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Redskins achieve rare balance not seen since before Pokemon Go was released

Redskins achieve rare balance not seen since before Pokemon Go was released

For three weeks to open the 2016 season Jay Gruden and Sean McVay talked about trying to balance the Redskins running attack with their passing game.

The results were middling, but the trend was clear: Washington's coaches and playcallers were making a more concerted effort to run the ball.

Sunday in a win against Cleveland Gruden and McVay held true to their word, and for the first time this season, balanced their offense nearly perfectly.


The Redskins ran the ball 26 times on Sunday, with Matt Jones getting 22 carries, compared to 27 pass attempts from QB Kirk Cousins. That balance showed best late in the game, when for the second week in a row the Redskins used the power of Jones' legs to ice away a victory.

"I’m a workhorse, so in fourth quarters, that’s where I like to pick most of my yards," Jones said Sunday. "I guess they were tired of tackling and stuff like that, so when you get in the fourth quarters, it’s a grind."

For the Redskins, getting the pass attempts and rush attempts nearly even had not happened at all this season. The closest the team got was in last week's win in New York, though Cousins still threw five more passes than runs called. 

In losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh to open the year, the run/pass ratio was way out of wack. Against the Cowboys, Cousins threw the ball 46 times while the team ran just 17 attempts. Against the Steelers, Cousins threw the ball 43 times and the team ran just 12 attempts.

Looking back even further at the Redskins offensive history, the last time the team got so close to achieving run/pass balance came Dec. 20, 2015 in a win over the Bills. That game Cousins threw the ball 28 times and the Washington runners got 27 attempts. In the team's playoff loss to Green Bay last season, the Redskins ran the ball just 16 times compared to 46 passes thrown.

"It’s hard for a running back to get into the flow of the game with six attempts," Gruden said Sunday. "With the type of game that we had today, we were able to give him more carries. He did a good job and took advantage of it."

In consecutive weeks Redskins have found a recipe for wins - running with Jones in the fourth quarter. The key going forward will be sticking with it. 


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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)


Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles


  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.