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Skins Seahawks Stuck on Stupid

Skins Seahawks Stuck on Stupid

Skins, Seahawks Stuck on Stupid

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net
 
When one thinks of similar NFL teams, one rarely thinks of the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks. One is East Coast smash-mouth, the other is West Coast, well, West Coast. For most of the past 30 years Seattle was AFC indoors on turf in the slick, new Kingdome, Washington was NFC, outside on grass and mud in ancient and rickety RFK Stadium.
 
In the past five years, however, the teams have grown more and more similar. Seattle moved to the NFC. They both now play on grass in new stadiums that are named for companies (Qwest and FedEx) that did not exist when the Seahawks were formed in 1976. They both have deep-pockets owners who seem to be willing to do anything to win. And they both, by vastly different methods, are stuck on stupid.
 
Since 2000 the Seahawks have had one coach, Mike Holmgren. The following year, Homgren inserted quarterback Mike Hasselbeck, running back Shaun Alexander and wide receiver Darrell Jackson into the regular lineup and since then that trio as started the lion’s share of games at their respective positions. They have built their roster largely thorough the draft. The result of such stability at key positions has been staggering mediocrity. Since 2000 they are 43-40 with an 0-2 playoff record.
 
At least they have a winning record. The Redskins have been worse by about a game and a half a year, going 36-46 with nary a whiff of the playoffs. Since 2000 they have been through four head coaches (no, Robiskie doesn’t count), seven different starting quarterbacks (with numerous shuffles among them), three primary running backs and four primary wide receivers. They have gone after free agents and they have made some major trades
 
To be sure, the Seahawks have taken a flyer in free agency from time to time with players such as defensive end Grant Wistrom. Hasselbeck came in a trade, albeit one that wasn’t noticed much at the time. And Washington has had some draftees such as Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels around since the turn of the century.
 
Two different paths, one result where most NFL teams measure success—not a single playoff win. What we have is one extreme, excessive stability and another, excessive instability. Neither has worked out very well.
 
Looking at the coaches, perhaps Seattle should have taken a closer look at Holmgrem’s Super Bowl ring and seen Bret Favre smiling back at them in one of the stones and let the coach go. A change of direction at the top might have gotten this talented team deep into the playoffs. Had the Redskins stuck with Marty Schottenheimer, they may have a few playoff appearances under their belts. Maybe Spurrier would have figured the pro game out by now. Maybe Norv would have. . .uh, nope, forget it, and the one about the Ballcoach as well. But Marty may have gotten it done.
 
At the running back spot, Washington had a choice to make a few years ago—either take a huge cap hit to keep Stephen Davis, one of the best running backs in the game, or let him go. They chose to let him go figuring, perhaps, what’s one more change in a sea of them.  This year, Seattle chose to take a big cap hit to keep Alexander, one of the best backs in the game, rather than let him go. Their knee jerk reaction towards stability dictated that they keep him. Through three games it seems like that was a good move. We’ll see in another 13 games and next offseason, when Alexander will be an unrestricted free agent, how such a commitment to stability works out in the long term.
 
The turmoil has continued for the Redskins even after the hiring of Joe Gibbs, who will coach this team for as long as he wants to, with the team firing both of its 2004 starting wide receivers and making a quarterback change 18 minutes into the season.
 
On Sunday, this clash of the wannabe titans will take place. Continuity vs. chaos, order vs. turmoil.
 
Dumb vs. dumber. We’ll see which is which

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Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.

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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 10, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 14; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 22

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Around Redskins Park

The Redskins have four games remaining on their schedule. Three wins would give them a record of 9-6-1 and a very good shot at the playoffs. Four will almost certainly get them a ticket to keep playing; two wins or fewer will have them needing a whole lot of help to make the postseason

Let’s take a look at the Redskins’ remaining four opponents and revisit the confidence level on the Redskins’ chances of beating each one of them. (I first did this exercise a few weeks ago).

@Eagles, 5-7, weighted DVOA via Football Outsiders, 15.3% (ranked 5th)
The Eagles looked like playoff contenders for about half of the season but they have taken a tumble back to earth, losing five of their last six. Right now the Redskins are the better team, although their long injury list is an area for concern. The Eagles appear to be in some degree of disarray after their coach accused some unnamed players of giving less than full effort. Confidence that the Redskins will win: High

Panthers, 4-8, DVOA -7.5% (25th)
They won’t be able to defend their NFC championship much longer. By the time this game comes around they could be either eliminated or on the verge of being mathematically out of the playoffs. Their problems are numerous including big issues at cornerback (too bad they didn’t have a guy who could have helped franchise tagged) and an offensive line that has been injury-wracked all year. Still, Cam Newton is a scary quarterback and he still has tight end Greg Olsen and receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. If the Redskins get into a shootout they could be in trouble. Confidence: Moderately high

@Bears, 3-9, DVOA -3.0%, (24th)
Matt Barkley is the Bears’ third starting QB this season and in most statistical categories he’s the worst of the three. The Bears have been hit by injuries as hard as any NFL team with multiple starters on injured reserve. They probably would have struggled even with those players healthy; without them they are one of the five worst teams in the NFL. The one thing to beware of is the late December weather in Chicago, which could randomize the outcome to an extent. Confidence: Very high

Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)
The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate

For comparison purposes, the 6-5-1 Redskins have a DVOA of 9.8% (10th)

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