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Need to Know: Redskins are running more, gaining less

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Need to Know: Redskins are running more, gaining less

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 28, three days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.


Today’s schedule: Practice, 11:30; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Redskins @ Giants (12/31) 3
—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 76
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 119

Four Downs

1st—Have the Redskins underachieved this year? That’s very subjective but we can look in a couple of places to maybe get a standard. They will finish at 8-8 or 7-9, in the middle of the NFL pack. Football Outsiders has them about in the middle of the DVOA pack, ranked 13th overall. However, their cumulate grades in Pro Football Focus add up to minus-81.5, which is 26th in the league. So, from that way of looking at it, they overachieved.

2nd—With a game to go, the Redskins already have run the ball more often they did in 16 games last year. They have 385 rushing attempts this year and 379 all of last year. If they have 25 rushes on Sunday, a strong possibility in what could be cold and windy conditions at MetLife Stadium, they would have an 8.2 percent increase from last year. That’s not huge but it is significant. However, their rushing production will be down. They rushed for 1696 yards last year (4.5 yards per carry) and they have 1387 in 2017 (3.6 ypc). I think it’s reasonable to point to injuries along the O-line and at running back as the primary reasons for the decline.

3rd—Passing attempts will be way down. Kirk Cousins attempted 606 passes last year and he has 503 so far in 2017. If he throws 35 times against the Giants, pass attempts would drop 11.2 percent from 2016. That’s substantial. They were seventh in the league in pass attempts last year, they are 19th last year. Cousins averaged 8.0 yards per pass attempt in 2016 and 8.0 again so far this season.

4th—Cousins had what may end up being his last press conference at Redskins Park on Wednesday. He did not address questions about his future, saying that he will answer those during a Q&A with fans on Jan. 5. It’s hard to get a read on him regarding his next move. Of course, he’s not completely in control of that. His next move likely depends if the Redskins tag him again. Then it will depend on if it’s the transition tag, the franchise tag, or the exclusive franchise tag. My take on the situation is that he is open to leaving but he won’t jump into a situation that is worse than the one in Washington just because of money or just to make a change for the sake of change.

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.