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Need to Know: A brawl, position changes and departures highlight the Redskins' week

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Need to Know: A brawl, position changes and departures highlight the Redskins' week

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 10, three days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

The week that was

RICHMOND—The Redskins are back here today for a couple of days of practice before they travel to Cleveland on Wednesday. Here is a look back at what happened in the past week and my reaction to it.

'It escalated very quickly'—It appears that the Texans were looking to start something to retaliate for Matt Jones mowing over one of their defensive backs on Friday. There is always a fine line on how much contact there should be in these joint practices and perhaps Jones crossed it. I’m not sure if a brawl involving over 150 players spread over two fields is exactly revenge but if the Texans are happy, that’s OK. It’s a good thing nobody got injured.

Scherff, Moses moves shuffle O-line depth chartIt looks like Brandon Scherff will start his NFL career as a guard. Although you never know what will happen it is likely that he will stay there. I’m not sure if the Redskins should be criticized more for using the fifth overall pick in the draft on a guard, a position of relatively low value, or if they should get credit for not waiting to make the move of Scherff to right guard and Morgan Moses into the right tackle spot. A little of both, probably.

Redskins waive Phillip Thomas—The Redskins aren’t exactly set at safety but they decided to move on without Thomas, their fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft. The organization thought he would develop into a starter but he missed his rookie year with a foot injury and when injuries created an opportunity for him to start last year he looked lost.

Colts claim Tevin Mitchel off waivers—The sixth-round pick suffered a shoulder injury that was going to put him out for the season. In order to get him onto injured reserve, the Redskins had to pass him through waivers, normally a routine procedure. But the Colts decided to claim him. Mitchel will now spend the season on the Indianapolis IR list and try to make the Colts team next year. It wasn’t much of a gamble since injured players are rarely claimed but Washington ended up losing a sixth-round pick.

Redskins add two to secondary, including former Virginia CBThomas was waived to help make room for cornerbacks Bryan McCann, a veteran with stints on five different NFL teams, and rookie free agent DreQuan Hoskey. The Redskins’ top four cornerbacks were nicked up and unable to practice and Mitchel was gone so they brought in some warm bodies to get through practice. But they will get a chance to make it.

DeSean Jackson leaves practice early with apparent shoulder injuryJackson didn’t last long in the joint practices. Early in Wednesday’s first session he went to the ground while trying to catch a pass and ended up with a sprained AC joint. The injury is not major and should only keep him out a couple of weeks. He did not, as some said, injure himself on a blocking sled that was near by. When Jackson fell he slid and wound up bumping the sled. By the time he made contact with the sled, the damage to his shoulder had already been done.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden news conference 2:45; practice 3:05

—It’s been 225 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 34 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 3; final cuts 26; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 45

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

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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.)