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Game Blog Pregame

Game Blog Pregame

Although it’s not my job here to be a thoroughly objective journalist, I do try very hard to step back and take an objective look at things (which is more than I suspect that many who are supposed to be neutral journalists do). And in taking an objective look at the Seahawks I see a very good team, at times an excellent one, but not a great one. I don’t see an overwhelming edge that they have over the Redskins either side by side or man to man. For example, Shaun Alexander had a great season, but he’s only about 25 yards a game better than Clinton Portis and, while he’ll get some yardage today, he’s not going to dominate vs. a strong, tough Washington defense. To be sure, Seattle is a deserving favorite, but until they get it done in the playoffs they are deserving of being examined with a degree of skepticism.

Don’t get me wrong here. If I had to bet my house on the outcome of this game straight up I’d put it on Seattle, but I’d be scared to death.

Back to the future

A lot of what’s happened in the past is part of the discussion in this game and some of it is relevant and some of it isn’t. The game the two teams played in October, for instance, is of little relevance (see 36-0. Giants and then 35-20 Redskins with a shorter gap between the games). Seattle’s 13-3 record and 8-0 home field mark is very relevant.

So is Joe Gibbs’ record of 17-5 in the playoffs. Yes, as Gibbs will tell you, the game is decided by the players on the field. But he’s not pulling down five million bucks a year to be a spectator on the sideline. He’s paid to prepare his team for moments like this and few have ever done it better.

And it’s fair to take a shot at Mike Holmgren’s 9-8 postseason record. All nine of the wins were accomplished with one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Brett Favre in his prime, pulling the trigger. Holmgren, too, gets paid to prepare his team to win. That’s a delicate balance in the playoffs. You have to find a way to crank up the intensity while at the same time not making your players so tight they can’t perform. In the past two seasons, Holmgren’s two key players, Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck, may or may not have been tight, but they have come up small the past two years in Seattle’s one and done playoff appearances. Alexander averaged just 2.4 yards a carry in those losses to the Packers and Rams and Hasselbeck threw the game-losing pick in Green Bay.

Still, by far, the Seahawks’ 2005 record is the most important thing to look at when evaluating this game. But how Gibbs’ and Holmgren’s teams play in January is far from irrelevant.

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Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Plenty of Redskins fans wanted the team to interview Rex Ryan for defensive coordinator.

Well, a report shows they aren't talking to Rex, but instead, his brother Rob, according to Albert Breer of MMQB

Rex Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is very impressive.

Rob Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is, uh, less impressive. 

In 12 seasons as a coordinator, first in Oakland and then with Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans, Rob Ryan has two Top 5 finishes in yards allowed. He also has finished 31st out of 32 teams in the league in yards allowed three times.

Below is a chart from Pro Football Reference showing his defensive ranks from 2004 when he became coordinator in Oakland all the way through his last job as a coordinator in New Orleans in 2015.


The results aren't pretty.


It should be noted that in 2016, Rob Ryan served as assistant head coach in Buffalo on his brother Rex's staff.

That team's defense finished 19th in yards allowed. 

Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine have interviewed with the Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator opening.

Washington is also reported to have reached out to Wade Phillips, who took the same position with the Rams, and Steve Wilks, who took the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Internally, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky also seems to be under some consideration for the position, and a report last week linked former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula with the Washington defense.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!


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Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days.

That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams POY. Today we select the Defensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: This is tough because there were no real standouts on a mediocre unit. Ryan Kerrigan was the only defensive representitive to the Pro Bowl and had 11 sacks but his impact plays were few. You could make a case for Chris Baker, who was the only consistently effective player on the defensive line.

The pick here is Josh Norman.

He also was invisible for long stretches for good reasons. The only quarterback to throw his way more than seven times in the last half of the season was the Bears’ Matt Barkley and Norman made him pay with two interceptions. A Norman pick set up the clincher in the Browns game and he forced a fumble that put the Packers game beyond even an Aaron Rodgers miracle.

Outside of that, he set the tone during the week, staying out a minimum of 30 minutes after every practice, working on his craft.

If the defense can get two or three more players just like Norman they’ll be fine.


Finlay: Norman is a strong pick, but since Tandler stole that selection from me, I will go with Kerrigan.

I've heard the lack of impact plays argument, and don't agree. His strip-sack to end the Eagles game, a win the reeling Redskins desperately needed, was probably a Top 5 defensive play this season. Without that sack, Philly had all the momentum and a chance to knock the 'Skins out of playoff contention. He also played through a number of injuries, starting every game for the sixth straight season.

Baker's name deserves recognition, as does Trent Murphy. The best part of Murphy's eight sack breakout campaign: Excellence is expected of Norman and Kerrigan. With Kerrigan, the expectations are so high that 11 sacks is almost dismissed by some fans and media. Murphy emerged as a viable sack threat for Washington this season, something that he can build upon next year. 


Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!