Quick Links

How the Redskins Will Make the Playoffs

How the Redskins Will Make the Playoffs

Tandler’s Redskins Blog Ver. 09.09.05

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net
The 2005 Washington Redskins will make the playoff and anything less than that will be a disappointment.
The team has good, talented football players, a lot of them. One quick way to assess the level of a team’s talent is to see how many of its players would start for most other NFL teams. With the definition being that a player could start for at least half of the other teams in the league, the Redskins have quality players at all five positions on the offensive line, one at wide receiver with Santana Moss, one at tight end with Chris Cooley, and one at running back with Clinton Portis. On the other side of the ball they have defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, linebackers LaVar Arrington and Marcus Washington, cornerback Shawn Springs and safety Sean Taylor. A few others such as safety Matt Bowen and defensive end Renaldo Wynn are on the borderline, but even discounting them that makes 13 players who are above average at their positions. That’s enough to win with.

There was some truth to what people were saying about Joe Gibbs last year, that he was trying to win in 2004 with plays that worked in 1990. Certainly it didn’t work like the typical Joe Gibbs offense, one that took best advantage of the talents of its players and always had a surprise or two in store for the opposing defense. It’s surprising to learn that some still think that the game has passed him by. He didn’t spend 15-20 hours a day at Redskins Park during the offseason trying to convince people that what he did last year works, he spent it revamping the Washington offense. Gibbs has always said the he would change about 40% of his offense from year to year. From ’04 to ’05 the numbers will probably be flip-flopped, with the coaches putting 60% or more of last year’s schemes in the trashcan. The shotgun, which we have seen used effectively during the preseason and zone blocking for Portis to allow him to bust some long gainers, plays that were missing from his 1,300-yard season in 2004.

Even with all of the problems with the offense last year, the Redskins still won three of their last five games. One of the losses was to the Eagles and the Redskins’ strong bid for an upset in that game was derailed by a late interception of a Patrick Ramsey pass in the end zone. The other defeat came in the dying minutes at Texas Stadium when a late Dallas touchdown pass pulled out the win for the Cowboys.
That’s the framework. So how do the Redskins take these quality players running an effective offensive scheme and a Gregg Williams defensive scheme and win the nine or 10 games that will be needed to make the playoffs?

  • Win three in the division: The Redskins have favorable matchups in their four meetings with the Giants and Cowboys in regards to the quarterbacks they will be facing. Williams’ aggressive, blitzing packages are designed to terrorize young quarterbacks such as New York’s Eli Manning and immobile quarterbacks like Dallas’ Drew Bledsoe. Even if they can’t steal a win from the Eagles, something they almost did in Week 14 last year, they should be able to muster a 3-3 division record.

  • Beat the teams they should beat: The home games against the Bears and 49ers are games that the Redskins should be favored in by a touchdown or more. Seattle comes to FedEx Field and they’re a terrible road team. The Oakland Raiders also visit FedEx and even with the addition of Randy Moss they’re still a team that will post a double-digit loss total. Tampa Bay is just a few years removed from a Super Bowl win but they seem to be a lost franchise now. The Redskins travel to Arizona and the Cardinals are supposed to be an up and coming team but I’ll believe it when I see it. Washington will win five of those six games.

  • Pull an upset or two: The three division wins and the five against the lesser teams mean that the Redskins need to find another win, maybe two, to get a ticket to the playoffs. Among the more winnable road games is the one in Denver. The Broncos just aren’t very good this year and, like Manning and Bledsoe, the mistake-prone Jake Plummer is the kind of quarterback that plays right into Williams’ hand. The Chargers, who play at FedEx Field in late November and if the Redskins are playing well then that will be a very tough game for the Chargers to win. A win in a December trip to St. Louis may be a tall order, but the Rams are nothing if not erratic and a win there is not out of the realm of possibility.


Of course, the usual caveats are in place here. The Redskins, like virtually every other NFL team not named the Patriots, won’t be successful if they are hit with an extraordinary number of injuries or get more than their share of unfortunate breaks. Given an equality of luck, however, the Redskins will be extending their season into the playoffs in 2005.

Quick Links

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0: CORNERING THE MARKET

Quick Links

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

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.