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Need to Know: Can the Redskins take advantage of their 2015 schedule?

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Need to Know: Can the Redskins take advantage of their 2015 schedule?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 16, two days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today's question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

I can’t find the Redskins’ 2015 strength of schedule ranking right now, (update: It's the 20th toughest/12th easiest, h/t Hogs Haven) but looking at it now they do have what appears to be a relatively easy go of it.

In addition to playing home and home against the NFC East teams, they are at home against the Bills, Dolphins, Saints, Bucs and Rams. They are on the road against the Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, and Bears.

Only three of those teams, the Patriots, Cowboys, and Panthers, made the playoffs in 2014. That makes four games against playoff teams since they play Dallas twice. Of the non-playoff teams on the schedule only the Bills (9-7) and Eagles (10-6) had winning records.

On the other end of the scale, the Redskins have seven games against teams that had double digit losses--the Giants (twice), Bucs, Rams, Jets, Falcons, and Bears.

But will such a schedule let them sneak into the (activate best Jim Mora imitation) playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?

Seriously, that’s highly unlikely. For one thing, the other three teams in the division have similarly easy schedules. They play the same AFC East and NFC South teams. The do have games against the NFC West and North that are tougher, but they also have the 4-12 Redskins twice. So Washington doesn't gain much of an advantage there.

And change is the one constant in the NFL. Some of the games that may look easy now will turn out to be tough contests. Although these usually even out with some successful teams from the year before falling back to the pack.

At this point, fans of every team the Redskins are playing have that game marked down as a win. Until the Redskins get out of the state where they are considered to be a soft touch on the schedule of every team they play they won’t be able to take advantage of any advantages the potential strength of their opponents may get them.

Timeline

—It’s been 50 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 22; Redskins offseason workouts start 63; 2015 NFL Draft 73

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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#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

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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.