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Need to Know: Shanahan says it's too soon to judge NFC East

Need to Know: Shanahan says it's too soon to judge NFC East

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 1, 12 days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

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Five key quotes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference:

1. The Redskins went to a no-huddle attack a couple of times during the game and it was pretty effective. One no-huddle drive led to a field goal and their first touchdown drive started with the quick tempo.

It’s always good when you use something that nobody has ever seen before, so you do catch people off-balance a little bit and I think that’s what we did. We caught them a little off-balance. The pace was a little bit different, and I think it’s a good changeup.”

2. Some Redskins didn’t particularly like having the bye so early in the schedule. Shanahan pointed out that the Redskins have played eight games counting the preseason so a break is welcome at any time.

I don’t even think about that because when you’ve got your bye, it’s your bye. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the season, toward the end of the season or in the beginning. You can use excuses that it’s the perfect time for any bye week. At the end of the day, we have got a chance to heal up a little bit. We have got a couple of guys banged up which is a positive for us to get these guys healthy.

3. Shanahan thinks it’s too early to make any grand pronouncements about the state of the NFC East where the teams are a combined 4-12.

Remember, this is a long season. Don’t get carried away with things that happen very early or very late. Just stay the course. Understand your objective and your goals and try to get better each day. A lot of those games can go either way and people get healthy or they get injured and there is a lot that goes into it.”

4. Brandon Meriweather played a decent game, mostly lining up at free safety while Reed Doughty was at strong.

The one thing about Brandon, if he’s deep or he’s in the box, he can tackle, he’s going to make some plays. I think he’s getting in better football shape. You can see each game he’s playing better and he’s getting healthier. You need reps to be good no matter what, and those reps are helping him.”

5. As I noted yesterday, Robert Griffin III has been flagged for intentional grounding six times in his 19 NFL starts including one in a key situation yesterday. Shanahan was asked what can be done about this tendency.

“We go over the things with Robert. If you do get put in a situation like that, and someone might miss an assignment, they may have an all-out blitz, which side do you throw it to? Do you throw it to the side with no wide receivers or the side with three wide receivers? All of a sudden, as time goes on, the process slows down a little bit, and with repetition, you get better.”


Stat of the day

—The Redskins were called for just three penalties for 29 yards against the Raiders. In their first three games they had averaged 7.7 penalties and 66 penalty yards.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 12; Bears @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Broncos 26

—Today’s schedule: Availability with assistant coaches and players 10:30; Mike Shanahan news conference follows, approx. 11:30.

“The sky is not falling”

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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable