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Are the Redskins better off than one year ago?

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Are the Redskins better off than one year ago?

To paraphrase a question that is making the rounds in political circles these daysare the Redskins better off today than they were one year ago?Its easy to go overboard with the Redskins 40-32 win over the Saints in New Orleans. After all, you dont have to go back more than one year to find the Redskins with a big opening day win over a quality opponent. They created all sorts of buzz a year ago when they beat the Giants 28-14 in last years season opener. Players talked about there being a new attitude in the locker room, that things would be different in 2011.And the good feelings lasted a while as they moved to 2-0 and later to 3-1. But things came crashing down after that and they won just two of the their final 12 games.But at least right now, this one feels different. The main reason, of course, is the play of Robert Griffin III. It could be argued that he hadthe best debut any rookie quarterback has ever had.Rex Grossman had a pretty good day against the Giants, completing 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. But nobody walked away from that game thinking that a star was born and maybe the Redskins had their long-term solution at the most important position on the field.But there was more than that. An offensive line that was thought to be a weakness was very much a strength, as Griffin was sacked just once and the Redskins rushed for 153 yards.Against the Giants, Grossman was sacked four times and the Redskins rushed just 75 yards.Tim Hightower was the main runner against the Giants and he picked up 72 yards on 25 carries. At 2.9 yards a carry his performance was passable but not spectacular. Today Alfred Morris picked up 96 yards on 28 carries, a 3.7 average. Morris was not spectacular but he did become one of just five players to rush for at least 90 yards and score two or more touchdowns in his NFL debut. Advantage: MorrisA year ago against the Giants, the defense put up better numbers than they did yesterday. But, with all due respect to Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, and company, the Saints are a much better offense. And against New Orleans they came up big on a couple of occasions.Late in the third quarter the Saints were threatening to halve the Redskins lead. Trailing 30-14, Brees drove the Saints to a third and goal at the three. His pass to Darren Sproles was on the money but London Fletcher came up and knocked the ball loose.Then, the only time after the first quarter that the Saints had the ball with a chance to tie the game, their drive lasted just one play. DeJon Gomes, filling in at safety for the injured Brandon Meriweather, picked off Brees deep pass and returned it 49 yards to the three. One play later Morris put the game out of reach with a touchdown run.There were some down moments. Mike Shanahan may have been able to pull Griffin in the fourth quarter and let Kirk Cousins have some fun if not for a blocked punt late in the first half that turned a 20-7 laugher into a one-score game. Later in the game the prevent defense didnt prevent much of anything. And rookie safety Jordan Bernstine suffered a knee injury that might cost him the rest of the season.Despite that, the Redskins have plenty of reasons to feel good about themselves today and their fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.Should they feel better than they did a year ago? It seems that they should, but time will tell.

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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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.