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Where are we? The Redskins after 11 games

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Where are we? The Redskins after 11 games

Here is how the Redskins stand after 11 games:

Record: 5-6, second in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-1
vs. NFC: 5-4
Home: 2-3
Away: 3-3

Opposition cumulative record: 61-59-1 (.508 winning percentage)
Cumulative of teams beaten: 25-30 (.455)
Cumulative of teams lost to: 36-29-1 (.553)
Record of teams remaining on schedule: 29-31 (.491)

Offensive MVP (season to date) There he went again. Another big stage and another big game for Robert Griffin III. The rookie passed the Cowboys silly in the first half and then, after the Cowboys had made it a one-score game, drove the Redskins to a clinching field goal. Just another chapter in a remarkable rookie season.

Defensive MVP: London Fletcher is not going to play forever and Perry Riley is his heir apparent as the heart and soul of the defense. He plays sideline to sideline and he makes fewer and fewer mistakes every game. Riley is never going to be the vocal leader that Fletcher is and he may never be as good a player but right now he is the best player on the Redskins defense, play in, play out, and game in, game out.

Top three storylines:

A game out—Thanks to wins over the Eagles and Cowboys and a string of favorable results in other games it took just two games for the Redskins to go from “evaluation” mode into playoff contention. That is the nature of the NFL these days and the Redskins won’t apologize if they can take advantage of it.

Garçon is back—Many were wondering if it was a wise idea to active Pierre Garçon rather than just start his offseason early and let him rehab his ailing toe. He showed against Dallas that playing him was indeed the right move. If he can play at that level he will give RG3 a prime target and make him even more dangerous.

A tale of two halves—At halftime of the Thanksgiving game, the Redskins had given up just nine points in its last six quarters of play. Then they got rocked for 28 in the final 30 minutes in Dallas although one touchdown came after a short drive following Griffin’s interception. Will the

Next three games

Monday nigh vs. Giants (7-4, first in NFC East)—Their season was teetering on the brink going into their bye but they came out of it looking much better as they pounded the Packers.

Dec 9 vs. Ravens (9-2, first in AFC North)—They needed Ray Rice’s amazing fourth and 29 conversion to pull out a win over the struggling Chargers, showing once again that they are a very different team on the road.

Dec 16 @ Browns (3-8, fourth in AFC North)—The Steelers found out that the Browns can hang around a game and pull it out if you let them. The Redskins are unlikely to turn the ball over eight times like the Steelers did but they still need to avoid a potential trap. 

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Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 20, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 52 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 21
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 30
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 44

Answering Redskins fan questions

I also got virtually an identical question from Alan on Facebook so it leads here. Spencer Long is the starter, period, end of story. During the offseason, I asked both Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan about the backup center position. Both expressed hope that sixth-round pick Chase Roullier will be up to speed by the time the season starts. But if he’s not ready, I think they will have to find a veteran. Right now, the best available is Nick Mangold but I doubt he wants to sign up to be a backup. They will be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire for this year’s version of John Sullivan.

I assume you mean training camp. And I suppose you could say the same thing but insert Nate Sudfeld instead of McCoy. In either case, the answer is no. First of all, the team wants to win. They need to get Cousins, to whom they are paying $24 million, ready to play with the first offense. He’s not going to prepare by throwing to Ryan Grant and passing behind a line with Vinston Painter on his blind side. Second, it would be a great way to drive away the rest of the team. They want to win, too. There are about 15 key players who are free agents in 2018. If the Redskins want to retain the quality players in that group they need to try to win in 2017 and let 2018 sort itself out when it gets here. Now, if it’s December and they are 3-11 it’s a different story.

They rotated them around during the offseason program and, as expected, no coach would address who starters might be in May or June. I think the way that it will play out is that Zach Brown will start at Will linebacker and Will Compton will be the Mike. Mason Foster will come in for nickel situations, something he did well last year after Su’a Cravens was injured. Some fans want to see Foster start with Brown but the coaches like to Compton’s football IQ and he is the only one of the three who has experience called defenses. All three will see plenty of action. Really no idea of how they rank but if the D-line is better the group at ILB will be better.

I’ll play along here since John is a longtime Twitter friend. Let’s establish that neither is very likely to happen. Last I looked the Redskins were a 66-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. They might have a better shot than that but no better than about 50-1. The Rams, per Westgate Sporting Book, are 25-1 to win the NFC West. Seattle is the odds-on favorite in that division at 1-4 so they would have to have a down year for the Rams to win it. But I see that happening more easily than the Redskins making the playoffs (that’s very possible) and winning three or four more games on top of that. The Rams have a solid defense and if Jared Goff can generate enough of a threat to open up room for Todd Gurley they could win some games, maybe enough to steal a division title if Seattle has a down year. I just don’t think that the Redskins are there yet.

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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Pressure Points: It's a big year for Josh Doctson, and not exactly why you think

Pressure Points: It's a big year for Josh Doctson, and not exactly why you think

Josh Doctson needs a productive season, for himself and for the Redskins. Both parties grew frustrated during 2016 when Doctson played just two games as he battled an Achilles injury, and eventually when the first-round pick was put on the injured reserve list. 

2017 presents a host of new opportunities for Doctson. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are gone, which means there will be plenty of balls to catch if Doctson is up for the task. 

By all accounts he is ready. Doctson himself has said it, as has Washington head coach Jay Gruden. He missed a little bit of time during OTAs, but that had nothing to do with the Achilles troubles, the media was told. 

MORE REDSKINS: IS JONATHAN ALLEN THE NEXT AARON DONALD?

This fall, the Redskins have Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed to serve as Kirk Cousins' primary targets. Doctson should pick up targets after those three, and if defenses try to limit or slow the other weapons, Doctson could feast. 

One more interesting note, though, came in Cousins' conversation with 106.7 the Fan's Grant and Danny. Talking about why he didn't offer a long-term counter to the Redskins, Cousins explained he needed more time to evaluate the state of the Redskins. 

Some of that evaluation could be specific to Doctson. 

Think about it: Cousins excelled with Jackson and Garçon as his primary weapons. Last season, he almost threw for 5,000 yards, and those two wideouts accounted for more than 40 percent of that action. 

Cousins wants to be where he can succeed. Pryor will help, but he's on a one-year deal. If Cousins plans on sticking with the Redskins long-term, he needs to know he has the horses for the offense to produce. 

In Crowder and Reed, Cousins knows what he's got. A star tight end and a highly productive slot receiver, both with the team for at least two more years. Still, the Redskins offense needs a playmaker on the outside. Doctson is under team control at least through the 2019 season, and he's on a cheap, team-friendly rookie deal.

If Doctson proves he can be a No. 1 wideout this year, it could go a long way towards Cousins deciding to come back. Pressure is on. 

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