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Need to Know: The Redskins can't get hot and stay hot

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Need to Know: The Redskins can't get hot and stay hot

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.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—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.   

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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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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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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