Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 9, two days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.
How do the Redskins stack up in the NFC East?
There are plenty of reasons to think that the Redskins will be a better team this year than they were in 2017. But in the NFL, improvement doesn’t mean much in a vacuum. It only matters in relation to the rest of the league in general and to your division in particular. How do the Redskins stack up in the NFC East? Let’s go to the window and buy our $100 in imaginary casino chips and place our bets on which team will be the 2018 NFC East champions.
Eagles, $45—There is plenty of talk about a Super Bowl hangover and it’s true that in three of the last six years, the Super Bowl champ from the previous year did not qualify for the playoffs. But two of those teams, the 2011 Giants and the 2012 Ravens, were wild card teams that went on a run. Those titles had a fluky feel. That does not describe the 2017 Eagles. There may be a slight hangover, but the Eagles have added talent and are strong favorites to become the first team to repeat as NFC East champs since Philly did in 2003-2004.
Redskins, $25—The Redskins have managed to avoid the NFC East cellar for the last three years. That’s a modest accomplishment but it is progress. This year they have the second-best quarterback in the division and what should be an improved rushing game. The rush defense will be better, and if their injury situation goes from horrible to normal, they should add enough wins to finish second or maybe be in position to win it if the Eagles falter. They will have to improve against the division. The 1-5 record they posted last year isn’t going to cut it.
Cowboys, $20—I debated whether I should flip the bets on Dallas and Washington right up until I hit the “publish” button on this post. In the last five seasons, the Redskins have one win over the Cowboys in a meaningful game (I’m excluding the 2015 season finale). Washington won’t finish ahead of the Cowboys if they go 0-2 against them, but all of that is history and the Cowboys look vulnerable this year. Was Dak Prescott’s drop of over two yards in adjusted net yards per attempt last year a sophomore slump, a reflection of the loss of Ezekiel Elliott for six games, reverting to his true level of talent, or a combination of all of those? And will he be able to rebound without Dez Bryant and, particularly, Jason Witten?
Giants, $10—I might be underrating the Giants here. At least they won’t have Ben McAdoo talking about “February practice” before the season starts. Pat Shurmer is an upgrade at head coach, but he won’t set the world on fire right off the bat. Certainly, the return of Odell Beckham will make Shurmer’s job easier as will the addition of rookie Saquan Barkley. But it doesn’t look like their defense is getting any better, and even with those weapons, I don’t see the Eli-led Giants winning many shootouts. The Giants will be better than last year, but they are still likely to be looking up at the rest of the division.
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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The post on quarterbacks yesterday brought up the topic of Mark Brunell’s status in Redskins lore.
I’m going to set the bar for “legend” somewhat higher than one memorable game. I’ll say he had a legendary performance, even though he was awful for the first 56 minutes of the game.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) May 8, 2018
—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 2
—OTAs start (5/22) 13
—Training camp starts (7/26) 78
The Redskins last played a game 129 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 123 days.
In case you missed it
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- Can the Redskins contain Aaron Rodgers in Week 3?
- No tender from Redskins to Bashaud Breeland