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Despite shortcomings, the Redskins are playoff contenders

Despite shortcomings, the Redskins are playoff contenders

The Redskins may not be a playoff caliber team yet. But they could well make the playoffs.

At 4-5 they are in second place in the NFC East, a half game behind the 5-5 Giants in the division and tied with the Eagles. The Redskins do have a win over the Eagles in their pocket but since they have another game to play in Philly that tiebreaker is not yet settled.

Here are the remaining games for the NFC East contenders (not including the Cowboys because at 2-7 they are not contenders):

Redskins: @Panthers, Giants, Cowboys, @Bears, Bills, @Eagles, @Cowboys
Giants: Bye, @Redskins, Jets, @Dolphins, Panthers, @Vikings, Eagles
Eagles: Bucs, @Lions, @Patriots, Bills, Cardinals, Redskins, @Giants

The toughest game left on the Redskins’ schedule is against the 9-0 Panthers this Sunday. They will be playing with house money in that one. A win would be a huge boost. But a loss would have them no more than a game out of the division lead.

Besides the Panthers, the only game the Redskins have left against a team with a winning record is the home game against the 5-4 Bills.

If they do lose to the Panthers the games against the Giants and Cowboys would become critical. If they take those two games at home they would be no worse than a game out of division lead, depending on what the Eagles do. Philly hits its tough stretch starting in mid December with games against the undefeated Patriots and 7-2 Cardinals.

There are way too many “what if” scenarios to play out to draw a road map for the Redskins to take the NFC East title. But Redskins fans who have been making travel plans for after the regular season ends on January 3 might want to hold off and let this play out. There could be a home playoff game for the Redskins the next weekend.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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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85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.

Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon. 

Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker. 

Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base. 

More Redskins: After four teams in five seasons, DJ Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home