Redskins

Quick Links

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

cousins_tackled_vs._min_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Though the Redskins sit just a game below .500, things are getting desperate if Washington wants to make the playoffs. Winning in New Orleans is hard, but it's a necessary evil for a Wild Card spot. 

The Saints have won seven straight. Seriously, the Saints are on a longer win-streak than the Redskins have wins. New Orleans hasn't lost since the Nats were still a viable option to win the 2017 World Series. 

It's no fluke either. For years now Drew Brees and the Saints offense has been productive, but this year, the New Orleans defense is more than capable. 

RELATED: FIVE REDSKINS UNDER PRESSURE AGAINST SAINTS

Winning on Sunday will be a tall order for the Redskins, but should they accomplish the task, here are three areas to watch:

  1. Wrong side - At 4-5, the Redskins are on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to the playoff picture. While in past years, some teams could sneak into the final Wild Card spot at nine wins, that does not appear to be the case in 2017. Six teams are ahead of the Redskins in the Wild Card chase, and all of those teams have at least five wins. Yes, Washington has an advantageous final six games of the schedule, but with a loss in New Orleans, getting to 10 wins would require the Redskins to run the table down the stretch. That leaves no margin for error for a team with a recent, and not so recent, history of inconsistent play. 
  2. Run for your life - The Saints have not one, but two running backs averaging more than 4.5 yards-per-carry. Mark Ingram is the bell cow for this team, and he has rushed for 614 yards in seven starts. Rookie Alvin Kamara has another 417 yards on the ground. The entire Redskins offense has rushed for 870 yards. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson after Week 4, New Orleans has not had less than 100 yards rushing. Last week in Buffalo, the Saints posted 298 yards on the ground. In their last four games, the Redskins have rushed for 256 yards. The Redskins defense has given up at least 100 yards on the ground in each of their last four games. 
  3. So you're saying... - There is a chance. Don't count out the Redskins yet. Remember, this team won games both in Seattle and in Los Angeles, against two of the best teams in the NFC. Further, the Saints have been committing plenty of turnovers, but largely, their opponents haven't made them pay. (Listen to Saints analyst Deuce McAllister in the video above). If the Redskins can run the ball at a decent rate, Kirk Cousins protects the ball and gets the offense into the end zone, Washington could pull off another road upset. Winning eight games in a row is very hard in the NFL.

Quote of the Week: "We know that we don’t have a lot of margin for error right now. We have to go in there and play our best football. Knowing we’ve won on the road is great. We’ve played well on the road, which is great, but going out and doing it again is a different story," Redskins coach Jay Gruden on the team's success away from FedEx Field this season.

 RELATED: WEEK 10 NFL POWER RANKINGS

News & Notes

  • Vernon Davis needs three TD catches to pass former Redskins great Jerry Smith for sixth on the list of career touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
  • Kirk Cousins ranks sixth among NFL quarterbacks with three rushing touchdowns. Cousins ranks 12th among QBs with 130 rush yards.
  • With 1.5 sacks, Ryan Kerrigan  will join join Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of a career since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.
  • The Redskins hold a 9-3 all-time record playing in the Superdome. 
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (96).
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (494).

Want more? Listen up

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Saints

swearinger_vs_min_ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Saints

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 17, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30 p.m.

Days until:

—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 7
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 14
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 24

Quick Redskins news hits

WR Terrelle Pryor missed practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. Jay Gruden said that he was getting an MRI done so he was not on the field doing rehab work. Pryor did not appear on the injury report on Wednesday.

5 Under pressure vs. Saints

QB Kirk Cousins—The theme among the offensive players is simple—the Redskins are going to have to put up at least 30 points to win. The Saints average 29.8 points per game so if the Redskins can hold them to a bit under that 30 points will do it. Since Cousins has been the starter the Redskins have put up 30 points without passing for at least 290 yards just twice. Cousins will need to be on point.

RB Samaje Perine—Welcome to the big time, kid. In his second NFL start and his first as “the guy” after Rob Kelley was put on injured reserve, he will need to be productive. The Saints’ main defensive weakness is stopping the run and if the Redskins are going to exploit it, Perine will have to get the job done.

WR Josh Doctson—He had his chances last week. A corner made a great play to break up a potential TD. The Turf Monster got him on another potential score. And a third touchdown chance turned to dust when Cousins overthrew him on a deep pattern. His chances may be limited but it’s hard to see the Redskins pulling out this game without a key catch or two from their most talented receiver.

ILB Martrell Spaight—Like Perine, Spaight has had a start or two under his belt but now he’s at the top of the depth chart for the rest of the season due to injuries. The Saints are a top-five rushing team and it will be up to Spaight and Zach Brown to make tackles close to the line

S D.J. Swearinger—He was all over the field for most of the second half on Sunday, picking off passes and providing support in the run game. He will have to do the same thing on Sunday. Swearinger will have to read what Drew Brees is doing when he throws the ball and get to the line in run support when the ball goes to Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara. He will have to play like he is in the box and like he is the last line of defense.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it