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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

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Redskins Wednesday minicamp report: A good day for Murphy

The Redskins held their final practice of the offseason under cloud cover with some light rain in Ashburn. Here are my observations:

—Trent Williams and Jordan Reed were playing catch off to the side while special teams drills were underway. Williams has a decent arm but Reed, who went to Florida as a quarterback, had better form.

—Trey Williams mishandled a pass and and went to the ground and did about half a dozen pushups.

—Matt Jones was on the field with the first unit early and often. I think they have major expectations for the rookie.

—Among those who lined up with the second unit defense were Kedric Golston, Ricky Jean Francois, Jackson Jeffcoat, Tevin Mitchel, Adam Hayward, Tajh Hanson, Justin Rogers, Duke Ihenacho, and Trenton Robinson.

—It appeared that Colt McCoy got the majority of the second-team snaps with Kirk Cousins working with the third. It was the opposite arrangement on Tuesday.

—On one snap, Preston Smith lined up to defend slot receiver Andre Roberts. It looked like Smith stayed with the receiver but the ball was thrown to the other side. That’s something to keep an eye on in Richmond.

—In a red zone drill Robert Griffin III hit Logan Paulsen with a nice toss on a fade route. Paulsen was very close to the sideline and the defense claimed that he was out of bounds. From where I was it was hard to tell. Still a good pass either way.

—Still in the red zone a bit later, Roberts had a well-placed pass over the middle bounce out of his hands. Justin Rogers nearly came up with the ball after tipping it a couple of times. It would have been a nice play but Rogers probably should have made the interception.

—On the first snap of seven on seven in the red zone, Griffin took his time looking around for a receiver. Jay Gruden did not appear to be happy with him.

—A few plays later Griffin got rid of the ball quickly. Although the pass was incomplete Gruden stepped up to his QB and gave him some praise.

—McCoy came in and threw a bad, late pass into the end zone that rookie Tevin Mitchel intercepted.

—The kickoff return unit that took the field first had Evan Spencer, Kyshoen Jarrett, Matt Jones, Will Compton, and Trenton Robinson along the front line. Among those playing deep were Adam Hayward and Akeem Davis. There was no returner for this particular drill.

—Arie Kouandjio jumped on a hard count, turning a third and three into a third and eight. He ran a lap. Gruden seems determined to reduce such mental errors this season.

—Trent Murphy had a very good day, spending a lot of time in the offensive backfield. He beat both Brandon Scherff and Tom Compton on multiple occasions.

—Matt Jones got just a few yards on a quick hitter up the middle before what would have been a heck of a collision between him and linebacker Adam Hayward, who was in perfect position to lay on a big hit had they been wearing pads. Gruden pointed out after practice that Jones was running upright because of the non-contact nature of the practices.

—Jamison Crowder had a bad drop on Tuesday. He made it up at least in part with a nice, leaping catch of a Cousins pass in the end zone.

—Ran in to Scot McCloughan on the way down to the practice field. He mention that he was very happy with the rookie class “both on and off the field.” The GM likes the way they pay attention in meetings and generally how they conduct themselves. The coaches have been paying similar compliments to the rookies.

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

LOS ANGELES — Some years, the December talk is of playoff tiebreakers.

Other years, it’s about draft position.

This is one of those “other” years.

The Redskins’ current skid of four losses in their last five games has knocked them out of playoff contention but into more favorable position in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in late April.

The Redskins' record is 5-8 through Week 14,  and if the season ended today, Washington would be picking either 11th or 12th in the first round.

Here’s the big picture: As of Monday, there are eight teams that have fewer wins than Washington. All of them would be picking ahead of the Redskins. 

The Bengals and Jets also have eight losses so the one and only draft order tiebreaker would be applied.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

This does not work out well for the Redskins.

The NFL Draft tiebreaker is strength of schedule with the teams with the weaker schedules getting the better picks. I am sure you have heard about how tough a schedule the Redskins have all year long. It was a point of pride for many fans. But now it comes back to bite them.

The Jets (opponents winning percentage .488) and the Bengals (.444) have faced weaker schedules than the Redskins (.574). That pushes Washington back to 11th.

RELATED: FEW UPS, MANY DOWNS VS. CHARGERS

But there is a Week 14 game pending. The Dolphins, who have seven losses, play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If they lose and join the eight-loss group, they would jump ahead of the Redskins based on the SOS tiebreaker, pushing Washington back to 12th.

Of course, the season doesn’t end today and a lot can happen.

But if the bottom doesn’t completely fall out it seems likely that they will end up somewhere between 10th and 12th in the first round.

We will be looking at what that might mean for the Redskins in the coming days and weeks as the offseason comes early for the Redskins one more time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

The NFC Playoff picture is no clearer in Week 14 than it was in Week 8.

Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, the NFC in particular has been a gauntlet. So much of a gauntlet that one of the league’s best in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks, sit outside of the postseason with an 8-5 record.

As of the conclusion of Week 14’s action, only the Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) have locked up a postseason spot.

The Eagles claimed the NFC East for the first time since 2013 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The will clinch a first round bye with a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers this weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) with their loss remains second in the conference, still within striking range over the overall No. 1 seed.

With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Rams (9-4) have a tough hill to climb to claim a first-round bye, but first they need to get back in the win column.

For the WildCard berths there was a wrench thrown into many teams plans with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) defeating the New Orleans Saints (9-4) on Thursday night. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker over pretty much every team chasing them for the final playoff spot.

For the five remaining unclaimed spots in the postseason, 10 teams are still alive.

After Week 15 though, that number could dwindle down significantly.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

NFC Playoff Picture Week 15

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:
— #1 Philadelphia Eagles* (11-2) vs. BYE
— #2 Minnesota Vikings (10-3) vs. BYE
— #3 Los Angeles Rams (9-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
— #4 New Orleans Saints (9-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (9-4)

NFC TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:
— Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
— Detroit Lions (7-6)
— Green Bay Packers (7-6)
— Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
— Arizona Cardinals (6-7)

NFC TEAMS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF PICTURE:
— Washington Redskins (5-8)
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
— Chicago Bears (4-9)
— San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
— New York Giants (2-11)

SEEDING NOTES:
— Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Panthers.
— Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Saints, and Falcons.
— Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers.
— Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints.
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

WILD CARD NOTES:
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
— Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
— Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
— Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, Cowboys.
— Cowboys own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Week 15 NFC Games With Playoff Implications:

Sat., Dec 16: Bears at Lions (4:30 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Bengals at Vikings (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Jets at Saints (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Eagles at Giants (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cardinals at Redskins (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Panthers at Packers (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Rams at Seahawks (4:05 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cowboys at Raiders (8:30 p.m.)
Mon., Dec 18: Falcons at Buccaneers (8:30 p.m.)