Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 16 of the NFL season.
Record: 7-7, 1st in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 6-4
vs. AFC: 1-3
Key stats changes from 2014-2015
Rankings (through Sunday’s games)
Offense (yards/game): 343.3 (22nd)
Defense (yards/game): 370.0 (25th)
Passer rating offense: 97.0 (8th)
Opp passer rating: 96.2 (21st)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.7 (29th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt: 4.9 (21st)
DVOA through Week 15 (Football Outsiders): -3.0% (15th)
Top three storylines:
The magic number is one—The Redskins are one win away from a playoff appearance that nobody predicted back at the beginning of the season when many had them ranked anywhere from 30th to 32nd in their power rankings, picking first in the 2015 draft, and looking for a new coach and quarterback by now. Regardless, any combination of Redskins wins and Eagles losses totaling one will clinch the division for the Redskins.
You like that!—They appear to have found their quarterback, at least for the next year or two. Kirk Cousins has done what you want an inexperienced quarterback to do, get better as the year goes on. He has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the game since Week 7, completing 77 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions and a passer rating of 115.0.
Jackson heating up—It is no coincidence that Cousins’ production started to ramp up when DeSean Jackson got back in the lineup after missing six games with a hamstring injury. He picked a good time to have his best game of the season against the Bills. If he can keep it up the Redskins could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.
Last two (regular season) games
Saturday @ Eagles (6-8)—The only thing this game means is everything. The Redskins take the NFC East with a win. They are still alive if they don’t but this is last call to get in through the front door without any help.
January 3 @ Cowboys (4-10)—This game could be critical for the Redskins or it could be the January equivalent of a meaningless preseason game. We know it won’t mean anything for the Cowboys.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 21, 96 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL franchise tag deadline 39
—NFL free agency starts 47
—First Sunday of 2017 season 232
The Redskins week that was
A look back at the week with some of the top posts on RealRedskins.com and on CSNmidatlantic.com.
An early look at 1st-round draft possibilities for the Redskins—This post marked 100 days until the draft and now were a few days closer. It’s very early but the preliminary big boards make it look like the Redskins are likely to have a defensive lineman such as Solomon Thomas of Stanford or Mailk McDowell of Michigan State wind up as the best available player so that both the fans a Scot McCloughan can be happy.
Cap room a dilemma for Redskins McCloughan?—There is plenty of talk about how expensive Kirk Cousins’ contract or franchise tag will be and how the expense could affect the ability to spend in other positions. But the team has $62 million in cap space. If they don’t spend a good chunk of it on Cousins what will they do with it? They could bring back Pierre Garçon, Chris Baker and make new deals for eligible 2014 draft picks like Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses and still have a lot left over. If they don’t spend it a quarterback, what will they do with it? I do know that if they have, say, $20 million in cap space left and they are around .500 again, the fans and media will not be happy.
Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense—The changes on this side of the ball will feel more like reloading than rebuilding. I’m assuming Cousins will be back one way (long-term deal) or another (tag). At least four out of the five O-linemen are set and the tight ends will get set if McCloughan can lure Vernon Davis back. We’ll see if the running back corps gets shaken up in the draft or in free agency. The one area that could be wide open is receiver and even that could remain relatively stable if Garçon returns.
3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend—I think fans generally have become much more apathetic about Pro Bowl selections compared to, say, seven or eight years ago. Playing in the exhibition game is an “honor” that so many choose not to accept or, as was the case with Brandon Scherff, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jordan Reed, they are too injured after a 16-game season to take part. Meanwhile, alternates Cousins, Josh Norman, and Jamison Crowder (as a kick returner) have not yet heard their phones ring. Why does the NFL even bother with the Pro Bowl? People still watch it. Ratings for the last edition (4.5) were about a point lower than the MLB All-Star game (5.4) and a tick above the NBA All-Star game (4.3). Those are not huge ratings but big enough to turn a profit.
The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins—I think that the first offer that both sides make here is going to be critical. If the Redskins lowball Cousins again it will set a bad tone. If Cousins’ offer is too high the Redskins could think that Cousins is determined to leave. And both sides need to be willing to negotiate. If any of that took place last year there was very little. With no give and take the talks will go nowhere.
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In case you missed it
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Well it looks like the name many considered to be the Redskins top choice at defensive coordinator is off the market. Adam Schefter broke the news of Gus Bradley to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Redskins interviewed Bradley early in their process of selecting a new defensive coordinator. His latest gig ended poorly after he was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Bradley's best success came as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks.
When he served in that role with Seattle, Bradley worked with Scot McCloughan. And prior to his coaching stint in Seattle, Bradley coached in Tampa, where he worked with both Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden.
Those connections, and his success in Seattle, had many fans hoping Bradley would take over for Joe Barry, who Washington dismissed more than two weeks ago.
The connection between Bradley and the Chargers comes as no surprise, and it leaves Washington still in need of a defensive boss.
Mike Pettine probably jumps to the top of the ranks of other coaches the Redskins have interviewed, but it still seems internal candidate Greg Manusky could be in position to move up to coordinator. Manusky spent the 2016 season as outside linebackers coach and has prior coordinator experience.
The Skins have also interviewed Dennis Thurman, last of Buffalo, Jason Tarver, last of San Francisco, Rob Ryan, also last in Buffalo, and John Pagano, last with the Chargers.
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