The Redskins’ defense has virtually locked up the #1 ranking in the NFC and has a good shot at being first in the entire league.
Through 14 games, the Redskins have allowed 3,655 yards. In second in the conference is Tampa Bay, which has given up 3,981. That’s a difference of 326 yards. For the Bucs to catch the Redskins, they would have to hold their opponents in the last two games, Carolina and Arizona, to 163 yards per game less than the Redskins do. That’s a tall order.
Pittsburgh holds the NFL lead at 3,619 yards, an advantage of just 36 yards or 18 yards per each of their remaining games. The Steelers play Baltimore and Buffalo. This is so tight that it could hinge on a meaningless draw play in garbage time.
The fact that it might happen at all, however, is nothing short of amazing considering the turmoil and injuries that the unit has faced this year.
Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:
- If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
- Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
- Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden.
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