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Do the Redskins belong in the playoffs?

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Do the Redskins belong in the playoffs?

The Redskins will win the NFC East with a final record of either 8-8 or 9-7. The former would be the worst record ever to win that division; the latter would be tied for the worst-ever record by an NFC East champ.

Some say that this means that the Redskins aren’t a real playoff team, just a mediocre team that backed into the playoffs by virtue of having played in a weak division, one that had to spit out a winner. Congrats, Redskins, you’re the tallest midgets.

And if you look at their record it backs up that line of thinking. Eight wins and seven losses is what it is. Sure, they dropped a few games that could have gone either way. But a bad bounce here and there could have turned close wins over the Eagles, Bucs, and Bears into losses.

But the NFL is a “what have you done lately” league and the Redskins have been one of the better teams in the NFL since they fell to 2-4 with a road loss to the Jets.

Here are some key stats, how the Redskins have performed in them in Weeks 7-16, and their NFL ranking in that time.

Yes, these stats are cherry picked. To pick one from their seventh game on that’s not so good for the Redskins, they allowed 3,528 yards, better than only four other teams. And they had two tries to beat a team with a winning record and didn’t come close to getting it done. They also lost to a bad Cowboys team in a critical game at home.

So let’s be clear that point here is not that the Redskins are an elite team or a very good one. But since taking six games to find their way with a new starting quarterback, a few injuries at tight end and along the offensive line they have been at worst respectable.

The Redskins have been playing better lately but their best may not be enough if they get the best from either the Packers, Vikings, or Seahawks at FedEx Field on the weekend of January 9-10. Over the course of the season they have been more consistent performers.

But the Redskins do not need to apologize for playing in the postseason and they aren’t going to be content with a participation trophy.

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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