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Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns

Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns

During the offseason leading up to the 1964 season, the Washington Redskins were quite busy adding high-caliber talent to the team. How good? Hall of Fame good.

That year, the Redskins drafted wide receiver Charley Taylor and safety Paul Krause and traded for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and linebacker Sam Huff. Taylor retired as the leading all-time receiver and Krause, who was traded to the Vikings in 1968 in one of the dumbest deals ever, retired as the all-time leader in interceptions (he still holds the mark with 81). Jurgensen led the league in passing several times and Huff, while no longer the dominant force he was with the Giants, was still a very effective middle linebacker.

They all eventually made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So did Bobby Mitchell, who already was one the team.

The quartet made their debut on September 13, 1964 in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns. As you can see in the game account below, the Redskins lost.

I don't know if Elias has anything quite like this game on its radar screen. I know it's unique in Redskins history and I have a feeling that very few other teams have had four future Hall of Fame players make their team debuts in a single game. And if any other team did, they probably did not already have a future Canton enshrinee on the team.

September 13, 1964

DC Stadium

DC Stadium—The Redskins built a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, but lost it in a barrage of ill-timed turnovers as the Browns wore down their opponents and got the win.

The Redskins new-look offense, led by quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, acquired via a trade with the Eagles, and running back Charley Taylor, the team's first-round draft pick out of Arizona, began to click late in the first. From the Washington 12, Jurgensen threw to Pat Richter for 11 yards, the Taylor carried three times for a total of 25. With the defense looking for the rookie, Jurgensen then turned his attention to the Skins' established star, Bobby Mitchell. The flanker ran a slant and took Jurgensen's pass for 13 yards down to the three. Taylor got thrown for a loss from there and the Redskins had to settle for Jim Martin's 12-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Safety Paul Krause, the Redskins' second-round pick, paid dividends nearly as quickly as Taylor did. He drew a bead on a Frank Ryan pass, leapt in front of the intended receiver, intercepted the pass and returned it 18 yards to the Cleveland 16. Not to be outdone, Taylor converted the turnover, taking a weak side pitch from Jurgensen, finding daylight, and fending off safety Larry Benz to score a touchdown to make it 10-0.

The Washington defense stuffed Jim Brown on the next series and Cleveland had to punt. The rookie magic ended as first-year returner Ozzie Clay fumbled Gary Collins' boot, giving the Browns the ball at the Washington 24. The miscue swung the momentum to the Browns instantly and, as it turned out, inexorably.

Two plays after the punt, Krause displayed the nature of rookies as he, in his words, "simply got mixed up" and blew his coverage on Collins. Dave Brady of the Post said Collins "was so wide open that the nearest person to him was a spectator sitting directly above in the overhanging second deck of DC Stadium." The Browns missed the point after but were undaunted as they drove 70 yards to Jim Brown's one-yard touchdown run to take a 13-10 halftime lead.

In his Redskins debut, middle linebacker Sam Huff got an interception to kill a Cleveland threat inside the Washington 10, but Mitchell quickly gave it back with a fumble that Walter Beach recovered at the Redskin 34. Soon after that, it was Brown scoring from the one again, and the Browns were beginning to pull away. Their cause was greatly aided when Jurgensen fumbled it away at the Cleveland four, short-circuiting a comeback bid.

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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.