Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.
(I'm out on vacation this week. I'll have some new posts here when OTAs get underway but I'll also be bringing back some of the more popular and talked about posts from the past. Enjoy the "best of" posts and if you're in Corolla, NC give me a shout!)
Some fans are saying that the Redskins have a shot at winning the NFC East title in 2015. If they are going to do that, they likely will have to win nine or more games. If they did, they would tie the biggest single-season improvement in team history. Here are the top five season-to-season improvements in wins for the Redskins since 1970:
+5, 2011-2012—The Redskins were floundering under Mike Shanahan until a pair of rookies, quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris, spurred a seven-game winning streak to push the Redskins from five wins in 2011 to 10 wins and the NFC East title.
+4, 2006-2007—It looked like the Redskins were headed to their second straight losing season under Joe Gibbs, especially after the shooting death of star safety Sean Taylor. But they overcame that and an injury to Jason Campbell to roll off four straight wins to finish the season at 9-7. That was up from five wins the year before and it got the Redskins a wild card playoff spot.
+4, 2004-2005—Yes, the Joe Gibbs II era was very up and down. Gibbs’ first year back was a 6-10 disappointment and the second year was shaping up to be the same as the team sat at 5-6. But five straight wins to close out the season got them to a 10-6 finish and a wild card berth.
+4, 1998-1999—The 1998 team was floundering at 2-9 before winning four largely meaningless games in a row to finish at 6-10. Dan Snyder bought the Redskins prior to the 1999 season and his message to Norv Turner was that he could keep his job as long as he made the playoffs. The Redskins did just that, going 10-6 to take the NFC East.
+4, 1990-1991—The 1990 team was pretty good, going 10-6 and winning a playoff game. The 1991 Redskins were one of the best teams of all time. They won their first 11 games, finished 14-2 and steamrolled to the last Super Bowl title.
Note: The Redskins did go from eight wins in 1982 to 14 in 1983, an improvement of +6. However, that ’82 season was shortened to nine games due to a players strike so it’s an uneven comparison.
—It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 113 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.
—Days until: OTAs 3; Training camp starts 68; Redskins @ Eagles 124