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Was the Season a Success?

Was the Season a Success?

Every season, there are 31 NFL teams—all but the one that hoists the Lombardi Trophy—that have to look back and try to figure out if their seasons were a success.

For some, such as the Saints and Bears, the answer is obviously no. Those two teams were in the NFC Championship Game last year and at a minimum expected to get close to playing in that game again. The Browns, on the other hand, won 10 games and although they missed out on a playoff spot on the basis of tiebreakers they clearly exceeded expectations.

How about the Redskins? How successful was their 2007 nine-win, one and done playoff season? It depends on which view you want to take:

From the start of the season—Yes, a playoff appearance would have been considered a major step forward. The team was coming off of a 5-11 season and they weren't competitive in many of their losses. The various "experts" in the media didn't think that they would do much better. I'd estimate that the average projection was five or six wins. The local media, who know the team better, had them pegged slightly higher, at seven or eight wins. The Redskins were starting the season with a defense that one of the worst in the league in 2006 and a quarterback in his first full year as a starter.

From after the 5-3 start—At that point, even though the Cowboys were rolling along so it appeared that a division title was a long shot, it appeared that the Skins were in the process of putting together a good season. Two of their three losses had come to top teams in Green Bay and New England and even the loss to the Giants didn't look to bad as they had gotten on a roll. The defense had turned things around and Sean Taylor was leading the NFL in interceptions. It appeared that a playoff run was distinct possibility for this team.

At 4:30 PM on December 2—At about this moment Joe Gibbs was taking responsibility for his team's loss to Buffalo. Whether or not the back to back timeouts cost the Redskins the game seemed to be irrelevant. The team's best player had just been murdered. In the next four days the Redskins faced going to his funeral and then another game in four days. Certainly the slim playoff hopes would be gone in five days. Everyone in the organization would have taken a one and done at that point.

After beating Minnesota to take control of their playoff destiny—At that point, the Cowboys looked vulnerable, the Redskins had overcome the odds, and a trip to Arizona, while still a longshot, certainly was a tantalizing possibility. Certainly, the Redskins would be playing past the first week of January.

You can go further back. A sixth seed and first-round loss in year four of Gibbs II isn't what we expected after Gibbs was hired or after the 2005 season unless it had something to do with a Super Bowl hangover.

I think that the best spot to judge it on is from the perspective of the start of the season. If you'd have said that the right side of the O-line would be gone by halftime of the second game, that two defensive starters would be gone for the season with injuries and that a third, the team's best player, would be shot dead, that the team would blow a number of second-half leads and that the Redskins would be counting on Todd Collins in a string of can't-lose situations, most would have said that a winning record and a playoff spot would be the best that they could hope for.

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Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

We’re a day away from the start of the NFL draft and all the questions surrounding the Redskins’ intentions will start to get answered when they go on the clock at about 10 p.m. on Thursday.

[More Redskins: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Speaking at the team’s annual pre-draft news conference, Scott Campbell, the team’s director of college scouting, stuck with the company line when he was asked about making picks based on team needs.

“I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said. “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.”

It would be a big “bonus” for the Redskins if a defensive lineman who can rush the passer and stuff the run was the best player on the board when their first-round pick comes up at No. 17. But it doesn’t look like the board will play out that way. That’s OK because the Redskins have plenty of needs.

In fact, it’s not hard to do a mock draft for the Redskins because they have needs at virtually every position. Certainly, some needs are more urgent than others. But once you get past the first couple of rounds there is enough doubt at each position, whether it’s immediate depth or possible free agency holes in 2018, to get that need “bonus” with every pick.

Campbell said that this is a strong defensive draft and this is reflected in these mock selections, with six of the 10 picks going to defense including the top two. The first offensive pick may surprise some but the talent was just too good at that point in the draft.

Go here to see the full seven-round mock draft.

Your comments are welcome, as always. Make them here in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and Facebook.  

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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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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