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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.

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.