Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at <a href="
Art Monk, Russ Grimm, and Joe Jacoby have made the first cut on the way to the Hall of Fame. The three Gibbs-era stars are on the list of 25 semi-finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. From the Hall of Fame's website and press release
Modern-Era Semi-Finalists for the Class of 2005 - Pro Football Hall of Fame: "The list of 25 semi-finalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will then increase to 15 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Senior Committee. This year's Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are two of pro football's early pioneers - Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The list of 15 finalists for the Class of 2005 will be announced in mid-January."
The exclusion of Monk, now in his fourth year of elegibility, from the Hall has been a particular sore spot for most Redskins fans. Simply put, it's difficult to explain how the man who once held the NFL records for receptions in a season and receptions in a career can be left out.
This is just my speculation, but there may be a political dynamic in play this year that will help Monk get in. Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, known as "Dr. Z" has made no secret of the fact that he has opposed Monk's entry for a laundry list of reasons. After the selection process last year, Zimmerman resigned from the Veteran's Committee, which picks two nominees from the 1970's and earlier. In doing so, he loudly criticized those on the main selection panel for not enshrining his nominee.
That's not likely to sit well with the panel. They're not likely to be very responsive to the arguements of the the man who threw them under the bus last year, who basically said that they didn't know what they were doing. Perhaps that will give Monk the edge he needs.
It's a shame that you have to discuss the political machinations of the committee instead of Monk's merits in weighing his chances of getting in, but that's what it's come down to. His exclusion clearly isn't on merits, so it must be due to something else.
I don't want to give Grimm and Jacoby the short shrift here and the cases for them will be detailed in this space in the future. Grimm, I think, has an outside shot. Jake is a longer shot. Both are deserving and both should make it eventually although Jacoby likely will have to go via the Veteran's Committee in a decade or so.
In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.
Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.
The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.
The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.
Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.
The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.
The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:
- The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
- It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
- Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous.
- While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.
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