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Need to Know: Redskins step into spoiler role

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Need to Know: Redskins step into spoiler role

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 22, the day the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

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When you have nothing to play for, you find something to play for.

Although a Redskins win won’t help them in any way involving the NFL standings—they have locked up last place in the NFC East—they nevertheless have to play the game so they might as well find a reason to win it. Here are a five of them:

1. They can do severe damage to the Cowboys’ chances of making the playoffs. A Redskins win would set up a scenario where the Eagles would clinch the division with a Sunday night win over the Bears. If you can’t impact your own playoff chances, the next best thing would be to damage those of a division rival.

2. If there is anybody for whom the players would like to “win one” it’s London Fletcher. He is universally admired and respected by the team and a win in his last game at FedEx Field would be the perfect going away present.

3. It may be that Daniel Snyder has already made up his mind and Mike Shanahan is out no matter what happens in these last two games. But if the owner is still teetering, a win could bolster his chances of staying. It seems that the players all want Shanahan to stay—Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall both gave him endorsements this week—and a win just might help Shanahan get another year.

4. If they aren’t playing for Shanahan’s job perhaps they are playing for their own jobs. There are only a handful of players on the roster who aren’t unrestricted free agents or who wouldn’t be able to be released with more than minimal impact on the salary cap. In short, much of the team is working on a two-game contract. If that’s not incentive to play well, nothing is.

5. Finally how about winning one for the fans at FedEx Field? The Shanahan era has brought many more home losses than wins. They are 11-20 at home since 2010 and 2-5 this season. And since there is always a strong presence of fans dressed up in blue and silver when the Cowboys come to town the Redskins may need to stay out in front to avoid this sounding like a road game.

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In case you missed it

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Tuesday 12.17

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Thursday 12.19

Friday 12.20

Saturday 12.21

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

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