Quick Links

GameBlog Pregame Redskins vs. Giants

GameBlog Pregame Redskins vs. Giants

Among the push back received here in response to the (Truly) Bold Prediction piece forecasting an easy Redskin win was, not so fast, the Giants “create a lot of turnovers”. On the face of it, that’s true. They lead the NFC with 19 takeaways, getting nine interceptions and 10 fumbles. Let’s take a closer look, however, and see just how significant these numbers are.

Of the nine interceptions the Giants have, six have come off of the arms of Aaron Brooks and Mark Bulger (three each). Among qualifying passers in the NFL Brooks is 30th in the NFL with nine picks thrown on the season, Bulger is 25th with eight. To be sure, their performances against the Giants did contribute to their high numbers of interceptions, but the Giants have been far from along in receiving the largesse of Mr. Bulger and Mr. Brooks.

Their other three interceptions came off of Kurt Warner, Josh McCown, and Drew Bledsoe. Warner is not among the qualifiers as he has been out hurt much of the year. McCown and Bledsoe has each thrown six INT’s on the year. Those are not turnover ATM performances like Brooks and Bulger have put on, but 14 qualifying QB’s have thrown fewer.
One of those is Mark Brunell, who has a total of two interceptions this year, none in the past three games. If the Giants are hoping to make a living off of interceptions, they should reconsider their plans.

Of the 10 fumbles they have recovered, half came against New Orleans (3) and St. Louis (2). They rank 1-2 in number of lost fumbles in the NFC on the season.
To the Giants’ credit, three more of their recoveries of opponents’ fumbles came against Dallas and that’s pretty impressive since that represents half of the Cowboys’ total of lost fumbles for the season.

Washington has coughed it up seven times this year, putting them about in the middle of the NFC pack when it comes to fumbles lost.

Certainly, you always have to protect that ball when it’s in your arms, but that will be doubly important this week. It will be extremely difficult for the Giants to stay close to the Redskins if Washington doesn’t put the ball on the ground.

Mike Sellers

For a number of years, my impression of this guy was that he was not the core Redskin type, certainly not as would be defined by Joe Gibbs. It started when he bolted for Cleveland after the Redskins gave him a shot after went to Walla Walla Community College and then the Canadian Football League. He then proceeded to badmouth the organization and get busted for cocaine possession. That cost him his job with the Browns, even though the charges were later dropped. I was much less than thrilled when the Redskins brought him back prior to the 2004 season and my lack of enthusiasm seemed justified as he drew a number of personal foul penalties. One of my first thoughts going into the offseason was that they’ve got to get rid of this thug.

Then along comes the ’05 season and all of a sudden the guy is catching touchdown passes and hasn’t even so much as glared at an opponent after the whistle. After last week’s game I went and talked to him in the locker room and he’s a sharp, engaging guy. And the I hear Gibbs talking about him saying that when the team needed someone to play running back in practice last week, Sellers jumped right in there and did the chore with great enthusiasm.

Then it occurred to me. Whether it’s Mark Brunell at the glamour position or Mike Sellers as a special teams/blocking grunt, we should just believe—make that just know—that Joe Gibbs knows who should be on this team and who should be playing much better than any of us do. (image placeholder)(image placeholder)

Quick Links

Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it


Quick Links

What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?


What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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!