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Need to Know: Five questions--What's next for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Five questions--What's next for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 29, 251 days before the opening Sunday of the 2014 NFL season.

Nickel coverage

According to multiple reports, Mike Shanahan will be fired this morning when he meets with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Although that will be the end for Shanahan, it will be the beginning the process to rebuild the power structure at Redskins Park. As soon as that starts, there will be more questions than answers. Here’s a look at five of them:

1. Do all of the assistant coaches go? It seems likely that coordinators Kyle Shanahan, Jim Haslett (who reportedly has an expiring contract) and Keith Burns will be let go. It’s also seems likely that longtime Shanahan associates like Bob Slowick and Bobby Turner will be fired. But the Redskins might hold on to some guys like tight ends coach Sean McVay to see if the new head coach might want to keep them on.

2. What will the power structure be? Firing Shanahan opens up two jobs as he served as coach and general manager with final say over all football operations. Will a new coach get those powers, too? Or will the team go to the more traditional structure with a coach making the on-field decisions with a general manager handling the draft and free agency?

3. Who will emerge as the leading candidates for the head coaching and, if they go that way, GM jobs? This, of course, will be the question that gets the most attention. Plenty of time will be spent on that in the coming days.

4. What role will Bruce Allen play? Although Allen holds the title of general manager he doesn’t have the personnel acumen needed to conduct the draft, free agency, etc. It is widely assumed that Allen will get a new title, perhaps team president, and continue in his current role. But that is just speculation, we don’t know for sure.

5. What scheme will the new coaching staff run? A 3-4 defensive alignment or a 4-3? Zone blocking for the run or power blocking? Pass-oriented or run first? That will go a long way towards determining what players stay or go and what kind of players they will look for in the draft and in free agency.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins set franchise single-season record for both pass attempts (611) and completions (355). Both marks were set in the 2010 season, when the Redskins went 6-10. Obviously these are records that you do not necessarily want to break.

Timeline

—Days until: NFL free agency 71; 2014 NFL Draft 129; 2014 Opening Sunday 251

—Today’s schedule: Player availability as they clean out their lockers 9; other events TBD

In case you missed it

Fletcher reflects on his career

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

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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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.