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Three names have been the buzz in the Redskins coaching search over the past couple of days. Earlier, I looked at Steve Mariucci. Now the focus turns to New York defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

When the Redskins announced that the selection of a new head coach would not take place until after the Super Bowl, Spagnuolo jumped from a guy who was mentioned as a long shot possibility to one who is up there with the leading contenders. In fact, I even added his name to my spell check dictionary (something I do selectively since I'm afraid that eventually every possible string of letters will find its way in there and it will become useless). Why wait until after the Super Bowl unless you want to want to talk to one of the Super Bowl coaches.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a very straight forward process. The team would interview the coach and, if so inclined, offer him the job. The prospective coach would look at the contract terms and the situation with the team and decide whether or not to take the job.

It's that "situation with the team" part that gets sticky for Dan Snyder and the Skins. Vinny Cerrato, he of the questionable credentials, is in charge of player personnel. If Spags can get around that, there is the fact that the Skins have already hired the offensive and defensive coordinators.

If it comes down to it, will Spagnuolo decide that he can work with Jim Zorn and Greg Blache? Zorn is a West Coast guy and Spagnuolo spent seven years with the Eagles prior to signing on with the Giants. That doesn't necessarily mean that Spagnuolo likes the WCO or the variety of it that Zorn might run. Perhaps it would be a good idea if they could sit down and talk about it, but Spagnuolo likely will have to make his call yes or no sight unseen. Blache would be less of a sticking point; he's an old pro and he could adapt to whatever Spags wanted to do.

Steve Spagnuolo has a chance of getting the job, but there are a lot of land mines to navigate between the here and now and him stepping to the podium at Redskins Park to be introduced as the team's next head coach. It will be difficult but possible.

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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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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 the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.

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