The road ahead may be getting a little easier for the Redskins as they try to recover from their 1-4 start to the NFL season.
Their first five opponents have a cumulative record of 13-11. Their losses have come at the hands of teams that have a combined 13-7 record. They haven’t lost to a team with a losing record and every team they’ve lost to is at least tied for the lead in its division.
Per the folks at Football Outsiders, the Redskins have faced the 20th hardest schedule in the NFL as ranked by the DVOA of their opponents. That average includes the Jaguars, who have by far the worst DVOA in the NFL. If the Redskins had taken a bye instead of playing Jacksonville their schedule would rank as the fourth toughest in the league.
But FO brings good news in terms of the team’s remaining 11 games. Only one other team, the Titans, has an easier remaining schedule than Washington.
There are several games in which the Redskins should be solid favorites. In two weeks they host the 1-4 Titans. Two other future visitors to FedEx Field, the Rams and Bucs, also are sitting with one win. They also have a road game with the Vikings, who are 2-3.
A few games against teams with winning records don’t seem as tough as they might. This Sunday’s opponents, the 3-1 Cardinals, have faced the second-toughest schedule in the NFL but they are having some serious issues at quarterback, among some other injury problems. The Cowboys, who the Redskins face home and home over the rest of the season, are 4-1 but FO tells us that only three teams have faced easier schedules. Their only win against a team with a winning record came last week against the Texans.
The Redskins, of course, have plenty of problems of their own. Even if their remaining schedule could be considered relatively easy, there is no guarantee that they will be able to take advantage of it. And if they really want to make something of their season they are going to have to win a few games that they shouldn't win. But they should have some realistic opportunities to win a few games, which would put a lot of the current negative atmosphere surrounding the team to rest.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the 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.
Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.
Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.
Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.
Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.
Tweet of the week
Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.
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.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169
In case you missed it
Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.
Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.
A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.
The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her.
The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.
2018 NFL DRAFT: MOCK DRAFT 6.0
Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.
The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.
The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.
RELATED: NO DEAL WITH GALETTE