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Skins’ shunning of free agents goes against their nature

Skins’ shunning of free agents goes against their nature

The Washington Redskins have slammed the "Closed" sign down in front of the bank teller window. They've shut down the ATM. The capologists and other bean counters in Ashburn can take the rest of the week off.

The Redskins are done looking for free agents.

From Redskins.com:

"If something comes up [in free agency], we'll run it down," head coach Jim Zorn said on Tuesday. "There isn't anyone that I'm hot after. There's nothing on the hot list."

No hot list? After zero signings of any other team's free agents? After having only one visit, that from wide receiver D. J. Hackett, and offering him a lowball deal?

That seems to go against nature. It's like a dog is standing by the side of the road as car after car drives by. The dog only chases one of them and even then it makes only a few, halfhearted steps in the direction of a slightly damaged sedan. The gleaming sports cars and loaded Hummers that used to set off furious chases pass by without so much as a bark.

The Redskins' active stance in free agency didn't start when Joe Gibbs came to town. In fact, it didn't start when Daniel Snyder bought the team. In the beginning of modern free agency in 1993, the class included wide receiver Tim McGee, linebacker Rick Graf, and defensive tackle Al Noga.

In fact, it goes back even further than that. The Redskins were one of the few teams that signed free agents before '93.

In Plan B free agency, a system that allowed teams to protect most of their rosters but let a few free when their contracts expired, Washington acquired Super Bowl XXVI starting safeties Danny Copeland and Brad Edwards, among others.

Before that system started they gave up two first-round picks to sign linebacker Wilbur Marshall away from the Bears in 1988.

Going back further, they gave up multiple high draft picks as compensation for signing Dave Butz away from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975.

And, in 1976, there was a loophole in the rules that made it legal from free agents to sign with other teams with no compensation. There was a gentleman's agreement among the owners and general manager—something that would be called collusion today—to stay away from each other's free agents.

George Allen would have none of this gentleman's agreement stuff. He went out and signed Dallas tight end Jean Fugett, Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, and a running back from the Jets named John Riggins.

Although it took six years for the Redskins to figure out that Riggins was best utilized as a battering ram and not a blocking back or outside runner, he eventually was the difference in a Super Bowl winning team.

The Redskins have been trying to buy championships ever since, with results that never have been as successful.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

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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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.