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Skins’ Fate in Their Hands

Skins’ Fate in Their Hands

It's win out and in for the Redskins.

If they beat Minnesota tonight and then beat the Cowboys next Sunday at RFK, the Redskins will be in the playoffs. They got the help they needed today when New Orleans lost to Philadelphia.

The Skins can only be the sixth seed as they can't finish with any better than nine wins. The Giants are in with 10. That means they qualify they will go on the road to face the number three seed, which it appears that Seattle is about to wrap up. If they should win that game, they would travel to Dallas.

The fact that the Redskins control their destiny is remarkable considering the adversity, some of it self-created, some of it just horrendous ill fortune, that they have encountered this year.

  • Losing RT Jon Jansen for the season in the first half of the first game.
  • Losing RG Randy Thomas for the season in the first half of the second game.
  • The stunning loss to the Giants, setting a pattern for blowing halftime leads. On top of this one was the failure to send it into overtime after getting a first and goal in the late going.
  • Another lost halftime lead in Green Bay when dropped passes cost the Skins dearly and the winning points were scored on a fumble returned for a touchdown.
  • A win over the Cardinals generated a firestorm of criticism for a nearly-blown lead and various game-management issues.
  • Cornerback Carlos Rogers is lost for the season while the Patriots are in the process of hanging half a hundred on the Skins.
  • The loss to the Eagles with virtually every move Gibbs and company made was put under the microscope and criticized.
  • Late Jason Campbell interceptions cost the Skins back to back games in Dallas and Tampa.
  • The murder of Sean Taylor would have been a crushing blow to the team had he been a little-used reserve player. The fact that he was the team's best player multiplied the effect exponentially.
  • Ironically, against Buffalo the Redskins didn't have a problem with burning too many timeouts. That gave Gibbs the opportunity to call back to back timeouts to try to ice the Buffalo kicker. The resulting unsportsmanlike conduct call turned a long game-winning attempt into a short one.
  • In wins over Chicago and the Giants, the Redskins lose Jason Campbell and Rocky McIntosh for the year although—and now it's not folly to say this—Campbell could be back for the playoffs.

So, like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail who fights on despite having limbs lopped off, the Redskins are pressing through the adversity.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!