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What happens to Redskins offense if Sean McVay leaves?

What happens to Redskins offense if Sean McVay leaves?

For months rumors swirled that Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay would draw interest for head coaching opportunities.

Those rumors came true this offseason, as McVay has already interviewed with the Rams for their vacant head coach position and will talk Monday with the 49ers about their top job.

It appears the talks with Los Angeles went well and the team is digging deep into the 30-year-old's background for more information.

Of course, McVay has lived a football life. He began his coaching career with Tampa in 2008 at just 22 years old, landed with the Redskins in 2010, and took over at offensive coordinator in 2014. Redskins players have said they have 'no doubt' about McVay's ability to coach a team, and it seems the question is more when than if he gets a head job.

And while that's all great news for McVay, what does it mean for the Redskins?

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Washington's offense is the strength of the team, and one of the more effective units in the NFL. The team ranked 3rd in the NFL in yards gained and quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for more than 4,900 yards, both significant improvements from 2015.

Chris Thompson, a fourth-year running back that took advantage of his opportunities in the Redskins system, said that losing McVay would be tough but should not cause major changes as the offensive design comes from head coach Jay Gruden.

"As far as the offense goes if anybody’s worried, it’s Sean and Coach Gruden incorporating their ideas together. It would be big just because it might put a little bit more on Coach Gruden. He may be in a situation where he might have to go back to play calling again," Thompson said. "It’s something that Coach Gruden is used to."

Play calling will be one area that McVay's absence could have a big impact. In 2014, Gruden called the Redskins plays despite being a rookie head coach. That task, along with running the whole team, proved to be somewhat of a burden and in 2015 Gruden shared play calling duties with McVay and offensive line coach Bill Callahan. 

This past season, though Gruden, Callahan and QB Coach Matt Cavanugh had input, play calling was exclusively the domain of McVay. The young coordinator got the credit when things went well, and took the heat when the Redskins offense bogged down. At times last year, the Redskins had a bad habit of getting away from the running attack, and McVay owned that when the criticism inevitably came.

After a December loss to the Cardinals in Arizona that saw the Redskins run less than 20 times despite averaging more than 4-yards-per-carry, McVay took the blame.

"I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job," he said.

It's that level of honesty and accountability that likely appeals to NFL owners when they look at McVay as a head coaching candidate.

For the Redskins, McVay is undeniably an asset, but his departure should not set the offense back with Gruden still running the ship.

'It’s pretty much his offense, so he’ll be comfortable with it I’m sure," Thompson said. 

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 20, six days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five pivotal games on the Redskins’ schedule

All NFL games are important but some seem to be a little more important than others. At first glance at the Redskins’ schedule, these seem to be the five most pivotal games. 

Week 1 @Cardinals—Wait, Week 1 is pivotal? It is if you’re Jay Gruden and you are 0-4 in season openers. Starting off in an 0-1 hole again after losing a winnable game would not get things off to a positive start. 

Week 7 Cowboys—The only Redskins-Cowboys game that Kirk Cousins started in the last three years that Washington won was the 2015 season finale in Dallas, a game that was meaningless to both teams. Alex Smith needs to take advantage of his shot at the Cowboys. Beating Dallas is important for being competitive in the division and for job security in general. This is their shot at them at home.

Week 9 Falcons—Atlanta has been among the league’s big boys the last couple of years. The Redskins get them at home, on grass, when the weather could be turning a little bit chilly. It’s a good opportunity to upset a dome team. The game also ends the first part of the season and the Redskins face a second half of the schedule that has just three home games. 

Week 14 Giants—This is one of the aforementioned scarce home games in the latter part of the season. It’s preceded by road games in Dallas (9-7 last year) and Philadelphia (Super Bowl champs) and followed by roadies in Jacksonville (lost AFC title game) and Tennessee (won a playoff game). Nobody is quite sure to what extent the Giants will rebound from their dismal 2017 season but this game has the feel of a possible oasis surrounded by hostile deserts. 

Week 16 @Titans—If the Redskins are in playoff contention, this game will determine a lot even though its non-conference. As noted, the Titans are looking to improve on their playoff season last year and they will not be a pushover by any stretch. But if the Redskins want to be able to say that they are a better team than they have been the last couple of years, this is the kind of game they should win. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 32
—Training camp starts (7/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 142

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and you will not have to wait long for pundits and fans alike to begin predicting team’s season-long win-loss record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing. Myself included. 

But don’t read much -- if anything -- into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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