

Just five years ago, an 8-5 Redskins team went to San Francisco to face a 49ers team that would finish 4-12. Those 1999 Redskins needed a break or two to win that game in overtime to clinch their only playoff berth since Joe Gibbs left in 1992.

On most teams, there would be some institutional memory, some players and coaches still around from that who would be able to warn the team of a pending trap. However, Team Turmoil has just one person who played on that night still on the payroll and Jon Jansen is on injured reserve.

No. It can’t possibly be. Or could it?

Is this game in San Francisco against the one team in the NFC looking up at the Redskins in the standings a trap, possible letdown game? Could the Redskins take them too lightly? Is that possible? It’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s possible even though on the face of it it’s ridiculous to think that a 4-9 team, one that has won just one of its last five games, would take any opponent for granted.

Even though Washington is 1-3 in its last four games, the Redskins certainly have been playing their best football of the season in that stretch. Unfortunately, the team starting to gel has coincided in time with playing three games in four weeks against two teams with a combined total of two losses. Had this upturn in the level of play come during a stretch in the schedule occurred during a stretch of the schedule when the team was playing against mediocre teams, which compose at least 75% of the league, a 3-1 or perhaps even a 4-0 record in those games.

So, while the Redskins haven’t been winning much lately, they have been putting forth a winning effort for each of the last four weeks. And that is what’s creating the feeling that a letdown might be coming.

It’s extremely difficult for a team that’s in the NFL’s mass of mediocrity—the Redskins right now are firmly ensconced in the lower end of that group—to put forth a winning effort for an extended period of time. Five weeks is getting towards the definition of “an extended period of time.”

Earlier in the week, I wasn’t going to predict a score for this game. I was going to say that if you wanted to know the score of this game you would have to ask Joe Gibbs because he was going to be able to name the score. That confidence has dissipated considerably over the course of the week.

Taking all of that into consideration, however, the Redskins could play at a considerably lower level than they have recently and still pull this game out. So, there are three possibilities for this game:

  1. A loss like in the Cleveland game where the Redskins sleepwalk through it and lose through a combination of mistakes and an inability to make the key plays at the important moments.
  2. A win like in the Chicago game where the Redskins make just enough mistakes to keep the other team in it but manage to stagger to an unimpressive win.
  3. A win like in the Giants game where everything comes together and the Redskins dominate the proceedings from the get-go and roll to a comfortable win.

All three outcomes are possible, but I think that something in between the latter two is the most likely. The Redskins will start out slowly but will avoid the killer mistake and pull away and get some breathing room in the second half. Let’s say something like:

Redskins 24, 49ers 10

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 25, two days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 205 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 47 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 16
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 40

Redskins roster projection—Defense

RICHMOND—The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The defense is up here, the offense went up yesterday.  

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also in bold.

Defensive line (6)

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Terrell McClain, Joey Mbu (NT)
Backups: Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Bubble: Phil Taylor, Matt Ioannidis, A. J. Francis

It appears everybody is getting on the Mbu train so I might as well jump on, at least for the time being. But this area is very much in flux. It would not be a surprise to see any of the bubble players make it.

Inside linebacker (4)

Starters: Will Compton, Zach Brown
Backups: Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight

Bubble: Zach Vigil, Chris Carter

This is another area where the coaches did not tip their hands during the offseason program. Any combination of Brown, Compton, and Foster could start. In fact, you can’t rule out a long shot move by Spaight to get some significant playing time. Should they keep a fifth for special teams, a door could open for Vigil or Carter.

Outside linebackers (4)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette

Bubble: Houston Bates

Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games so a tough numbers decision is put off until Week 5. Bates is going to start camp on the PUP list but if he gets on the field quickly and Galette falters, he could steal a roster spot.

Cornerbacks (5)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Josh Holsey

Bubble: Fabian Moreau, Dashawn Phillips

Moreau is only on the bubble because he is likely to start camp on the NFI list (non-football injury). The third-round pick will be on the 53 eventually but perhaps not until midseason as he continues to rehab a torn pectoral muscle. That could open the door for Holsey, a seventh-round pick. Even if Moreau is healthy for Week 1, Holsey or Phillips could be kept as the sixth cornerback.

Safety (6)

Starters: D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens

Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson

Bubble: Josh Evans

Evans could get a spot if they decide that Nicholson, a fourth-round pick who is athletic but raw, isn’t ready yet. Everett is likely to be a lock because of his special teams play but an injury at this position or at cornerback could push him off the 53

Specialists (3)

LS Nick Sundberg, K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way

With no challengers, there is no bubble here. Both Way and Hopkins need to bounce back from sub standard 2016 performances.

Defensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of eight new to the organization.

Full roster breakdown: 25 offense, 25 defense, three specialists. Eight rookies, A total of 13 players new to the Redskins.

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.

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RGIII reportedly earns tryout with Los Angeles Chargers

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RGIII reportedly earns tryout with Los Angeles Chargers

Robert Griffin III's career resurgence in Cleveland ended following a lackluster 2016 season in which injuries sidelined him for all buy five games.

The Former 2012 Rookie of the Year finished the season 87-of-147 for 886 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions before being released by the team in March.

But the Redskins' former No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft is not giving up on his goal.

RGIII will reportedly work out for the Los Angeles Chargers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS' ROSTER

Griffin III has spent the offseason working out with former Browns coordinator Pep Hamilton. According to Ian Rapoport, who spoke with Hamilton, RGIII is in very good health and is throwing the ball very well.

The Chargers' quarterback situation is as clear as any on the NFL. Phillip Rivers is the starting quarterback. He has been the Chargers' starting quarterback since 2006, and will be the team's starting quarterback until he retires or is traded. And despite Rivers starting every regular-season game for each of the last 11 seasons, the Chargers have no real plan at backup. There's career backup Kellen Clemens and rookies Mike Bercovici (Arizona State) and Eli Jenkins (Jacksonville State). That's it. 

Even if he remains injury riddled, RGIII does that have the tools to bat out backups Clemens, Bercovici and Jenkins.

But for now, it's a step in the right direction for the polarizing former Redskins quarterback.