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Need to Know: How likely is a Redskins turnaround?

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Need to Know: How likely is a Redskins turnaround?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 20, the day the Washington Redskins play the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field.

How likely is a turnaround?

When the Redskins fell to three games under .500 last year, it appeared that they were on their way down and out. After going 3-3 in their first six games, the Redskins lost three in a row. They actually looked good in losing to the Giants with Robert Griffin III putting on a show including a TD pass to Santana Moss that put the Redskins ahead in the late going. But an Eli Manning bomb to Victor Cruz in the final two minutes gave the Giants the win.

Things went downhill from there. Their 27-17 loss to the Steelers was their worst game of the season to that point. They topped it or, rather, bottomed it the next week in a 24-21 home loss to the 1-6 Panthers in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. That dropped the Redskins to 3-6 and prompted Mike Shanahan to talk about players performing to show they want to be with the team in the future. The slump made the team’s seven-game winning streak to take the division title seem all the more unlikely.

How likely does a turnaround for the 2013 Redskins seem right now? In some ways it seems like they have a steeper hill to climb. Last year after nine games the Redskins at least knew that they could hang their hat on Alfred Morris pounding out some rushing yards and Griffin being able to work some magic. This year both Morris and Griffin have had their moments but consistency has eluded them.

But if you look at the last three games, it does look like this team is closer to putting it together when compared to the 2012 bunch. They had their chances against the Lions, posted an “a-win-is-a-win” win over the Matt Flynn-led Raiders and if they could have tackled Dwayne Harris they would have been right with the Cowboys until the end.

With a trip to Denver looming a week from today, starting a winning streak against the Bears is unlikely. But other than the meeting with Peyton Manning and company it seems like Washington can be competitive in its remaining games. That is, of course, if the defense continues its improvement, the special teams don’t make killer mistakes, and the offense can score some first-half touchdowns.

Those are some big ifs but not really any bigger than the team faced last year. That doesn’t mean a playoff run is imminent but it does mean that there is a chance.

In case you missed it

Sun 10.13

Mon 10.14

Tue 10.15

Wed 10.16

Thur 10.17

Fri 10.18

Sat 10.19

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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