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Quick Take on 2005 Schedule

Quick Take on 2005 Schedule

Week 1 vs. Chicago

There were suggestions that it would be appropriate for New York to play Washington to open the season on September 11, but the NFL chose to pit the Skins against da Bears. A rematch of one of 2004’s most forgettable games, one that featured Mark Brunell and Chicago’s Jonathan Quinn combined to go 18 for 44 passing for 160 yards (3.6 yards per pass). Neither QB should be in the lineup for the opener.

Week 2 Monday night at Dallas

A major confluence of jinxes here with Washington having problems with Dallas in general , Parcells having it over Gibbs (eight straight), Gibbs’ mediocrity on Monday night (9-15). The Redskins haven’t won in Dallas since Heath Shuler led them to a 24-17 win there in 1995.

Week 3 Bye

Bye should be favored by a field goal. Sorry, an old one there. Pretty early for a bye, not many bumps and bruises to heal or regrouping to do. The schedule makers have been pretty good about having it more towards the middle of the year in the past, so they were due to get the early on.

Week 4 vs. Seattle

Since about 2000, the Seahawks have supposedly been the NFL’s up and coming team. If they are 1-2 coming in to this one, the deathwatch could already for Mike Holmgren’s coaching tenure.

Week 5 at Denver

Portis vs. Bailey. Of course, it won’t come to an individual matchup between the two, but that’s what will be talked about endlessly prior to the game.

Week 6 at Kansas City

The second of tough back-to-back road games against the AFC West. The Redskins have never won in KC and they haven’t even come close since 1971.

Week 7 vs. San Francisco

If the Niners do draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, this could be either Aaron Rodgers’ or Alex Smith’s first NFL start. San Francisco will be coming off of their bye week and assuming that Tim Rattay isn’t getting it done through the first five weeks, this would be a good time to make the switch.

Week 8 at NY Giants

Washington’s season took a decided turn for the worse at the Meadowlands in Week 2 last year. Patrick Ramsey threw three picks after coming in for an injured Mark Brunell.

Week 9 Sunday night vs. Philadelphia

The last three Eagle games at FedEx have been prime-time affairs. The first two were Eagle blowouts by a combined 68-14. Last year the Redskins had a chance to take the lead late, but Ramsey threw an interception and Philly was able to hang on.

Week 10 at Tampa Bay

Gibbs and Bucs coach John Gruden both have Super Bowl rings and both have tough roads to hoe to get another one. Which son of a quarterback will be calling the signals for Tampa Bay—Brian Griese or Chris Simms?

Week 11 vs. Oakland

This is the first of two straight home games against head coaches fired by Dan Snyder. Norv Turner returns and there’s no doubt that the Raiders will play awfully well, at least according to Norv.

Week 12 vs. San Diego

Following the Norv Bowl is the Marty Bowl. Perhaps if he’d abandoned his ultra-conservative style sooner he would still be coaching the Skins. The only Redskins team ever to lose to the Chargers was coached by Marty Schottenheimer.

Week 13 at St. Louis

In 2000 Norv Turner’s Redskins went into the house of the defending Super Bowl champion Rams and came out with a 33-20 win to raise their record to 7-4. They lost the next four in a row, costing them the playoff spot that seemed certain and costing Turner his job.

Week 14 at Arizona

Dennis Green’s team is aiming for the division title. Of course, in the NFC West that means a .500 record.

Week 15 vs. Dallas

This is the first of three straight division games to close out the season. If the Redskins are going to make the playoffs, or even have a respectable season, they will have to win this one.

Week 16 vs. NY Giants

It was against the Giants at FedEx that Ramsey got his first win as a starter under Gibbs last year.

Week 17 at Philadelphia

Perhaps the Eagles will have clinched everything that they can clinch and the Skins will be playing against Koy Detmer instead of Donovan McNabb.

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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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