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Playoff seeds matter little in NFC


Playoff seeds matter little in NFC

The Redskins are expected by many to improve this year with the addition of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and some legitimate weapons at wide receiver. Most think they are in line to take bigger strides in 2013 as Griffin and the other players mature and develop chemistry.However, it appears that they are a long way from attaining the Holy Grail of the NFL regular season, winning the division and getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That is the path the team took to three of its four Super Bowl appearances between 1982 and 1991. So, until they can get that top seed improving is fine but the ultimate goal, the Super Bowl, will remain a pipe dream, right?Not really. Things have changed considerably since 1991, especially since 2000. Since that season, the top seed has won just one of 12 Super Bowls. That was the 2003 Patriots, who beat Carolina on a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal.Other than that, its been futility for the top seeds. Since 2000 six of them have experienced the ultimate failure, going one and done. That means that they got the bye, hosted the lowest remaining seed, a team that had to win in the Wild Card round, and lost at home.You remember what happened to the 15-1 Packers last year at the hands of the 9-7 Giants. The same thing happened to the top seeded 2010 Patriots, 2008 Titans, 2006 Chargers, 2005 Colts, and 2000 Titans.In the NFC in recent seasons the underdog role is where you want to be. The 2007 Giants won it all as a 10-6 Wild Card team as did the 2010 Packers. Last years Giants won their division at 9-7 and ended up champions. In 2008 the Cardinals also got in as 9-7 division champs and had the lead in the Super Bowl in the final minute before losing to Pittsburgh.In the past five years only the 2009 Saints have taken advantage of owning the top seed in the NFC by winning Super Bowl XLIV.The point is not that the Redskins should try to improve to where they can grab the last Wild Card and then stop. You want to win as many games as you can to get the right to, say, host a playoff game, something the Redskins havent done since 1999.But any playoff appearance, even one as the very last seed, has possibilities. You dont have to start January at the top of the heap in order to end up there the first weekend in February.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on and

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page

and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS