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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Dumb mistakes, Trent Williams on inconsistency

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Dumb mistakes, Trent Williams on inconsistency

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 13, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Talking points

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Will Josh Norman return in 2019? I have to say that I may have been premature in writing this. I did get a lot of questions about his future and what the cap consequences would be if the Redskins were to move on. But as a writer who tries to be careful of making conclusions based on a small sample size, perhaps I should have held off. Although if I had to bet now, I would say that he’ll be a cap casualty next year, but there is plenty of season left to change that narrative.

Tandler's five observations after the debacle in the dome—The worst aspect of the loss was all of the dumb mistakes the Redskins made, especially on defense. At the top of the list was Montae Nicholson’s unnecessary roughness penalty, but a bag full of blown coverages, blocking assignment mix-ups and missed open receivers contributed. I think that nearly every other NFL team would have lost to the Saints given that it was a big night for Drew Brees. But most would have been more competitive than the Redskins were. 

"An absolute embarrassment"—Ok, Jay. Go do something about it. 

Redskins have lost five straight to Panthers—I’m sure you’ve heard that the Redskins have not beaten a Panthers team quarterbacked by Cam Newton, losing all four times by double digits. Add one game before Newton arrived on the scene, and you have to go back to 2006 to find the last time the Redskins beat the Panthers.

Normally, I’d say that past results have very limited meaning. I don’t read too much into it, but I think that the Redskins have problems dealing with teams that are physical in nature, and the Panthers have had that identity going back to before Cam arrived. So, this goes into the “bad matchup” category, which spells trouble for the home team. 

Tweet of the week

The Redskins are 1-1 in their last two games, 2-2 this season, 3-3 in their last six games, and 5-5 in their last 10. Since Week 11 in 2016, they have three two-game winning streaks and five two-game losing streaks (including one that spanned two seasons). There have been no winning or losing streaks of longer than two games. They have been the very definition of mediocre. 

Trent’s full remarks on the topic of inconsistency are here on my Facebook page. He has the problem well diagnosed, but the solution escapes him, just like it does Jay Gruden and anyone else you might ask about it. 

Gruden used to have it figured out. The team had a four-game winning streak to close out the 2015 season, and another four-game streak from Week 3 through Week 6 in 2016. Since then, Gruden appears to have lost the formula to create more than a couple of consecutive wins. Unless he finds it, the Redskins are going to have a hard time finding their way back to relevance. 

The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 1 day; Cowboys @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Giants 15

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler is locked into the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Stopping the run, these 3-2 Redskins in a better spot

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Stopping the run, these 3-2 Redskins in a better spot

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 16, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

A better 3-2

For the third straight year, the Redskins are 3-2 after five games. As you know, they did not make the playoffs after either of the last two seasons. But they are in better shape in the standings now than they were in 2016 or 2017. Last year they were in second place in the division, a game and a half behind the 5-1 Eagles. They were worse off two years ago as they were in third place behind the 3-1 Eagles and the Cowboys, who were 4-1. 

It’s still very early, but it’s better to be in first place nearly a third of the way into the season than it is to be in second or third place and being in a position where you have to chase one or two teams. 

Take it away

The Redskins had three takeaways against the Panthers—the fumble recovery on the punt, Josh Norman’s interception, and the fumble forced by Norman and recovered by Mason Foster. They did not give the ball away. The last time they got at least three takeaways without giving the ball up was on Christmas Eve, 2016 in Chicago. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the last game in which Norman had an interception until Sunday. 

After being either even or in the positive in takeaway ratio in four of their five games this year, the Redskins are now tied for fourth in the NFL with a plus-four turnover margin. If they can stay on the even or plus side from week to week they will have a very good chance at being successful. 

Rushing D much improved

After finishing 32ndin the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2017, the Redskins are currently sixth, giving up an average of 90.2 yards per game. The improvement has come even though they have faced premiere running backs David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Christian McCaffrey. They have allowed no more than 104 yards on the ground in any of their five games. Last year's opponents ran for 127 yards or more 10 times. Their defense will be tested on Sunday against the Cowboys, who average 147 rushing yards per game on the ground, second in the NFL. 

Looking in the mirror

When the Redskins take a look at the Cowboys they might feel like they are watching themselves. Both teams run the ball well, although Ezekiel Elliott is more consistent than Adrian Peterson. Alex Smith has better passing stats than Dak Prescott but both teams are in the bottom third of the league in passing yards. The defenses on both teams are strong. Washington is sixth in yardage allowed per game and the Cowboys are fifth. 

And both teams have started off the season alternating wins and losses. Dallas started with a loss to the Panthers then beat the Giants, lost to the Seahawks, won over the Lions, suffered an OT loss to the Texans and then thumped the Giants. It will be an interesting match up on Sunday.

The agenda

Today: Off day, no media availability

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Giants 12; Redskins @ Eagles 48

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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