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Bold Predictions: Take the Home Dog?

Bold Predictions: Take the Home Dog?

These aren’t the ’85 Bears, people.

They’re not even the ’05 Colts.

No doubt the Redskins face a very tough task on Sunday in facing the 6-4 San Diego Chargers at FedEx Field. But from listening to people talk and reading the message boards, you’d get the feeling that the typical Redskin fan thinks that he has a better chance of catching Jennifer Aniston on the rebound from Brad Pitt than the Redskins do of winning this game.

Such thinking goes to show you just how pervasive and overpowering the “what have you done lately” mentality is when people look at the NFL. Two and a half weeks ago the Chargers had just won to pull themselves up to .500 at 4-4. Washington had just beaten Philly to move to 5-3 and the playoff talk flowed freely in the Redskins locker room. Since then, the Chargers have gone to the Meadowlands, where the Jets had the ball inside the San Diego 10 with a chance to pull out a win in the waning moments before falling, and they have pummeled the Buffalo Bills, a team without a quarterback. For their part, the Redskins lost (according to the zebras anyway) a tough game on the road to a 7-3 Tampa Bay team and then led for most of the game against Oakland before losing.

These events have led to a view of the Chargers that is somewhat inflated and a view of the Redskins that is much more bleak than their body of work this season would suggest. Washington has won five games, San Diego has won six. The Redskins’ five victims have a combined record of 28-23 while the six teams the Chargers have beaten are 29-31. On the other side of the ledger, all of San Diego’s losses have come at the hands of teams with winning records while Washington’s loss to Oakland was the only one that wasn’t a “quality” loss.

The other factor in play that has made the Chargers not just the smart money pick but the choice of cash of all IQ’s is the Marty factor. This line of thinking says that Marty Schottenheimer will have his team primed to play so that he can stick it to his old employer just like Norv did last week. I’ve underestimated the psychological edge on occasion so far this year (see my prediction on the Giants game in the wake of owner Wellington Mara’s death as Exhibit A), but I don’t see this being a big edge for two reasons. First, Schottenheimer has remained on friendly terms with Dan Snyder and the rest of the organization. Second, Joe Gibbs is likely to have his troops quite well prepared, their motivation being survival in the competition for playoff spots.

The fallout of the past two weeks and, presumably, the Marty factor, has led to the Chargers being a three-point road favorite. I don’t follow such things very closely, but I would guess that, over the course of an NFL season you will find very few instances of a team being a home dog to a team that has won just one more game.

And, like most home dogs under most circumstances, I expect the Redskins to cover but not win. LaDanian Tomlinson won’t pile up a lot of yards on the ground but will be effective catching Drew Brees’ passes out of the backfield. Santana Moss should get untracked but Clinton Portis won’t. San Diego will get an early lead and hold off Washington at the end.

Chargers 23, Redskins 21


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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

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

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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