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Need to Know: The Redskins' five pivotal plays

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Need to Know: The Redskins' five pivotal plays

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 5, eight days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

With the Redskins on their bye, the newsy nuggets that usually reside in this space are non-existent. For something a little different, let’s look at five pivotal moments from the first four games. We’ll go through them chronologically:

1. Alfred Morris loses a fumble on the Redskins’ first play from scrimmage of the year—Washington led 7-3 when Morris lost the handle on the ball on his first carry. The Eagles immediately scored a touchdown and the Redskins never held a lead for the rest of that game or at any point in the next game.

2. Aaron Rodgers throws a 35-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb on fourth and three—The Redskins were hanging with Green Bay even though the offense was still scuffling. But with two and a half minutes left in the first quarter the Packers went for it on fourth and three and Rodgers converted big with the TD pass to Cobb, who dashed through the middle of the field to the score. It started a run of 21 points in about seven minutes and the game was over before halftime.

3. Robert Griffin III’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson against the Lions is overturned on replay—I suppose this moment should be more accurately be described as Robinson dropping Griffin’s sure touchdown pass. If Robinson had held on it would have given the home team a four-point lead with nine minutes to play. The way the Redskins’ defense has been playing that certainly would not have guaranteed a win but it sure would have increased the chances.

4. David Amerson’s 45-yard pick six against the Raiders—Even though the Redskins had just pulled the no-huddle offense off of the shelf to drive to a field goal, they still trailed 14-3 early in the second quarter and were very much in danger of falling to 0-4. But the rookie cornerback jumped in front of the Matt Flynn pass and dashed in for the touchdown that pumped new life into the team.

5. Griffin’s five-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon in the third quarter of the Raiders game—Even though Amerson had kept them alive, the Redskins still had to punch the ball into the end zone to win the game. They finally did late in the third when Griffin dropped back on third and three at the five and fired to Garçon on a slant. The receiver lunged over the goal line and his emphatic spike celebrated the team’s first second-half lead of the season.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 8; Bears @ Redskins 15; Redskins @ Broncos 22

—The Redskins are on their bye, no availability this week.

TE coach McVay talks about his position

In case you missed it

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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In case you missed it

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.

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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. 

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