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Bold Predictions, Part 1: It's a Joe Gibbs Team

Bold Predictions, Part 1: It's a Joe Gibbs Team

It’s a lock. The Redskins are not only going to beat the Bucs, but they are going to win their next two and advance to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. No other outcome is possible.

Why? Check out this factoid from the Newark Star-Ledger
Why do Redskins fans have reason to believe their sixth-seeded team will become the NFC representative in the Super Bowl?
Check this out: The team the Eagles faced in their final game of the previous six seasons appeared in the Super Bowl. Philly lost to the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl; lost out on a trip to the Super Bowl by dropping the NFC Championship games the previous three years to the Panthers, Buccaneers and Rams; lost a divisional playoff game to the Super Bowl-bound Giants in the 2000 season, and beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the regular-season finale in 1999.
The last opponent for the Eagles this season? The Redskins. How do you like them apples?

Of course, I kid. This is just one of those things, a trivial coincidence. The Redskins won’t win because of their January 1 game.

Some trends and numbers, however, are not trivial or coincidental and warrant some consideration when evaluating this game. I’m talking about numbers like 7-1.

That is Joe Gibbs’ record in his team’s opening playoff games each season. That’s preparation, that’s getting your team ready to make a run. The game location makes no difference; he’s 3-0 on the road in playoff openers.

When you point out records like this to Gibbs, he always says that he had some great players to get the job done. And then you look around Redskins Park you think, hey, there are some pretty good football players around here today, too. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss set team records for rushing and receiving yardage respectively. Marcus Washington is an extraordinary playmaker at linebacker and when Sean Taylor’s reputation catches up with his play on the field he’ll be the talk of the NFL.

The stars, however, weren’t the ones that made Gibbs’ teams what they were. It was the role players and special teams guys, something that this team doesn’t lack in either. You could take Mike Sellers, Rock Cartwright, Ade Jimoh, and Khary Campbell, put them into a time machine and drop them into RFK Stadium in the mid-eighties, introduce them to Otis Wonsley, Pete Cronan, Terry Orr, and Ken Jenkins and they would fit right in.

Obviously, this is a Joe Gibbs team and that means that they will be a very tough out on Saturday. How tough? Find out in Bold Predictions Part 2 on Friday.

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.