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Little news is good news

Little news is good news

There was very little news coming out of the Washington Redskins minicamp this past weekend and that is exactly what the team wanted.

You don't want your team to make news during minicamp.

Any headline that comes out of the spring get-together is almost invariably bad news. It's about someone who's not there because of a contract dispute. Or someone who had to be carted off the field and his participation in training camp, if not the season, is in doubt.

There was the Fred Davis episode. The rookie tight end overslept and missed Sunday's practice. If his screwup proves to be an isolated incident then it will soon be forgotten. If he ends up leaving a trail of irresponsible actions, it will be recounted over and over again.

Most are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I agree, but we shall see.

Davis' mishap still is being discussed on Tuesday, with the Riggins show devoting a segment to it and a buzz still lingering on the message boards. That's a sign that it was a slow new weekend.

The most humorous analysis of the story comes from Giants and Cowboys fans trying to get in a few digs about it. The Giants would be happy if their tight end slept in. That would mean that Jeremy Shockey wasn't whining about the offense or demanding a trade. And society at large is much safer if the newest veteran member of the Dallas Cowboys, Pac Man Jones, is in his hotel room.

And after the events of this past weekend, Colts and Bears fans had better not be saying anything, either.

Other than that, it was all football coming out of Ashburn. Specifically, it was about the team learning two new systems, those of Jim Zorn and Greg Blache.

Indications are that Blache's defense will be easy to pick up. Gregg Williams employed a couple of dozen packages of personnel and alignments each game. Blache thinks that simpler is better

"We will have fewer packages because this is about the players," Blache said after a practice at this weekend's minicamp. "This is not about building the perfect castle or whatever. It's about giving the players something they can execute in the heat of battle under stressful situations. We are trying to be a hard, physical defense that's intimidating with our speed and hitting ability, and you can't do that when you're thinking about 20,000 different things."

It wasn't exactly as though Williams' defense seemed to be suffering from paralysis by analysis. The unit was among the top ten in the NFL in three of his four seasons in DC.

Still, letting players play isn't a bad thing. It will be interesting to see how all looks.

Blache did coach under Williams for four years, but it would be inaccurate to call him a GW disciple. He's been a coordinator before. His 2001 Bears unit was one of the best in recent memory as they allowed an average of just 12.7 points per game, in part because the unit collected 34 takeaways.

No doubt, he'll be bringing in a number of his own ideas to the defense as he crafts a scheme that isn't overly disruptive while sticking to his core philosophies and methods.

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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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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