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Dispatches from London - A day with Tottenham Hotspur in advance of Redskins arrival

Dispatches from London - A day with Tottenham Hotspur in advance of Redskins arrival

Dispatches from London - While Redskins Insider JP Finlay is in London covering the 'Skins game against the Bengals on Sunday, he will occassionally provide a first-person account of the sights and sounds from the British capital.

LONDON — The trip started in an Uber headed due north, as the Tottenham practice facility made for an hour long trip from central London. With the Redskins still in Ashburn, spending the day working on a TV story with Tottenham was not a bad way to do it.

For those uninformed, Tottenham Hotspur is one of the best soccer clubs in England, and in turn, the world.

After speaking with their press office last week, photographer Mitch Tischler and I headed to Enfield to watch their practice and talk with players.

The newly built facility was incredible; it looked like something out of Star Wars. Gleaming white stone and walls of glass. A sprawling campus with more soccer fields than I could count, the Spurs took the field and warmed up.

Much like watching NFL practice, we didn't get to watch much. Within about 15 minutes the PR staff escorted us off the field. From there, we waited about an hour and then walked to a side field.

Then we got hit with a pretty big surprise. Former NBA point guard and future Hall of Famer Steve Nash was practicing with the Spurs as part of an NBA-UK promotion. After practice, we all hit an auxiliary field and watched as Nash and Spurs players Christian Eriksen and Victor Wanyama tried a wild array of trick shots - with both soccer and basketball skills on display.

Pretty cool day - attended Tottenham Hotspur practice - Steve Nash did too

Posted by JP Finlay on Thursday, October 27, 2016

It was pretty nuts. 

From there, we left Enfield to head to White Hart Lane, the club's north London stadium. The scene was a zoo; Tottenham is building a new stadium on the same grounds as the current park.

As cool as practice was - and it was really cool - White Hart Lane was even better. We got to meet with and talk to Ledley King, a former Spurs captain and English National Team player. King was a great interview with a lot of cool international perspective on the globalization of sports.

But more than that, King was a genuine good dude. Super nice and easy to speak with, and funny too. Probably the highlight of hanging with King and Spurs PR staffer Tony Stevens came where we were talking NFL.

King and Stevens were wondering if kickers ever have to make tackles, and how that goes. Mitch and I explained it rarely goes well, and to highlight our point, we showed the clip of Sean Taylor destroying Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl. In unison, King and Stevens went full "ooooohhhhhhhhh" as we watched the hit a few times. 

As ridiculous as this day was, it wasn't over. Clinton Portis arrived and we toured the stadium, going in the locker room and out on the pitch. Yeah, that's right, the pitch. 

Lounging

A post shared by JP Finlay (@jpfinlay3) on

Tottenham plays a home game on Saturday, and we're hoping to attend. 

As far as London goes, the only real drawback is the traffic. I live in and drive around DC all day, I know bad traffic, and London is bad. Also, between practice and the stadium and the traffic, I didn't eat all day, which made me quite hangry. But that's my problem, not London's.
 

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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.