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Need to Know: The Redskins' third option

rich-bisaccia-2.png

Need to Know: The Redskins' third option

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 4, 66 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel package

“We’re going to look for someone who is a leader first and it could be on the offensive side of the ball, defense or special team,” Bruce Allen said after Mike Shanahan was fired on Monday. “There have been a couple special teams coaches who have made great head coaches.”

So into the debate over an offensive coach vs. a defensive guy jumps a third option. Allen interviewed current Cowboys and ex-Bucs and Chargers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia (pronounced Be-sach-ia) on Friday. This wasn’t a cursory interview for an old associate (the two worked together when Allen was the GM in Tampa Bay) or an attempt to pick the brain of a coach for a division rival. Bisaccia seems to be a legitimate candidate for the job.

Here are five quotes about Bisaccia:

1. "Oh, my goodness. You have to talk to the man,” said Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp. “You can see the passion and fire in him. He has the ability to touch the star player or the kid who has no shot. The man is special. I love Rich.''

2. “He's full of energy, and he's genuine,” said Bucs safety John Lynch. “And he can tell some great stories.”

3. “He’s one of these guys who just has an infectious personality, and I think that’s a really important trait for all coaches,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “The players play as hard for him as I’ve ever seen any players play for any coach.”

4. “I would say to sum him up, he’s a guy that you would go to war for,” said Chargers linebacker and special teams ace Bront Bird. “He’s a true leader of men. His intensity, passion and most of all knowledge of the craft brings out the very best of his players.”

5. "He's an excellent coach,'' said Jon Gruden, Bisaccia's boss for eight seasons while with the Bucs. "He's as versatile a coach as I've been around. He could coach any position. I strongly considered making him our defensive line coach when Rod Marinelli left town. I let him coach running backs, and he did an outstanding job.”

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Timeline

—On this date in 1983, Mark Moseley was named the NFL MVP for the 1982 season. He is the only kicker to receive the award.

—Days until: NFL free agency 66; 2014 NFL Draft 124; 2014 Opening Sunday 246

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Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.

Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.

The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.

The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.

Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.

The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.  

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

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