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The Girl Mopping the Floors

The Girl Mopping the Floors

Cinderella stories are great. Tales of an individual or, in the case of the 2007 Washington Redskins, a team overcoming adversity and long odds are uplifting and inspiring. The Skins' run to the playoffs is one that will resound forever in team lore.

That's all well and good, but there's one problem here. In the NFL, you don't want to be the girl at home mopping the floors while the evil stepsisters are off at the ball. You want to be the stepsisters in the story, the ones who are taking what they want. Or, better yet, you want to be the handsome prince in the palace, in a position of power and dictating what others are to do.

Instead, the Redskins have had to rely on their Fairy Godmother in two of the last three years in order to make their way into the NFL playoffs. The '05 and '07 seasons were remarkably similar in how they flowed. Both featured a hot start and a midseason swoon that featured some heartbreaking losses (Tampa Bay and San Diego two years ago, Philly and Dallas this year). In both cases, Joe Gibbs and company were able to turn pumpkins into coaches and rats into horses and were able to make it to the ball.

If Cinderella was around today, we might have a social worker examining the life choices that had her performing such menial tasks to eke out a bare existence. Evidently, she had some things going for her. Once she was cleaned up she was quite a looker and she had the charm to captivate a prince. So why was she mopping the floors to begin with? What paths taken or not taken led her to making a living with a mop and bucket?

The Redskins have a lot going for them. The business end of the team is a cash generating machine. That gives the team resources to spend on coaches, scouting, facilities, and signing bonuses. They have a good core of talent and, as we saw this year, some decent depth. The biggest stadium in the NFL should give them a huge home field advantage and would if the team would consistently give the 90,000+ who fill he place something to cheer about.

Despite all of this, for the past four years—actually for most of the last 16 years—the Redskins have found themselves in late November with the mop in their hands, wishing wistfully that they could be mingling with royalty. Two of the past three years they have made it to the palace only to find themselves ejected and sent back to working the mop well before midnight.

Like the social worker who might look at Cinderella's life choices, what the Redskins need to do to be in charge of the palace is study the choices they have made that have left them with a losing record in late November every year. What led them to think that committing large chunks of cap money to Adam Archuleta and Brandon Lloyd was a good idea? Were the issues that led to blowing numerous halftime leads more related to play calling or to execution? When the issues are identified, how do they go about fixing them? Can the offense be truly effective with all of its receivers standing under six feet or do they need a big body in the mix? What needs to be done to ensure better choices regarding in-game management such as using timeouts? Has the choice not to employ a general manager served the team well? And, even if the answer to that last question is "yes", considering that Gibbs likely has a maximum of three years left as coach, will the present structure be effective going into the future?

If the Redskins are to live up to the expectations that followed the hiring of Joe Gibbs, expectations that are reasonable for a team with the Skins' resources and tradition, they can't continue to be Cinderella. They need to make the choices that will lead to someone else trying on the slipper while they hold the keys to the palace and watch from on high.

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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.

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

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.