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Tuesday Take: The bad with the good

Tuesday Take: The bad with the good

The Washington Redskins enter the second half of the 2008 season with plenty of classic good news/bad news scenarios.

Good news: The Redskins are 6-2. No other NFC team has won more games; they are a half game out of the NFC East lead and a game up in the race for a Wild Card spot.

Bad news: They haven't played particularly well lately. Mistakes, including fumbles, at key times are stalling offensive drives. They lost to the then-winless Rams and struggled to beat Cleveland and Detroit.

Good news: Nobody seems to be satisfied with the performance of the team. There is not a Norv-like "what we do works" mindset at Redskins Park. After his defense held the opposition to 274 yards, including just 57 yards rushing, 13 first downs, and 17 points in a win, Greg Blache likened the performance of his unit to "the South end of a North-bound skunk". Jim Zorn said, "We have to play more sudden. We have to know our assignments and know the technique. . . Were almost getting there – we just need to fix those little things."

Bad news: The injury bug is biting this team hard. Five starters—Chris Samuels, Cornelius Griffin, Jason Taylor, Shawn Springs, and Chris Horton—missed the Detroit game. Taylor and Springs already have been ruled out for Monday night's game and none of the other three is 100% certain to go against the Steelers. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss got dinged up later in the game and, at best, their practice time will be limited this week.

Good news: It could be a lot worse. These injuries are day to day, week to week issues. There hasn't been a season-ender or even a multi-week injury (typed with one hand while knocking on wood with the other). The bye week is coming after Monday and that's not a moment too soon.

Bad news: For the next four weeks, the schedule gets tougher than a three-dollar steak. There are contests against the two of the legitimate Super Bowl favorites in the Giants and Steelers. Another game is against the preseason favorites, the Dallas Cowboys, who will be coming off of a bye with Tony Romo back under center.

Good news: All three of those games are at home. On top of that there is the aforementioned bye coming in between the Steelers and Cowboys so Dallas has no advantage in terms of being rested.

Bad news: The Redskins will pay for all of that November home cooking by hitting the road for three of their four December games.

Good news: Two of those games are against teams that are flat-out bad, the Bengals and 49ers, and the other is against the up-and-down Ravens. It's never easy to win on the road in the NFL but it's unlikely that the Redskins will be facing stadiums packed with amped-up fans in Cincy and Frisco.

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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

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

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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In case you missed it

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