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Six-Week Stretch Will Define Season

Six-Week Stretch Will Define Season

Forget about the Monday night opener and the return of Smootie and Brad “Whiney” Johnson. Never mind the prime-time affair six days later in Texas Stadium for the home debuts of the idiot kicker, Mike Vanderjagt and the idiot receiver, Terrell Owens. At this point, I don’t really care about the season ending clash with the Giants on the eve of New Year’s Eve. Just tell me how the Redskins will do in a stretch of five games in six weeks in October and November and I’ll tell you how the Redskins will finish the 2006 season.

It starts in Week 7 in Indianapolis with a game against the Colts. This is one that you have to put down as an “L” looking at it right now, but despite the prowess of Indy’s passing attack, I don’t think that you can underestimate the impact of the loss of Edgerrin James. After that, it’s the well-placed bye week. Certainly, the timing here is much better than last year when the well-deserved rest came after the second game of the season.

The week off gives the Redskins two weeks to prepare for the rematch with Dallas. We don’t know what state the Cowboys will be in by then. Besides the two idiots mentioned above, they have an immobile, aging quarterback, a supposed star running back who can’t stay on the field for more than half the season, an offensive line that is in the process of being rebuilt for the second straight year and a coach who hasn’t displayed an ounce of enthusiasm about the moves that Jones is making. To mix some metaphors, the team appears to be a toxic mix that could explode into a train wreck at any moment. Certainly if Dan Snyder had tried to pull together so many ill-fitting pieces he would be roundly laughed at for trying to build his own fantasy football team as he was in 2000. However, Jerry Jones is being hailed for having put together the last pieces of the championship puzzle. The main difference is that Deion Sanders was just an egotistical, arrogant hot dog while Owens is an egotistical, arrogant hot dog who is a proven team killer.

After that there are two straight road games, the first one in Philadelphia. The guess here is that with a healthy Donovan McNabb the Eagles will be better than the were last year but not the league powerhouse they were the three years prior to 2005. The Linc will be a tough place to win. Then it’s on to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the scene of two taught, controversy-filled games between the two teams last year. It wouldn’t be surprising if the 2006 regular-season contest between the two teams was another preview of a playoff matchup.

Then on Thanksgiving weekend there will be a game at FedEx Field against the Carolina Panthers. While there probably wasn’t a good way to do it, the NFL missed the boat by not putting the Skins and Panthers in the same division and guaranteeing twice-yearly games between the two teams. Before the Panthers came along in the late 1990’s, the Redskins were the team of the Carolinas and many Carolinians remain loyal to the Burgundy and Gold while sort of rooting for the teal and black. This game also has the potential to be loaded with playoff implications.

During this stretch, the Redskins will have ample opportunity to make some statements as to whether or not they should be counted among the NFL’s elite teams. A 3-2 record or better over the meat of the schedule would be evidence that the Redskins are indeed candidates for a long playoff run. A losing record in the five games doesn’t doom them to a year of watching the playoffs on TV, but the team’s aspirations for ’06 go beyond a one and done appearance or even a two and done for that matter and a sub .500 mark against the tough teams won’t bode well for postseason success.

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.

Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight

Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.

Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett

I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.

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.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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.