Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 14, five days before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Today’s schedule: No media availability
—Redskins @ Saints (11/9) 5
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 9
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 16
Winning streaks elusive for the Redskins
The Redskins have a problem stringing wins together. And it’s going to be more than a month before we see if they can fix it.
Since Jay Gruden became head coach of the team in 2014, the Redskins have two winning streaks of four games. That’s fine, as far as it goes. But they have been unable to extend success beyond four games. They hit a brick wall and just can’t go any further.
But is that common? How hard is it for a NFL team to win five or more games in a row?
As it turns out, it’s not that hard. Since Gruden arrived in Washington, a winning streak of five games or longer has been accomplished 30 times during that three-and-a-half-year span (via Pro Football Reference), an average of about 11 times per season. A total of 24 different teams have winning streaks of five or more games.
As you might guess by looking at the fact that there are 24 teams with five-plus game winning streaks, a team can pull one off without being an NFL power. The Bengals, Lions, Texans, Dolphins, Vikings, and Bucs all have at least one such streak to their names.
And to be clear that I’m not necessarily blaming Gruden here, the inability to win five or more in a row goes back further than his tenure here. Since 2008, there have been 102 winning streaks of at least five games by 29 different teams. The Redskins own one of them, their 7-0 end to the 2012 season. So, absent magic from RG3 (and for a game and a drive, Kirk Cousins), the Redskins have not been very good at getting hot for coming up on a decade now.
What is the issue? Why can’t they sustain success? D.J. Swearinger was talking about just the game against the Vikings, a game in which they could have built a two-game winning streak, but the comments seem familiar from previous times the Redskins have failed to build on success.
“We relaxed as a defense, we didn’t pay attention to the details as we should,” he said. “I guess we got too high on ourselves . . . A lot of the first half, guys, they wasn’t playing the game mentally. We’ve got the play the game mentally first before we can go out there and make plays.”
I’m not sure why a 4-4 team that has lost two of its last three games should be high in itself but that’s what the man said.
Gruden didn’t have much in the way of a response when asked about this comment and some others by various players.
“For the most part, players have to get ready to play,” he said. “And I have to do a better job of getting them ready to play, and if they’re not ready, then that’s on me.”
Maybe it’s in the makeup of the team, although the personnel have turned over many times since 2008. Maybe it’s bad luck, although that should even out over the course of a decade.
But one thing for sure is the Redskins won’t get to be consistent contenders until they learn to get on a roll and stay on it. The win a couple, lose a couple pattern that they have had on display for most of the past couple of years won’t get them where they want to go.
Tandler on Twitter
It’s really discouraging that both the mildest of criticism of Kirk Cousins and the faintest of praise of him get such strong blowback from one camp or the other. It makes anything remotely resembling honest discussion impossible.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) November 13, 2017
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