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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

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Tue 10.15

Wed 10.16

Thur 10.17

Fri 10.18

Sat 10.19

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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: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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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.