Quick Links

Quick Thrill or the Start of Something Big?

280000.jpg

Quick Thrill or the Start of Something Big?

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Actually, it looks better when it's served over Tuna:

Right now, still in the glow of spending three hours plus
of being the Dallas Cowboys' daddy, it is a great win. And there is not a chance
it will ever be anything less than that. It was the Cowboys, it was Parcells, it
was for playoff life, it was at FedEx. That will never change.

As is almost always the case, however, we will need some
perspective to see just how this one stacks up in Redskins history against other
big regular-season games. Should the Redskins go to the playoffs, the game's
importance will be magnified. If they advance, it will get bigger. If the
Redskins use a playoff run this year as a springboard to elite status in the
NFL, it will become one of those legendary games that everyone remembers and
something like a quarter of a million people will eventually swear they saw in
person.

The Coverage

One of the best parts of a game like this one is reading
the morning papers and the glowing coverage of the local writers. Truth be told,
many of them are lifelong Redskins fans (I won’t name names). But, to a man
they would rather cover a winning team than a losing one and they’d rather be
covering playoff games than starting to write about offseason moves while the
college bowl season is barely underway.

What can be more fun, though, is to read the perspective
from the other side. Nobody can quite kick the Dallas Cowboys when they are down
than the writers and columnists who know them the best. Here are a couple of fun
ones I came across. First, from Jim Reeves of the Ft.
Worth Star-Telegram:

Considering what was at stake, it has to be the most devastating Cowboys' defeat of the
Parcells' era. After he spent last week telling us how much he liked these
players, they flat quit on him Sunday.

They soiled their britches

It is fair to wonder whether such a dismal failure in such a huge game will
eventually influence Parcells' decision to keep coaching beyond this season.

After what we saw Sunday, [the playoffs] might be little more than a pipe dream. A
Michael Irvin under-the-car-seat pipe dream.

The offensive line should have swapped uniforms with the Redskins cheerleaders.
When Torrin Tucker and company weren't being flagged for false starts and
holding, they were waving pompoms at the Redskins' defenders as they rushed by.

And from Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News:

Parcells likes his team less today, because the Cowboys quit on him in a rivalry
showdown. When Terry Glenn wasn't pulling back on a crossing pattern (who
wants to get hit?), then Terence Newman was ducking on a tackle that resulted
in yet another Redskins touchdown (who wants to hit?).

The punter shanked, the field-goal kicker missed and nearly everyone on the
offensive line jumped once. Asked about the false starts afterward, Parcells
shrugged and said, "Hey, it's always the same guys."

Centers, guards, tackles. Those same guys.

Parcells glared so much at the offenders that there was concern his face would freeze
that way. And then there was the reigning NFC offensive player of the week:
Had Drew Bledsoe held the ball a little longer, Fox would have had to cut away
for commercial breaks.

That "thump-thump" you just heard was the sound of Cowboys getting thrown under the
bus.

It was not quite so enjoyable watching the highlights on ESPN. I'm

not as big a critic of the self-proclaimed "World Wide Leader" as some
are, but their coverage of the Redskins last night bordered on pathetic. On
"NFL Prime Time", Chris Berman and Tom Jackson were clearly stunned by
the Dallas loss. They said that the Redskins' ground-based game plan was
"Parcells-like".

Uh, excuse me guys, but Joe Gibbs won a Super Bowl with a ground-based
offense before Bill Parcells ever became an NFL coach. It was Gibbs being
"Gibbs-like".

And then on the Sports Center following the Sunday night game, the two
anchors brought it to an even lower level. As the shot of the Redskins' #53
intercepting a pass and returning it to set up a touchdown filled the screen,
the announcer said, "And then Marcus Williams picks off Bledsoe. .
."

It's not as though Marcus Washington is Warrick Holdman or another anonymous
player. He went to the Pro Bowl last year and he's probably going back again.
This past week he was named the Redskins Player of the Year by the Quarterback
Club. If you pay any attention at all to the Redskins, you know who he is.

But the "World Wide Leader" evidently doesn't pay much attention to
them. After showing the highlights and Bill Parcells' comments they showed the
Wild Card standings with the Redskins "out of nowhere" leading for the
second spot.

No, they didn't come out of nowhere. They have been steadily rising over the
past three weeks. They do have a Hall of Fame coach whose teams rallied to
playoffs spots in the past. They have a few pretty good football players. If you
want to remain the "World Wide Leader" you might want to start paying
some attention.

The Playoff Picture

One route to the playoffs is simple--win and in. If the Redskins win their
remaining two games against the Giants and Eagles, they are in the playoffs.
Should New York win its final game of the season against the Raiders in Oakland,
the Redskins would be a Wild Card. If the Giants lose, they will be the NFC East
champs.

There is still the outside possibility of the Redskins getting a first-round
bye (as first talked about
here
last week) if they win the division. If the Panthers (Dallas, at
Atlanta) and Bears (at Green Bay, at Minnestoa) lose out but still manage to win
their divisions at 10-6 Redskins division winner would be the #2 seed behind
Seattle and they would be off the first week of the playoffs. The would also get
the second seed if the Bucs and Bears win their divisions at 10-6. The Redskins'
conference record, which would be 10-2, would be the key tiebreaker.

It's also possible that the Redskins could split their next two games--it
wouldn't matter which one the won and which one they lost--and still get in at
9-7. It would just take Dallas (at Carolina, St. Louis) and Atlanta (at Tampa
Bay, Carolina) and Minnesota (at Baltimore, Chicago) to lose one more
game.

That playoff berth could be like the present that is kind of behind the
Christmas tree and you don't find it until that night. The Redskins, Cowboys,
and Falcons all play on Saturday and, if things set up right, the Redskins could
clinch on Christmas night if the Ravens beat the Vikings.

Quick Links

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

Quick Links

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back