Redskins

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Strong finishes not part of Redskins' recent history

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Strong finishes not part of Redskins' recent history

The Redskins finished the first half of their season with a 3-5 record and in last place in the NFC East. One of the primary reasons they have a losing record is that their defense has allowed 227 points, tied for the second-worst performance in the NFL.

Naturally, the Redskins hope to improve substantially in both areas for the second half of the season. If they want to make a run at a playoff spot they will have to go 6-2 and hope that other teams falter enough so that 9-7 will get them in on tiebreakers. And if they are going to do that, it would help to cut back the points scored against them to something closer to the NFL average, which is about 185.

If they accomplish either one of those goals, however, they would be bucking some pretty strong historical trends.

Let’s look at the record first. The Redskins have finished each of the last four years with identical records of 2-6. That spans the two years of Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan’s two seasons.

You have to go back to 2005, the second season of Joe Gibbs II, to find a Redskins team that had a winning record in the last eight games of the year. That team went 5-3 in the second half of the season, matching the record they had in the first half. That 10-6 record got them a wild card playoff berth.

The Redskins have not followed up a losing record in the first half of the season with a winning record in the second half since 2001. That year Marty Schottenheimer’s team went from 3-5 in the first half (after an 0-3 start) to 5-3 in the second.

The last time they went 6-2 in the last half of the season was in 1989.

As far as points given up, the Redskins’ opponents have scored more points against them in the second half of the season than they did in the first in each of the last five years. The last time they improved was in was in 2007 when they went from giving up 160 points in the first half to 150 in the second.

The last time the Redskins made a substantial improvement in points allowed, one on the order of what they would like to accomplish this year, was in the 2001 season. They gave up 193 points in the first half of the year and 110 in the second.

This isn’t to say that the Redskins have no hope of improving this year. It doesn’t mean that they are doomed to going 2-6 again and to giving up over 200 points. After all, only a handful of players who were part of the 2-6 collapse in 2008 are still on the roster. And with RG3 behind center, they have an asset they have not had in decades.

But losing in November and December seems to be ingrained in the team’s culture and unless can buck the trend they are headed for more disappointment.  

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

Half of the Final 4 is now set:

January 22: Round two, matchup three

This one was a low-scoring, close affair, but went to the Likes side in the end:

January 23: Round two, matchup four

The last Final 4 spot is up for grabs. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side:

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Redskins will eye Vikings' QB decisions with great interest

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Redskins will eye Vikings' QB decisions with great interest

Now that the Minnesota Vikings’ season is over, the team can start sorting out its quarterback situation. The Redskins will be watching the process with great interest.

Minnesota has three quarterbacks who have significant NFL starting experience and all three of them are free agents. It would be difficult for the Vikings to keep more than one of the trio of Sam Bradford (80 NFL starts), Case Keenum (38), and Teddy Bridgewater (28). All three would like to start, or at least have an opportunity to start, in 2018. The Vikings will only be able to accommodate one of them.

MORE REDSKINS: LOOKING AT SENIOR BOWL QUARTERBACKS

That would leave two experienced quarterbacks on the market. As you may have heard, the Redskins could be parting ways with Kirk Cousins. Would they be interested in any of the three possible ex-Vikings? Let’s take a look at each of them:

Sam Bradford, age 30 at start of 2018 season—After the Rams made him the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, he had four up and down years in St. Louis. He was traded to the Eagles for Nick Foles. Philly flipped him to the Vikings after Bridgewater was injured before the 2016 season. Bradford had a career year in his first year there but a knee injury limited him to two starts in 2017.
Fit with the Redskins: He is the most likely of the three to end up on the free agent market and he could end up costing the least. Bradford was very productive in 2016 and he would be a good fit in Jay Gruden’s offense. But the injury bug is a major red flag. He has missed 48 of a possible 128 games with injuries including 14 last season and the entire 2014 season.

Teddy Bridgewater, age 25—He was going to be the Vikings’ franchise quarterback after they drafted him in the first round in 2014. Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division title his second season and they were a missed chip shot field goal away from advancing to the divisional round. But a devastating knee injury suffered before the 2016 season has put his future in doubt. It put him on the injury list for all of 2016 and most of last year.  
Fit with the Redskins: The story now is that the organization is torn between keeping Bridgewater or sticking with Keenum. Bridgewater also could fit into Gruden’s offense. Bridgewater is by far the youngest of the three and he could be more of a long-term solution. The knee is the reason why the Vikings can’t move on and there is uncertainty over whether it will ever be 100-percent.

RELATED: NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

Case Keenum, age 30—The Vikings are the third stop in his six NFL seasons. He had stints as the starter in Houston and with the Rams before landing in Minnesota as a free agent last March. When Bradford was injured in Week 1 in came Keenum and he had a career year, completing 67.6 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Vikings had an excellent defense but it’s unlikely that they reach the NFC championship game without Keenum.
Fit with Redskins: Is Keenum a one-year wonder? Or did his show is ability given a chance? Look at this table to compare his first season as a starter with Kirk Cousins’ 2015 season. Keenum had 62 fewer attempts so the yardage total is lower, but their performances are comparable. But if the Vikings let him go, will the Redskins risk a multi-year deal that probably will be in excess of $20 million per year on a guy with one solid year on his resume? They were unwilling to do it with Cousins a few years ago.

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.