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Need to Know: Answering fan questions—Crowder, resting Reed, and respect

Need to Know: Answering fan questions—Crowder, resting Reed, and respect

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 29, three days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 2:45  

Days until:

—49ers @ Redskins (10/15) 16
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 24
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 30

Answering your Redskins questions

I got this question from a number of you. I chose Andrew’s because he is one of my early-morning Twitter pals and a top-notch meteorologist at the NBC affiliate in Richmond. I think that they are improved from last year with the additions on defense. They could improve more if Kirk Cousins can get things going with Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. But they are not going to hold an offense like the Raiders have to 128 yards with Cousins completing 80 percent of his passes for over 350 yards every week. So what it looks like now is that the Redskins have jumped up a notch or two, from the middle of the pack into a spot somewhere in the top dozen or so. If that’s your definition of “good” it seems that they are there.

You apparently didn’t listen to me and JP on our #RedskinsTalk podcast this week. With a player like Reed, you don’t “rest” him when he can play. You only get 16 games and teams don’t generally let a player who is healthy enough to participate sit, especially one who has the impact of Reed. I thought Spaight played well.

I’m not sure what Brown has done to deserve “more of a go”. He has played well in the preseason the last couple of years but almost always late in the game when the last string was in the game. In both of his regular season looks, against the Bears last year and Sunday against the Raiders, he was in against tired defenses who were on the wrong end of a blowout. Don’t get me wrong, I like Brown but I have to say I just don’t get all of the calls for him to start or get more carries. The Redskins are in the top six in the NFL in rushing attempts, yards, and average per carry. It’s not like the Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson aren’t getting the job done.

Gruden said on Sunday that they have no plans to make a change. Crowder went for two years without losing a fumble on punt returns and the coaches see no reason to pull the plug on him now. A third muff in the next few weeks might change their minds but for now, Crowder is the returner.

One thing—consistency. So far this year they have played, in order, a poor game, a solid game, and a great game. They need to make the bad games the exception and play solid games week in and week out with the occasional great effort thrown in there. If the Redskins want that respect they can’t lose a division game at home unless they go on the road and win the return match. And it will take some time. People still remember what happened at the end of last year so perceptions are not going to turn around very quickly.

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

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

LOS ANGELES — Some years, the December talk is of playoff tiebreakers.

Other years, it’s about draft position.

This is one of those “other” years.

The Redskins’ current skid of four losses in their last five games has knocked them out of playoff contention but into more favorable position in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in late April.

The Redskins' record is 5-8 through Week 14,  and if the season ended today, Washington would be picking either 11th or 12th in the first round.

Here’s the big picture: As of today, there are eight teams that have fewer wins than Washington. All of them would be picking ahead of the Redskins. 

The Bengals and Jets also have eight losses so the one and only draft order tiebreaker would be applied.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

This does not work out well for the Redskins.

The NFL Draft tiebreaker is strength of schedule with the teams with the weaker schedules getting the better picks. I am sure you have heard about how tough a schedule the Redskins have all year long. It was a point of pride for many fans. But now it comes back to bite them.

The Jets (opponents winning percentage .488) and the Bengals (.444) have faced weaker schedules than the Redskins (.574). That pushes Washington back to 11th.

RELATED: FEW UPS, MANY DOWNS VS. CHARGERS

But there is a Week 14 game pending. The Dolphins, who have seven losses, play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If they lose and join the eight-loss group, they would jump ahead of the Redskins based on the SOS tiebreaker, pushing Washington back to 12th.

Of course, the season doesn’t end today and a lot can happen.

But if the bottom doesn’t completely fall out it seems likely that they will end up somewhere between 10th and 12th in the first round.

We will be looking at what that might mean for the Redskins in the coming days and weeks as the offseason comes early for the Redskins one more time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

The NFC Playoff picture is no clearer in Week 14 than it was in Week 8.

Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, the NFC in particular has been a gauntlet. So much of a gauntlet that one of the league’s best in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks, sit outside of the postseason with an 8-5 record.

As of the conclusion of Week 14’s action, only the Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) have locked up a postseason spot.

The Eagles claimed the NFC East for the first time since 2013 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The will clinch a first round bye with a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers this weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) with their loss remains second in the conference, still within striking range over the overall No. 1 seed.

With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Rams (9-4) have a tough hill to climb to claim a first-round bye, but first they need to get back in the win column.

For the WildCard berths there was a wrench thrown into many teams plans with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) defeating the New Orleans Saints (9-4) on Thursday night. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker over pretty much every team chasing them for the final playoff spot.

For the five remaining unclaimed spots in the postseason, 10 teams are still alive.

After Week 15 though, that number could dwindle down significantly.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

NFC Playoff Picture Week 15

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:
— #1 Philadelphia Eagles* (11-2) vs. BYE
— #2 Minnesota Vikings (10-3) vs. BYE
— #3 Los Angeles Rams (9-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
— #4 New Orleans Saints (9-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (9-4)

NFC TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:
— Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
— Detroit Lions (7-6)
— Green Bay Packers (7-6)
— Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
— Arizona Cardinals (6-7)

NFC TEAMS ELIMINATED PLAYOFF PICTURE:
— Washington Redskins (5-8)
— Tampa Bay Buccaneerrs (4-9)
— Chicago Bears (4-9)
— San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
— New York Giants (2-11)

SEEDING NOTES:
— Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Panthers.
— Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Saints, and Falcons.
— Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers.
— Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints.
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

WILD CARD NOTES:
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
— Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
— Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
— Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, Cowboys.
— Cowboys own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Week 15 NFC Games With Playoff Implications:

Sat., Dec 16: Bears at Lions (4:30 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Bengals at Vikings (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Jets at Saints (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Eagles at Giants (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cardinals at Redskins (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Panthers at Packers (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Rams at Seahawks (4:05 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cowboys at Raiders (8:30 p.m.)
Mon., Dec 18: Falcons at Buccaneers (8:30 p.m.)