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State of the Redskins, Week 12: Home, (very) sweet home

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State of the Redskins, Week 12: Home, (very) sweet home

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 12 of the NFL season.

Record: 4-6, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 4-3
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 4-1
Away: 0-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 332.8 (28th)
Defense (yards/game): 370.1 (20th)
Passer rating offense:  89.6 (17th)
Opp passer rating: 100.1 (27th )
Yards/rush attempt: 3.9 (25th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.8 (30th)
Weighted DVOA through Week 11 (Football Outsiders): -6.0% (20th)

Top three storylines:

Home, (very) sweet home—The Redskins are still in the hunt for the NFC East title thanks to their ability to win at home. They are winless in five road games but 4-1 in the friendly confines of FedEx Field. The team will have to figure out a way to win away from home if they are going to make the playoffs but they don’t have to worry about that for a while since their next two games are at home. If they win both they will be no worse than tied for first place with a quarter of the season to go.

Ground game problem persist—The Redskins rushed for 14 yards against the Panthers and gave up 142 on the ground. NFL teams have done that 29 times since 1990 and they are 0-29. It’s apparent that the team won’t meet its stated offseason goal of being able to run at will and shut down the other team’s running game. But if they can show some improvement on both sides of the ball they will have a shot in these last six games.

In the playoff picture—They need to beat the Giants to have any realistic shot at the NFC East title, which is probably their only chance at playing more than 16 games. The scenarios are complex but the most promising path seems to be the Redskins winning their remaining three home games (Giants, Cowboys, Bills) and steal one on the road (Bears, Eagles, Cowboys) and come out ahead on tiebreakers. It’s drawing to an inside straight but it is possible.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Giants (5-5)—The Giants are just a bad matchup for the Redskins. New York has won six of the last seven games between the two teams and most of them haven’t been competitive. Home division games are always significant and this one is of elevated importance due to what’s at stake in the standings.

December 7 (Mon. night) vs. Cowboys (2-7)—With Tony Romo back, the Cowboys ended their seven-game losing streak by beating the Dolphins. But even with their QB back the Cowboys are a shadow of the team that rolled to a 12-4 record and were within a Dez Bryant dropped pass (and, yes, per the rules it was a drop) of the NFC title game.

December 13 @ Bears (4-6)—The Bears were in disarray early in the season and Jay Cutler was either the joke or the punch line. But coach John Fox righted the ship and they have gone 4-3 since their 0-3 start. Cutler has thrown just six interceptions after leading the league with 18 a year ago. A road game in the Windy City in December will be quite interesting.

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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