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Need to Know: The key Redskins plays of 2017

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The key Redskins plays of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 1, 72 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Open locker room 10 a.m.

Days until:

—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 72
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 115
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9/18) 251

Monday six-pack—The Redskins’ key plays from 2017

Chris Thompson 61-yard TD run vs RamsThe run on a draw play put the Redskins ahead 20-10 in a Week 2 game that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but, as we know now, Sean McVay would have the Rams going places. The play also established Thompson as the Redskins’ main offensive threat, a weapon that helped them win games until he got injured later in the season. Thompson’s TD gave the Redskins enough of a lead to withstand a Rams rally in the second half. They won it on a late TD pass from Kirk Cousins to Ryan Grant.

Kirk Cousins pass in the end zone intended for Josh Doctson incompleteThe Redskins trailed the Chiefs by three late in the fourth quarter. On third and two at the Chiefs 22, Cousins went for the TD, throwing a pass that Doctson was able to high point in the end zone. But the ball came out when he hit the ground. He could have caught it for the go-ahead touchdown but whether he should have caught it is a matter of opinion. In any case, the Redskins had to settle for a tying field goal. The defense could not hold and the Chiefs won the game on a last-second field goal.

Carson Wentz scramble for 17 yards—Early in the fourth quarter on a Monday night in Philadelphia, the Redskins had rallied to pull within a touchdown. The Eagles faced third and eight and the Redskins appeared to bury the Eagles QB with a strong rush. But Wentz emerged from the pile and bolted for the first down. Philly drove in for a clinching touchdown and essentially knocked the Redskins out of contention for the NFC East title in Week 7.

Cousins 38 pass to Doctson in the fourth quarter vs. Seattle—It looked like the Redskins were going to lose another winnable game as the Seahawks had come back from a 10-2 fourth-quarter deficit to take a 14-10 lead. With time running out, Cousins went deep to Doctson, who made a spectacular, diving catch at the one-yard line. Rob Kelly took it in on the next play and after surviving a last-second Russell Wilson Hail Mary, the Redskins had an improbable win.

Samaje Perine runs for minus-1 yard on third and one vs. Saints—There were a lot of plays in this game that could have been the key play. And it’s probably not fair to put the critical failure on the offense when it was the defense that let Drew Brees and the Saints roll down the field three times to blow what was a 15-point lead with six minutes left. But had the Redskins been able to get a first down on third and one with 2:38 to play and the Saints out of timeouts, they would have been able to kill the clock and get out of the Superdome with an eight-point with. But the run off the right side was stuffed, the Redskins punted, and the rest is history.

Blaine Gabbert pass for Larry Fitzgerald incomplete—The Redskins were coming off of back-to-back ugly losses to the Cowboys and Chargers and while they seemed to be in control the whole game against the Cardinals, Arizona had a first down at the Redskins 21 with 37 seconds left. Piling a home loss to Cardinals led by the woeful Gabbert on top of the previous two losses may well have pushed the Redskins into an abyss that would have led to some job losses, if not a total house cleaning. There were some near-misses in the four passes that Gabbert threw, including the last one to Fitzgerald. But D.J. Swearinger was able to get enough of a few fingertips on the ball to knock it away and the Redskins escaped.

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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Update: The Giants ended up with 260 yards rushing. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.