Here is where the Redskins stand at the end of the NFL regular season:
Record: 9-7, won NFC East title
vs. NFC East: 4-2
vs. NFC: 8-4
vs. AFC: 1-3
Key stats changes from 2014-2015
Rankings (through Sunday’s games)
Offense (yards/game): 353.8 (17th)
Defense (yards/game): 380.2 (28th)
Passer rating offense: 102.0 (3rd)
Opp passer rating: 96.1 (22nd)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.7 (29th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt: 4.8 (31st)
DVOA through Week 17 (Football Outsiders): -0.5% (15th)
Top three storylines:
On to the playoffs—The Redskins are going to try to get their first home playoff win since 1999 when they take on the Packers this Sunday. They are certainly a flawed team but they are on a roll and we will see if they can survive and advance starting a 4:40.
OL change on tap—It looks like Kory Lichtensteiger, who was just activated from the IR/return list, will start at center, sending Josh LeRibeus to the bench. The veteran has been very active around Redskins Park while on the shelf but he hasn’t played a full game since October 11. We will see if he can last 70 snaps.
Off year for elite QB—Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game but he isn’t having a great season. In fact, he is behind Kirk Cousins is almost every major statistical category. But even if Rodgers is not at the top of his game he has 12 games of playoff experience to draw on and if only because of him the Packers will be a tough out.
Sunday vs. Packers (10-6)—The Redskins are slight favorites over the Packers. If they are going to avoid the upset, Kirk Cousins is going to need to have a big game and the Redskins’ defense will have to keep a Green Bay offense that has been struggling (4 TD’s in last 3 games) from getting healthy at their expense.
If the Redskins win, their next opponent will be determined by the result of the other NFC wild card game. If the Vikings win, the Redskins would go to Carolina for the second time this year. Should the Seahawks prevail, a Redskins win would send them to Arizona for a Saturday night game.
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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