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Skins-Cards prediction: It’s a matter of time

Skins-Cards prediction: It’s a matter of time

To me, the Washington Redskins-Arizona Cardinals game boils down to this: Can the Redskins slow down the Arizona triple threat of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin enough to be able to outscore the Cards?

Warner is off to a hot start, bringing back the echoes of 1999. If a team had just one receiver with the combination of size and speed that both Fitzgerald and Boldin bring to the field it would be something to worry about. The fact that both of them are on the field at the same time increases the difficulty exponentially.

The Cardinals' offense has been quite efficient since the trio started playing together. They have posted 20 points or more in their last 10 games and 30 or more in six of those. This year Arizona has scored 54 points in their 2-0 start.

That 2-0 start has come against two teams who were a combined 6-26 last year. While you only can beat who you've played, it is fair to say that the Cardinals haven't been tested this year.

The Redskins have been tested, facing the Super Bowl champs and a Saints team that is expected to contend for the playoffs. The results have been mixed.

The fact that Washington has faced tougher competition is one reason why I'm taking the Redskins in this tossup game. Another one is where the game is being played.

It's not so much that the Redskins get a tremendous home field advantage at FedEx Field. Wild enthusiasm is not always present and what sound is generated escapes into the atmosphere. It is the stadium's location in the Eastern time zone that favor's the Redskins.

The Cardinals have trouble playing on the East coast. Since 2001 they are 2-14 in games played the GMT -5 time zone. That's not a coincidence, that's a trend.

I also think that the Redskins will be able to limit the damage that Warner, Fitzgerald and Boldin inflict. Their trio of cornerbacks—Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot, and Carlos Rogers—are pretty good and add LaRon Landry into the mix and you'll have a pretty effective force that should contain the Arizona passing offense. Should Andre Carter and Jason Taylor start to get that bookend pass rushing thing going on, so much the better.

It would not shock me if Arizona won the game. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. But the time zone and the Washington DB's give a slight edge to the Redskins.

Redskins 24, Cardinals 21

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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. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

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.