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Redskins top Cowboys: 5 things we learned in the win

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Redskins top Cowboys: 5 things we learned in the win

DALLAS—Here are five things we’ve learned about the Redskins as they enter the NFL playoffs.

1) Sean McVay may be a pretty good offensive coordinator

When the Redskins were struggling earlier this year, many were wondering if the Redskins’ young offensive coordinator was in over his head. But in their last six games, the Redskins have jumped out to big leads four times—20-0 against the Giants, 14-0 in Chicago, 28-3 against the Bills, and 21-0 today. And they have a streak of three straight games with 34 points or more. Certainly it’s not all McVay but when he’s getting the blame when the offense isn’t moving the ball he should get some credit when they are.

2) The Redskins are a deserving playoff team

The Redskins are the fifth NFL team since the 2010 season to get into the playoffs with nine or fewer wins. Something that happens almost once a year is not a fluke. They have won seven of their last 10 games, making them one of the hotter teams in the league going into the playoffs.

MORE REDSKINS: HOW A REDSKINS BACKUP DENIED GREG HARDY A BIG BONUS

3) Alfred Morris could be a valuable asset in the playoffs

Morris posted a 100-yard game for the first time since Week 1. Some of that may have been due to playing a Cowboys defense that was not very good. But he was breaking tackles and running hard like the three-time, 1,000-yard back that he was coming into this year. The Redskins will need a running game if they are going to make any noise in the playoffs. No. 46 just might be able to provide it.

4) The Redskins’ defense is effective as long as they are opportunistic

The stats against the Redskins defense were not pretty, as the Cowboys racked up 512 yards with Kellen Moore throwing for 435. But they got four takeaway, recovering two fumbles and picking off two of Moore’s passes. And that was the difference between what may have been a sticky game near the end and one in which the Redskins maintained a comfortable lead throughout. They finished the season with 23 takeaways; only 10 NFL teams had more.

5) Kirk Cousins could be very, very good

He just keeps getting better. His teammates appreciate him and he posted his third QB rating of over 150 in the last six games. This one doesn’t count really as he didn’t have enough attempts for the NFL to recognize it. He finished the season with a passer rating of 101 with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Those are franchise QB numbers.

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198