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Need to Know: Redskins special teams still adjusting

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Need to Know: Redskins special teams still adjusting

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 17, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park

1. As one might expect, special teams were a big topic of discussion on Wednesday at Redskins Park. Here is what two core special teams players had to say about the situation. First, this from Niles Paul; you’ll notice a theme in his remarks:

Keith Burns, he's a different individual than Danny. Everybody here loved Danny. Having Danny here was very beneficial to everybody. Keith is a different guy with a different scheme and everybody has to get used to that and believe in the coaches. At the end of the day, we just have to make plays. That's what Danny allowed us to do last year was go out and make plays. It was a simple as that and that's what we're missing this year. We just have to go out there and make plays. You need five or six guys rallying to the ball instead of one or two making the tackle.

2. Reed Doughty had similar thoughts when it came to making plays but he was not inclined to place much of the reason for the special teams issues on the change in coaches:

[The scheme is] definitely a little bit different. But at the end of the day we get paid to go out on Sunday and make plays. Whether it's because of the system or in spite of the system, what ever your feelings are, it really doesn't matter. It's still a reflection of us if they scored a touchdown on Sunday and had another big return.

3. Pierre Garçon was asked about how much pressure Robert Griffin III is putting himself under:

You always want to put pressure on yourself as a football player because you never want to think that you've arrived. I put pressure on myself, he puts pressure on himself. But this year is different from last year. As you get older in this league you have to be able to adjust and keep your head in the game. We're just finding out game . . . I don't think he's putting too much pressure on himself.

4. And here is Robert Griffin III talking about the pressure that Robert Griffin III faces:

“There’s just an expectation. Whenever you play the way we played as an offense in general – not just myself – moving the ball, making big plays, putting points on the board, whenever you play like that and you come back the next year and you don’t play like that and your quarterback has a significant knee injury in the offseason, the scrutiny is going to be there. But I think for a lot of guys in this locker room, nothing has ever been easy for us as far as in life. It’s never been given to us. Some guys in this league get a break and some guys don’t. With all the scrutiny going on with our team as far as the name, my knee injury, the way we started the season – all that stuff can pile up.

5. Mike Shanahan talking about how, well, stuff happens:

We missed a handoff on a draw. That’s what happened. Sometimes those things do occur . . . Robert went a little further back than he should have. Those things, sometimes we fake a little bit of a pass and sometimes the timing is not perfect, but we have been doing a pretty good job on that. That was one of those times we didn’t do a good job.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins average 5.3 yards per rushing attempt, second in the NFL. The league average is  4.1 yards per attempt.

Timeline

—Days until: Bears @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Broncos 10; Chargers @ Redskins 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett news conference 12:00; Practice 1:00 (open to media for first 30 minutes); Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00), available streaming on CSNwashington.com.                                        

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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