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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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In case you missed it

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If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

One of the best linebackers of the last decade, Luke Kuechly retired from football this week in a move that stunned many. For years Kuechly has dealt with injuries, including multiple concussions, and decided his body could not withstand anymore life in the NFL. 

Or at least being on the field. 

A new NFL Network report suggested that Kuechly could be looking to stay in the game in a coaching or consulting role, and that it could happen this season. 

"I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL. As a player we have," Mike Garafolo said on Good Morning Football.

The natural question for Redskins fans becomes if Kuechly could land in Washington. New Redskins coach Ron Rivera was with the Panthers when the team drafted Kuechly ninth overall in 2012, and the duo worked closely together. It's been widely reported that Kuechly and Rivera have a strong relationship too. 

When Kuechly announced his retirement, Rivera took to Twitter to compare the linebacker to Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. Rivera also said he "will remember Luke’s sense of humor, his leadership & 4 being a great teammate."

The Redskins recently announced their assistant coaches and linebackers coach Steve Russ worked with Kuechly for the past two seasons in Carolina. There is no assistant linebackers coach on the staff, but that's a role that could be created. There are few rules about assistant coaches in the NFL; for example, last season the Redskins employed an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach because they played a 3-4 system. This year the team will play the 4-3. 

It's unclear what role Kuechly would want, and while the connection to Rivera is obvious, so is the connection to Carolina. 

"Certainly the Panthers would love to have him be a part of their organization in some capacity," Garafolo said. 

What happens next for Kuechly remains unknown. He just retired from football a few days ago. He might need time to make his next series of decisions. 

Based on Rivera's actions so far as the new Redskins boss, however, it would not be a surprise at all if the head coach tries to get Kuechly to Washington. Rivera has hired just about everyone else that was with the Panthers in the last decade; why not add one more?

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team underperformed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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