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Giants—After Further Review

Giants—After Further Review

Fishing a few nuggets out of last night's stream of consciousness.

Pregame

--Dallas lost which, as I said earlier, is OK with me. If—and it's a big if—the Redskins' chances of making the playoffs comes down to the last game, I'd rather it mean something to the Cowboys. After last week's near-miss against the Lions and today's dud against Philly, they're running into choppy waters for the first time of the year and at the worst time of the year. Not only that, the Redskins went toe to toe with them in Dallas last month. Bring 'em on.

I got a comment last night lamenting the fact that Dallas may not have the top seed wrapped up when they go to FedEx on the eve of New Year's Eve. And I certainly can understand that point of view. Who wouldn't rather face Brad Johnson and Sam Hurd than Tony Romo and TO? Still, I hate games that have no meaning for one or both teams. It would be great to force the Cowboys to travel to Lambeau to play in the NFC title game.

That is, if they make it that far. They haven't exactly looked like one of the best teams out there the last couple of weeks, needing a late score to beat a reeling Lions team and failing to post a TD in losing at home to the Eagles.

First Quarter

12:10—McIntosh is down with an injury. He's sitting up and it doesn't appear to be that bad, but the way this season is going for the Skins on the injury front anything is possible.

As we now know, it was quite serious. His year is done and training camp seems to be in jeopardy after suffering multiple torn knee ligaments. H. B. Blades and, in passing situations, Khary Campbell played well in Rocky's spot. This team was being panned for having no depth at the beginning of the year. McIntosh with be the 12th of the 22 opening-day starters to miss a start. He is the sixth of that group to suffer a season-ending injury (counting Jason Campbell, who may or may not be back for the playoffs, and, of course, Sean Taylor in that group). The fact that they're 7-7 and in the playoff hunt is quite a tribute to their depth.

A low line drive by Suisham gets the Skins on the board.

FG Suisham 50
Redskins 3, Giants 0

It was officially a 49-yarder and it would have been good from 55. Suisham is getting his leg back under him and he's again looking like a valuable asset. Still, he's far from proven. I'd like to see him with a 40+ yard attempt with the Skins trailing Dallas by two in the fourth quarter.

Second quarter

14:10—Collins is now 0-8. He's been getting some pressure, but he's been misfiring with time to throw, too.

Yes, Collins started out poorly and wasn't spectacular at any point. Eventually, he seemed to figure out the wind's effect on the ball and he dropped a couple into the arms of Moss to get things going. The important thing was that he didn't put the ball anywhere near a Giant's hands.

Who says the third-down draw won't work?

Betts 14 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 13, Giants 0

I was thinking, of course, of the pure hell that Gibbs and Saunders caught for calling a draw play in the fourth quarter of the Eagles game in Week 10. It was third and goal at the seven with the Redskins up by two. Portis was stuffed, the Skins settled for a field goal and Philly was able to come back for the win. This one was on third and nine at the 14 with the Redskins up by six. Is there a difference in the two play calls other than one of them worked and one didn't? When it works, you're a genius, when it doesn't you're an idiot.

1:51—Bad, bad play by Landry after a great, great play. He pops the ball out of Burress' hands and then taunts him. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The rookie needs to grow up.

At least when he popped the Bears receiver late he gained a little bit of an intimidation factor in exchange for the 15 yards. Wagging your finger at a receiver doesn't get you anything except laughed at.

Landry cost them three points. I think Joe Gibbs was very tempted to use words stronger than "buns" when he saw that penalty.

You could make a case that he didn't really cost the Skins three points, at least not in net terms. If the Giants punt there the Skins probably are pinned back well inside the 20 with about 1:45 to go. Maybe they drive for a field goal from there, maybe they don't. It was a lot easier to do so after getting the kickoff return to the 30, that's for sure. So, it's possible that the Redskins carry a 13-point lead into the locker room regardless of Landry's penalty. That doesn't make it OK by any means, but the net result wasn't too damaging.

Third Quarter

Portis has 16 carries for 88 yards after a slow start. If he hits near those same numbers in the second half and the Redskins continue to play with what I'll call intelligent aggression, the Skins will win. Oh, and the D needs to adjust to NY's halftime adjustments.

Portis ended up with 25 carries for 126 so he had nine for 38 in the second half, so his production did drop off in the second half. Actually, the team's offensive output after the opening drive of the second half was minimal. They had 197 in the first half, 46 on the drive that made it 22-3 and just 66 after that.

1:47—Thank you, Amani Toomer. He smoked Springs and then flat-out dropped a pass in Washington territory.

A couple of New York and national media outlets have been saying that Toomer dropped a sure touchdown here. No. Landry was playing his deep safety position and he was in the vicinity of Toomer, who isn't going to outrun anyone, much less Landry. New York would have had the ball in Redskins territory, but not very deep and certainly not anywhere near the goal line.

Fourth Quarter

13:10—Tynes (I think I've misspelled his name earlier once or twice) goes wide left on a 38-yard try. I still think the Skins will need another score, but a 12-point lead looks pretty nice right now.

That was more the lack of confidence caused by so many second-half collapses than logic talking there. That, and a memory of Manning going from looking awful to leading the Giants back in the fourth quarter against Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Still, for all intents and purposes, the Tynes miss sealed it for the Redskins. Even if he'd hit it it still was a two-score game.

5:10—Portis for four. A big third and six coming up here. I'm not sure what the call will be, which is a good thing. A few weeks ago, I knew it would be a run.

Again, not really being rational here. There was a zero percent chance that Collins was going to drop back there. The only way the Giants were going to get back into the game was with a turnover and quick score.

1:54—Ironic, isn't it? Betts was in at the end in September against the Giants and he couldn't score. Today, he gets three carries and the Skins go into victory formation.

Of course, it was a very, very different situation compared to when Betts couldn't get into the end zone in Week 3, but there was a touch of irony there.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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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In case you missed it

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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