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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up the rest of the season

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up the rest of the season

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 10, five days before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.


Today’s schedule: Off day  

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 13
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 19
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 26

Five Redskins who must play better the rest of the season

QB Kirk Cousins—While he seems to be rounding into form, he needs to be a lot better if the Redskins are going to get on a roll. He hasn’t been doing  whole lot wrong but he has to do a lot more right, like get the team into the end zone at the end of the Chiefs and Eagles games, given his $24 million cap hit.

WR Terrelle Pryor—I don’t think that much explanation is needed here. He has had every chance—he has been targeted 24 times, nobody else on the team more than 19—but he still is inconsistent. It’s still early in the season but if the Redskins are going to get what they want from him and if he is going to get a star-level contract next year, things need to start clicking soon.

G Brandon Scherff—The third-year player hasn’t been bad, although his six QB hurries allowed are the most on the team. In fact, his run blocking has been solid. But Scherff needs to continue to improve on his Pro Bowl performance of last year. This isn’t just a matter of justifying being the fifth overall pick in the draft, although that is not inconsequential. He has the sixth highest cap hit on the team right now. After this year the team will have to decide if it wants to give him the fifth-year option, which would come at a price tag in the vicinity of $12 million for the 2019 season. Scherff needs to be very, very good to justify that.

OLB Junior Galette—Being on this list doesn’t necessarily mean that the player’s performance has been disappointing or has fallen below expectations. I think Galette’s slow start (0.5 sacks, 2 hits) was to be expected after missing two seasons. But over the next few games, the team needs for him to pick up the pace and regain at least some of the double-digit sack productivity he had his last two seasons with the Saints. Having a third pass rushing option beyond Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan would be a big boost to the defense.

CB Bashaud Breeland—Although he needs to play better, Breeland in particular hasn’t been a major problem. But the cornerbacks as a group have only one interception on the season, Kendall Fuller’s pick against the Raiders. They need more. Breeland needs to get two or three in the next 12 games and Josh Norman needs at least that many. The corners are too good to have one combined pick a quarter of the way through the season.

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

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In case you missed it

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and you will not have to wait long for pundits and fans alike to begin predicting team’s season-long win-loss record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing. Myself included. 

But don’t read much -- if anything -- into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)


Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

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 the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles


  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.