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Redskins land quite low in PFT power rankings due to offseason departures

Redskins land quite low in PFT power rankings due to offseason departures

The Redskins competed for a Wild Card spot in 2016, narrowly missing out after blowing a great chance with a loss to the Giants in Week 17. In fact, the Redskins put up stinkers in their final two home games of 2016, a Monday night loss to the Panthers and the Giant loss. 

Still, despite the poor finish to 2016, many expect the Redskins to again compete for a wild card spot in 2017. Except Pro Football Talk. 

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

PFT ranked the Redskins 25th out of 32 NFL teams in his 2017 projections. The biggest reason why the Redskins landed near the bottom of the league comes from the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon:

Those changes could make life more difficult for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had another good season but remains without a long-term contract after getting a second straight franchise tag. That didn’t hurt him on the field last year and his focus should remain strong with the prospect of a big payday still on the horizon, but success will have to come with a different supporting cast this time around.

Yes, success will have to come from different folks, but the talent is there. Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder can produce at a high level, and 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson should emerge now that he's healthy. 

It's interesting that while the PFT ranking is quite low, most of the points about the 'Skins are actually positive, including a defense that should improve from a bad 2016 season. The biggest knock in the piece is on the abrupt yet slow ouster of Scot McCloughan. To anyone with a pulse that situation was handled poorly, yet, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that will make an impact on the field this season. 

Outside of the McCloughan firing and again being unable to sign Cousins long-term, it's been a strong offseason in Washington. PFT even said as much. 

"They won the division in 2015 and, as mentioned, weren’t far away from the playoffs last year so it doesn’t feel far-fetched that Washington could find themselves in the mix."

In the mix sounds about right for the Redskins fortunes this season. And in the mix doesn't sound like 25th in the league.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 19, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 13
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 24
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 40

Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

—Before the game, I confidently told someone on Twitter that Ryan Grant would get about as many targets (6) against the Rams as he did against the Eagles. But as it turned out, Grant was targeted just twice. The second time was on the game-winning touchdown in the last two minutes. A big difference between this week and last was that Kirk Cousins attempted just 27 passes against LA compared to 40 vs. the Eagles. That led to fewer opportunities for receivers and Grant was one of those who saw his chances drop the most.

—Cousins started well and finished strong but he didn’t do much in the middle. It seems that he was rolling along well until he misfired on a fade pattern to Josh Doctson and then on another throw to Chris Thompson. That ended a goal to go opportunity in a situation where a touchdown would have given the Redskins a commanding 17-0 lead. The next time the Redskins had the ball Cousins was sacked on his first passing attempt and he fumbled a snap a little later. In the third quarter and early in the fourth he completed some passes but many of them were for a minimal gain. To his credit, he didn’t panic and force a turnover. And, of course, he came through on the final drive, completing three of three passes for 42 yards including the 11-yard game winner to Grant.

—During the week leading up to the game, Jay Gruden emphasized the importance of getting to the quarterback. It didn’t play out as well as I’m sure Gruden would have liked. They got two sacks of Jared Goff, one by Preston Smith and one by Ryan Kerrigan, both in the Rams’ possession late in the first half. They pressured Goff on other occasions but overall their pass rush possibly was not as good as it was against the Eagles. Then, they at least got to Carson Wentz even though they had issues bringing him down. Too often, Goff had plenty of time to operate and that helped keep the Rams in the game until near the end.

—Chris Thompson has been the Redskins’ offensive MVP so far. He has improved each year and yesterday he was at his peak. What you really had to like on the 61-yard touchdown run on the draw play was his patience. He was almost standing still as he took the handoff from Cousins as he carried out the pass-blocking fake and chose his path for when he got the ball. He said that the play was designed for him to go one way but his read took him someplace else. It took him to the end zone for the second time that game.

—One surprise early in the game was that Montae Nicholson started at strong safety in place of DeShazor Everett. Nicholson made no glaring errors before he left the game with an AC joint sprain. The depth chart here apparently is set after the team announced that Su'a Cravens, the starter until he left the team to contemplate retirement, will not return this season. 

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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NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

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USA Today Sports

NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

The NFL season is already one-eighth of the way done. That's a bit sad, isn't it?

Playing two games in professional football is roughly equivalent to playing 10 in the NBA or 20 in MLB. That means two things: 1) The season flies by, and 2) Contenders begin proving themselves early.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

This year is no exception. So far, those trending toward the top of CSN's rankings have looked dominant, and figure to be in the hunt all season long. Those at the bottom, meanwhile? Hey, it's never too early to start doing some draft prep.

Wondering where your team is (and how far Dallas fell, because that's something everyone enjoys)? Check out the link above or below.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS