Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 15, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.
Redskins thoughts and observations
—Logan Paulsen is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with foot and hamstring injuries but the chances are pretty strong that he’ll play. He was inactive for a few games early in his Redskins career after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Since then he has played through some injuries like a sprained knee that bothered him most of last season. He told us in the locker room that he should be good to go. Paulsen’s value as a blocking tight end and special teams contributor should not be underestimated.
—Paulsen and the other 52 players on the roster all practiced fully on Friday. With the footnote that players like Brian Orakpo and DeAngelo Hall are on injured reserve, the Redskins come off of their bye as healthy as they have been all season.
—Another Redskins media type and I had a theory about the Redskins’ paucity of interceptions (they have three on the year). We thought that one of the reasons might be that the Redskins have faced teams and quarterbacks who are particularly good at avoiding interceptions. But I put the theory to the test and it doesn’t hold water. On average in the NFL, 2.5 percent of pass attempts get intercepted. The Redskins’ opponents’ interception rate is 2.7 percent.
—The record of the Redskins’ remaining opponents is 31-32, a winning percentage of .492. They will be solid favorites in two games, against the Bucs and Rams at FedEx Field. The game at New York will probably see the Giants favored by the home-field edge of three points. It’s easy to see Washington being an underdog by at least a touchdown at the 49ers and Colts. And depending on where the Eagles and Cowboys are in the standings, they could be favored at FedEx Field by three to six points.
—These 3-6 Redskins might be more like the 2012 3-6 team that finished off 7-0 than the 2013 team, also 3-6 after nine games, that didn’t win another one the rest of the year. Football Outsiders’ basic measure of overall team strength is DVOA (zero is average, negative is bad). In 2012, the Redskins’ DVOA was minus–8.0. Last year it was minus–21.4 This year Washington sits at minus–7.4. So according to this group of number crunchers, this year’s team is closer to being a decent team than last year’s team was and about as far away as the 2012 edition.
—The Redskins are much closer to being an average team than they are to being an awful team. Looking at the DVOA they are about 28 percentage points better than the worst team in the league in this metric (which happens to be the Buccaneers). Looking the other direction, they are about 28 percentage points behind the Packers, the No. 3 team in DVOA. Looking at this, and the strength of their remaining schedule, I think they split their remaining seven games, going either 4-3 or 3-4. That isn't the 7-0 playoff run that many fans are hoping for but it's pretty realistic.
—Some are concerned that the Redskins have been practicing in the bubble for most of this week (on Thursday and Friday after being outdoors on Wednesday before the cold snap hit. Here is Jay Gruden’s explanation, you can say if you take it or leave it in the comment section. “People are a little more energetic in the bubble and you get better work done in the bubble with the good weather in there,” Gruden said. “I am not a big believer in ‘You’re going to get used to minus-10 degree weather by being out there at practice on Wednesday,’ when you can get a lot done in the bubble and focus in on your job. So that’s where it is.”
—Today’s schedule: Walkthrough; no availability
—Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ 49ers 8; Redskins @ Colts 15
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
In case you missed it