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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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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

 

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

RICHMOND— The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to. The key points on offense were published earlier; here’s a look at the defense.

Rebuilding the line

In a way, the situation on the D-line is similar to the one at wide receiver in that free agency and a release has created some holes. Chris Baker, the team’s best defensive lineman last year, left for Tampa Bay as a free agent and Ricky Jean Francois, arguably the second-best DL last year, was cut.

This is not all bad news. The wide receivers were one of the strengths of the team. The D-line was one of the weak spots so perhaps doing some major renovating there is just what the unit needs.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

The big move was one they really hadn’t planned on. Defensive end Jonathan Allen was projected by many to be a top-10 draft pick. But he slipped right into the Redskins’ lap with the 17th pick. He gets to work on Thursday and the sooner he can get up to NFL speed the better. They also signed two free agents in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and they re-signed Ziggy Hood. As with Allen, their roles will be determined over the course of the next few weeks of practice and during the preseason games.

Nobody knows who is going to end up playing nose tackle. It could be McGee, Hood, former first-round pick Phil Taylor or one of the 2016 practice squad members, Joey Mbu or A. J. Francis. The fact that there is no obvious candidate is troubling and perhaps a sign that the line will show only marginal improvement this year.

Starters at ILB

The Redskins got an upgrade here late in free agency with the signing of Zach Brown, who was last seen playing in the Pro Bowl for the Bills. How he fits in with incumbent starters Will Compton and Mason Foster remains to be seen. All three are likely to earn substantial playing time and who plays in what situation will be sorted out here in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

Adjustments at safety

The Redskins could be set at safety for the next several seasons. Or they could be scrambling to make adjustments by midseason. Su’a Cravens moves to strong safety from outside linebacker. He may be a step slower than the ideal for his position and he needs to make up for it by being, as he likes to say, assignment perfect. The Redskins signed D. J. Swearinger, who has been a strong safety for most of his career, to play free safety.

When the dust settles, they could be the best safety tandem the Redskins have had in years. Or they could be showing the effects of trying to put square pegs into round holes.

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.