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Need to Know: Potter gets tepid endorsement

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Need to Know: Potter gets tepid endorsement

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 18, four days before the Redskins play the Lions at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. Penalties and tackling will be other issues covered in the locker room. What we heard on Monday from DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher and from Mike Shanahan on those subjects was interesting but not particularly enlightening. What we got was interesting but not particularly enlightening. I expect more of the same today.

2. Robert Griffin III addresses the media today and he certainly will be asked about this comment from teammate Pierre Garçon (on ESPN 980 via Dan Steinberg):

“Well, when you’re walking around with a knee brace or playing with a knee brace, obviously it’s slowing you down a little bit,” Garcon said. “It’s just natural. It’s common….I don’t know how much it weighs, exactly, but you always think about it when you have it on there, and it’s a constant reminder. It’s not gonna let you be the guy you are without the knee brace.

3. Don’t be stunned if the Redskins sign a new replacement kicker to replace replacement kicker John Potter if it looks like Kai Forbath won’t be able to go. Mike Shanahan gave a downright frigid endorsement of Potter when asked if he would stick around until they knew what Forbath’s status was. ““It all depends. I’m not really sure at this time,” he said. “I can’t tell you one way or the other exactly what we’re going to do.” Potter missed badly on his only field goal attempt, which was from 50 yards.

4. The last team to make the playoffs after starting 0-2 was the 2008 San Diego Chargers. They won the AFC West at 8-8. The Chargers had to win their last four games to get in and they got the help they needed as Shanahan’s Broncos lost the last three when a win in any one game would have clinched the division. Shanahan was fired after the season. Had Denver won the division, Shanahan would have held onto his job there for a bit longer and who knows who would be coaching the Redskins now.

5. Brandon Meriweather could face a pretty steep fine for his helmet-to-helmet hits on Sunday. With the Patriots in 2010, the last time he started full season, he was hit with a $50,000 fine for a helmet-to-helmet on Ravens tight end Todd Heap. There is no formally designated period of time after which a player gets a clean slate so it’s possible his fine could be escalated. It is not yet known if he will play on Sunday; we should hear more on the status of his concussion from Shanahan this afternoon.

Stat of the day

—Santana Moss’ touchdown on Sunday was his 47th as a Redskin. He has caught 46 TD passes and has one more via a punt return. One more touchdown will tie him with Stephen Davis for the 10th-most career touchdowns in team history.

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Timeline

—Days until: Lions @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Raiders 11; Redskins @ Cowboys 25

—Today’s schedule: Player availability in locker room 11:15; Practice 1:00 (closed to media after first 30 minutes); Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00; streamed on CSNwashington.com)

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Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.

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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 10, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 14; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 22

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Around Redskins Park

The Redskins have four games remaining on their schedule. Three wins would give them a record of 9-6-1 and a very good shot at the playoffs. Four will almost certainly get them a ticket to keep playing; two wins or fewer will have them needing a whole lot of help to make the postseason

Let’s take a look at the Redskins’ remaining four opponents and revisit the confidence level on the Redskins’ chances of beating each one of them. (I first did this exercise a few weeks ago).

@Eagles, 5-7, weighted DVOA via Football Outsiders, 15.3% (ranked 5th)
The Eagles looked like playoff contenders for about half of the season but they have taken a tumble back to earth, losing five of their last six. Right now the Redskins are the better team, although their long injury list is an area for concern. The Eagles appear to be in some degree of disarray after their coach accused some unnamed players of giving less than full effort. Confidence that the Redskins will win: High

Panthers, 4-8, DVOA -7.5% (25th)
They won’t be able to defend their NFC championship much longer. By the time this game comes around they could be either eliminated or on the verge of being mathematically out of the playoffs. Their problems are numerous including big issues at cornerback (too bad they didn’t have a guy who could have helped franchise tagged) and an offensive line that has been injury-wracked all year. Still, Cam Newton is a scary quarterback and he still has tight end Greg Olsen and receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. If the Redskins get into a shootout they could be in trouble. Confidence: Moderately high

@Bears, 3-9, DVOA -3.0%, (24th)
Matt Barkley is the Bears’ third starting QB this season and in most statistical categories he’s the worst of the three. The Bears have been hit by injuries as hard as any NFL team with multiple starters on injured reserve. They probably would have struggled even with those players healthy; without them they are one of the five worst teams in the NFL. The one thing to beware of is the late December weather in Chicago, which could randomize the outcome to an extent. Confidence: Very high

Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)
The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate

For comparison purposes, the 6-5-1 Redskins have a DVOA of 9.8% (10th)

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