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Five takeaways from the Redskins' season-ending loss to New York

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' season-ending loss to New York

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ season-ending 18-10 loss to the Giants.

You have to show up ready to play—The Redskins trailed 12-0 before they knew what hit them. You would have thought it was New Year’s Day and the Redskins had done some excessive partying to ring in the new year. The Giants are one of the few teams that can say that they have been impacted by injuries at least as badly as have the Redskins. But they hit the Redskins early with a 75-yard touchdown run and an interception to set up another score. The visitors were in a battle they perhaps did not expect.

Kirk Cousins not sharp—If this is Cousins’ last game with the Redskins, he gave fodder to the portion of the fanbase that would like to let him go. He finished the game 20 of 37 for 158 with no TDs and three INTs.  His passer rating of 31.1 was his worst as a starter. When the Redskins had a good shot at getting into the red zone in the third quarter, he first threw too high for Josh Doctson and then he threw behind him on third down. Early in the fourth quarter, a downfield pass sailed way over the head of a wide-open Vernon Davis. It was cold but there weren’t many issues with the wind. He was rushed some but for the most part he had time to throw. Just not a good day at all.

MORE: TRACKING THE UPS AND DOWNS FROM THE LOSS AT METLIFE

Run over—It wasn’t a good day for the Redskins’ rushing defense either. In fact, it was by far their worst of the year. Prior to Sunday, they had given up no more than 182 rushing yards in a game. The Giants, who were ranked 29th in rushing yards coming into the game, rushed for 260. They were playing with a patchwork offensive line. A lot of the time, rushing defense is a matter of effort and technique. Orleans Darkwa and the other backs broke tackles and consistently got six yards where the blocking was for three. The defense did manage to hold the score down after the two early touchdowns but it wasn’t a stout effort by any means.

Rushing offense not there—Yes, Cousins had a bad day but it wasn’t like he had much of a rushing game to help him. The Redskins managed just 61 yards on the ground. Yes, Samaje Perine got injured in the early going and Kapri Bibbs had the play the rest of the way. Still, they should be able to muster a more credible ground threat against the No. 29 rushing team in the NFL. The poor performance on the ground was a continuation of a late-season trend. They rushed for over 100 yards just once in their last six games and they only made it to 102 in the one over the century mark.

Reality vs. expectations—The Redskins finish the season at 7-9. That is only slightly down from the win total expected by most in the local media. Most of us figured eight, maybe nine wins. And given the tough schedule and the incredible rash of injuries this year, it’s hard to see how the Redskins season could be considered a major disappointment in and of itself. But the lack of progress over the last few seasons is concerning. Records of 9-7, 8-7-1, and 7-9 don’t represent the upward track you’d like to see for a franchise that has had far more down years than up.

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

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 

Road

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs

Home

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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