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Where are we? The state of the Redskins, Week 11

Where are we? The state of the Redskins, Week 11

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 11 of the NFL season.

Record: 3-6
vs. NFC East: 1-2
vs. NFC: 1-5
vs. AFC: 2-1
Home: 2-2
Away: 1-4

Opposition cumulative record (all games played): 41-41
Opposition cumulative—wins: 10-19
Opposition cumulative—losses: 31-22
Record of teams remaining on schedule: 31-32

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 386.9 (7th)
Defense (yards/game): 333.3 (11th)
Passer rating offense: 92.1 (17th)
Opp passer rating: 104.0 (28th)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (19th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.1 (14th)
DVOA through Week 9 (Football Outsiders): -9.3% (22nd)

Games out of playoff spot: 3.5
Current draft position: 7th

Season to date MVP’s

Offensive: The Redskins scored three touchdowns against the Vikings. DeSean Jackson set up two of them with long pass receptions and he scored the third. It’s hard to imagine where their offense might be had he not fallen into their laps last April.

Defensive: Ryan Kerrigan’s sack total hasn’t bee impressive lately but he continues to pressure the quarterback and do a solid job in coverage and against the run.

Top three storylines:

The jury is out—That’s what Jay Gruden said in regards to Robert Griffin III being the team’s quarterback of the future. He has seven games to prove himself, or at least to establish himself as the starter for 2015. It is unclear how much progress will be needed for him to do that but his play will continue to be dissected from week to week.

Bye week improvements—The coaching staff spent the bye week reviewing the first half of the season. Usually they don’t find anything earth shattering when doing this but maybe they can pick up a few things here and there, some things they need to stop doing and some things they want to do more of during the last seven games.

Play to your strength?—Coaches always have to establish a balance between what their teams do best and the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent on a given Sunday. We saw this with pass pressure coming in waves against the Cowboys and a much less aggressive scheme against rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Which way will they go?

Next three games

Nov. 16 vs. Bucs (1-8)—Lovie Smith’s bunch was a popular dark horse pick but their season has quickly faded to black. They have had some truly ugly moments, trailing the Falcons 56-0 in the third quarter, being behind the Ravens 35-0 a minute into the second quarter, and blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead before losing in overtime to the Saints.

Nov. 23 @ 49ers (4-5)—It’s hard to get a handle on the 49ers, who lost to the Bears but beat the Cowboys, Eagles and just topped the Saints in the Superdome. Their defense should be stronger with the return of outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who sacked Griffin twice when the teams met last year, from suspension.

Nov. 30 @ Colts (6-3)-- This game will match the top two picks in the 2012 against each other. The jury is still out on Robert Griffin III while Andrew Luck is currently on a streak of seven straight games with over 300 yards passing. The Colts’ defense is in the middle of the pack and they don’t have much of a running game but Luck keeps them rolling.

 

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.