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Need to Know: What can the Redskins learn from this weekend's playoff games?

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Need to Know: What can the Redskins learn from this weekend's playoff games?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 15, 58 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 50
—NFL Draft (4/26) 101
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 237

What the Redskins can learn from the divisional playoffs

The Redskins were eliminated long before the divisional playoffs but they still can benefit from what happened. Here is one thing they can learn from each game played.

Run the ball even if you’re not running it very well—The Eagles started out like they were going to run for 250 yards with Jay Ajayi running all over the Falcons defense. They ran 16 times in the first half with an average of 4.8 yards per carry. In the second half, their average dropped to 1.2 per attempt. But they ran it 16 times, the same number of attempts as they did when it was working well. That allowed them to control the clock and set up those run-pass option plays that gave Nick Foles what he needs—wide open receivers. The 2017 Redskins were better about not abandoning the run than in years past but there were too many times when they went pass happy.

When you get a break, use it to kill your opponent—The Titans were tied with the Patriots 7-7 in the second quarter and it appeared that had a good drive going until a third-down completion to Eric Decker was negated by a highly questionable offensive pass interference call. Tennessee had to punt and six plays later the Patriots scored a TD and they had the lead for good. Later in the first half, the Patriots were punting from their own 14 but an offside penalty let them continue the drive. They drove all the way into the end zone to essentially end the game. The Redskins rarely take advantage of breaks and opponent mistakes. In a league where the talent levels are close, the ability to be opportunistic can make a big difference.

Be able to do whatever it takes to win—On wild-card weekend, the Jaguars were presented with an ugly game against the Bills. They struggled offensively, putting just 10 points on the board, but they survived and advanced. Against the Steelers, they scored 45 points and they needed every one of them. That ability to win the game no matter how it plays out is critical in the postseason and it’s not an ability the Redskins possess. They won just one game while scoring under 20 points and they scored 30 or more twice, both in losses.

Don’t ever give up—Miracles do happen. The Vikings’ win probably was somewhere around 0.1 percent when they lined up at their own 25 with 25 seconds left. But they kept on giving themselves a chance and on their last chance, they came through. Against the Chargers in Week 14, the Redskins faced long odds when they were down big with about three minutes left to play. But after a Bashaud Breeland interception return for a touchdown, they had a chance to make it a two-score game at 30-14 with a two-point conversion. The two-pointer and an onside kick recovery would have given the Redskins a 1.1 percent win probability. However, Jay Gruden, citing injuries and the very long odds, elected to kick the PAT. In essence, he gave up. The point is not that they were going to win the game, but by giving up, Gruden sent the wrong message to his team, one that will not serve them well the next time they encounter a very tough situation like the one the Vikings faced.

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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Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Those who are worried about Derrius Guice's character picked up some added evidence when, on Monday night, the Redskins rookie invited a bunch of fans to watch Avengers with him in Ashburn.

Man, what is this guy's deal?

First of all, not everyone likes superheroes. So how did he know that those who joined him actually wanted to see Avengers?  Did he even ask? What if they wanted to see that really successful, really funny, really well-regarded Amy Schumer comedy, instead?

Then, there's the issue of Guice buying tickets and concessions for those who showed up.

Some people enjoy buying movie tickets — which are absolutely reasonably priced these days — and, as far as the concessions, seriously? Candy? Popcorn? He could've at least offered to buy something healthier, like broccoli. All movie theaters have broccoli.  

Thankfully, those who took Guice up on his invitation weren't grateful for the experience at all, which hopefully means this will be the last time he orchestrates a dastardly deed like this one:

At this point, it's a surprise Guice didn't slide even farther down in the draft, like to the 15th round. Unbelievable.

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Redskins G Arie Kouandjio likely out for the season

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Redskins G Arie Kouandjio likely out for the season

The news about Arie Kouandjio’s quad injury didn’t sound good when NBC Sports Washington broke it a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t sound any better when Jay Gruden said that they were seeking a second opinion. 

And now we have word that Kouandjio will be out for the season, per multiple media reports. While there was some initial hope that he might be able to play at some point this season, he is likely to be put on injured reserve soon. 

The corresponding move is expected to be the signing of guard Isaiah Williams, per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. He spent training camp with the Redskins in 2016 and 2017 before being released in the final cuts. Last year he also spent time with the Chiefs and the Colts but he has yet to appear in an NFL game. 

At worst, the Redskins have lost their starter at left guard. Kouandjio was set to compete with Shawn Lauvao for that job. Lauvao, who has been the starter at left guard going into the season for each of the last four years, would have been tough to unseat, but the 26-year-old Kouandjio may have had the inside track.

And at best, the Redskins lost experienced depth. Last year, when injuries hit hard along the offensive line, Kouandjio was re-signed and he started six games. It’s tough to lose experienced depth before the players even put pads on.

We will see if the Redskins make a move to shore up the guard position. Over the next couple of weeks, teams will be evaluating their veteran players and their rookies to see if they have younger and cheaper options. That could lead to some serviceable players getting released or some quality options being put on the trading block. 

The Redskins likely are set to get four compensatory draft picks in 2019, which would give them a total of 11 selections. They certainly could afford to deal one of those picks if they are offered a chance to upgrade at left guard. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

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.