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Stocking Stuffers

Stocking Stuffers

A few Christmas morning nuggets here before finishing the wrapping of the presents under the tree (hey, who says you can't wait until the last minute?)

  • I didn't see something about Sundays game that Mort reported last night on ESPN's pregame repeated anywhere in the print editions this morning. If you recall, Brad Childress was complaining that the Vikings should have been allowed an opportunity to get substitutes on and off the field on the Gibbs 12-man challenge play. Mortensen said that the league had reviewed the tapes and had found that the Redskins did not substitute any players between the completion to Santana Moss (and, yes, he did drag his left foot inbounds to make that a legal catch) and the penalty for too many men on the field was the right call. Update: In Childress' press conference yesterday he also stated that the Redskins did not substitute between those plays.
  • Wade Phillips is talking bravely about the integrity of the game and wanting to win this game against the Redskins badly. He's not saying, though, that he'll play Sunday's game just as though their playoff survival was on the line. When asked about whether or not specific players would go he was vague, as he should be. No healthy player—or as healthy as any player can be at this point during the season—should know that he will sit out the upcoming game. The mental preparation won't be there and if the backup gets hurt and the starter has to go in, there is the danger of both injury and lapses.

    I think that he plays it like the second or third preseason game, with anyone who is banged up at all sitting out and the rest of the starters playing a half. The bottom line is that despite a 13-2 record, Phillips' job is not 100% secure. If Tony Romo gets hurt in the third quarter and the Cowboys experience another one and done, Wade's long-term future in Dallas would not be very secure.

  • Joe Gibbs was equally evasive yesterday when asked if Jason Campbell would return as the starting quarterback when his knee was healed should the Redskins make the playoffs. His answer was of the "we'll cross that bridge when he come to it" variety. This also is the proper approach. You don't want Collins to have to focus on keeping his job and you don't want to make a promise to Campbell that you can't keep.
  • By the way, where are Gibbs Must Go and the rest of the lynch mob? Have the last three weeks changed your perspective on the job that he's done? Is it a good idea to offer him an extension? I've been critical of Gibbs and I've stated that I didn't think that he could take this team to the next level. I could be proven wrong.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!