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In need of red zone help, Redskins could look for a big wide receiver in the draft

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In need of red zone help, Redskins could look for a big wide receiver in the draft

Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan likes big football players. His logic is that over the course of 150 or so plays during a game the advantages that a bigger player has over a smaller player will win out.

That sounds good in theory but is there any proof? Or is that just an old adage that no longer applies, if it ever did?

Football does not lend itself to statistical analytics as well as some other sports but we can look at slices of the game. And if you look at the passing plays to wide receivers that occur when an offense has the ball inside the other team’s 20-yard line, the red zone, it appears that bigger receivers do have an advantage.

Consider this from Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders. It doesn’t include last year but it covers 16 seasons, a pretty solid sample size.

https://twitter.com/FO_ScottKacsmar/status/571033539703132160/photo/1

All but two of the top 10 in terms of touchdowns per red zone target are at least 6-3. The tallest receivers the Redskins have under contract for 2015 are Pierre Garçon and Ryan Grant, both 6-0. Those two, DeSean Jackson (5-10) and Andre Roberts (5-11) are almost certain to be the top four receivers on the team in 2015.

Looking at that group of wide receivers, Kacsmar’s chart, and at the Redskins’ ranking in red zone touchdown (26th) and it’s easy to see some cause and effect there. It’s also not hard to figure out that McCloughan will try to get the Redskins bigger at wide receiver.

Will he start in this year’s draft? He could have a number of tall receiver options throughout the draft. There were 13 receivers at the NFL Combine who measure 6-2 or taller. Some of them like Kevin White of West Virginia (6-3) and Davante Parker of Louisville (6-3) are likely to be gone in the first half of the first round. Tony Lippett of Michigan State (6-2) could still be around on the third day of the draft. A team likely could take a flyer on the tallest receiver at the combine, 6-6 Darren Waller of Georgia Tech, in the seventh round.

Height alone, however, isn’t enough to impress McCloughan. “I think it is a big man’s game, but I think it’s a football player’s game,” he said in his introductory news conference. “It’s not about the height, weight and speed. It’s about consistency and being a football player every day.”

The Redskins won’t draft a wide receiver, or any player, just because he’s tall. And maybe McCloughan won’t bypass a player like the shortest player on the top red zone receivers list, former Wayne Chrebet. But it’s likely that McCloughan will hold out for someone at least six feet tall and who plays like he’s much taller.

In any case, the Redskins need to improve their red zone efficiency if they are going to improve their winning percentage. The evidence that a big target can help them do that is pretty strong.

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and you will not have to wait long for pundits and fans alike to begin predicting team’s season-long win-loss record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing. Myself included. 

But don’t read much -- if anything -- into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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