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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 7 and 12 vs Cowboys

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 7 and 12 vs Cowboys

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against Cowboys. 

Week 7 October 21, FedEx Field

Week 12 Thanksgiving, November 22, AT&T Stadium

2017 Cowboys: 9-7, second in NFC East 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 8.5

Early line: Week 7 Redskins -1, Week 12 Cowboys -6

Key additions: LB Leighton Vander Esch, WR Allen Hurns

Key losses: WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten, LB Anthony Hitchens, G Jonathan Cooper

Notable: Witten retired shortly after the draft to become the lead analyst on Monday night football and Bryant was cut a month after free agency started.

Biggest questions: 

  • How will quarterback Dak Prescott respond to the loss of his security blanket tight end Witten?
  • And regardless of the availability of his targets, is Prescott more like the QB he was his rookie year (7.3 adjusted net yard/attempt) or what he was last year (6.0 ANY/A)?
  • Was the 14.5-sack season by Demarcus Lawrence, who had nine sacks in his first three years on the league, a contract-year fluke or something he can produce consistently?

Series history

Cowboys lead all-time series 70-44-2; Dallas has won the last four in a row and six of the last seven.

Series notables

The first time: October 9, 1960, Griffith Stadium—Ralph Guglielmi completed just 10 passes, but they were good for 257 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins’ win. Bobby Khayat provided the margin of the 26-14 victory by kicking four field goals.

The last time: November 30, 2017, AT&T Stadium—The wheels were starting to fall off of the 2017 Redskins when they took the field for this Thursday night game. The Cowboys, who had scored a total of just 22 points in their previous three games, scored 17 unanswered in the second quarter to take command of the game. They were able to keep the Redskins at arm’s length the rest of the way thanks in no small part to old friend Alfred Morris rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown. The game was really as close as the 38-17 final indicated. 

The best time: NFC Championship Game, January 22, 1983, RFK Stadium—Looking to avenge their only defeat of the year and advance to Super Bowl XVII, the Redskins jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead over the hated Cowboys on the strength of John Riggins’ running and Joe Theismann’s passing. Adding to the delight of the frenzied crowd was the fact that Dexter Manley had knocked Danny White, Dallas’ starting quarterback, out of the game and any Cowboy comeback would have to come from the arm of the untested Gary Hogeboom. 

There were echoes of Clint Longley as Hogeboom moved his team up and down the field and Dallas cut the home team’s lead to 21-17 going into the fourth quarter. It would take two key defensive plays put the Redskins in the Super Bowl.

The first, less remembered play was Mel Kauffman’s leaping, over-the-shoulder interception of a Hogeboom pass that set up a 29-yard Mark Moseley field goal. The seven-point lead was better, but the crowd was still uneasy. Relief—and ecstasy—would come on Dallas' next play from scrimmage.

From the Dallas 20, Darryl Grant sensed a screen pass, a play that had worked well for Dallas earlier in the game. He stopped rushing and drifted off to the right side, around the 10 yard line. Manley, sensing another quarterback kill, went right after Hogeboom and tipped his pass high in the air. Grant caught it and high-stepped the 10 yards into the end zone as a roar of sonic boom proportions exploded from the RFK stands. That made the final Redskins 31, Cowboys 14

The worst time: November 5, 1989, RFK Stadium—The Cowboys came into Washington winless in its previous eight games and they would not win another game the rest of the season. But the Redskins let Paul Palmer run wild as the Dallas back gained 110 yards on 18 carries, including a 47-yard jaunt to set up the game’s only touchdown in Dallas’ 13-3 win.

“It’s a real low point for us,” Joe Gibbs said afterward, speaking not only for himself and the team but Redskins fans everywhere. The loss turned out to be especially brutal as the Redskins finished the season 10-6 but out of the playoffs on tiebreakers. 

Redskins schedule series

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Three up, three down
- The draft: Grading the Redskins' draft
- The future: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- The buzz: Redskins part ways with long-time executive

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

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

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


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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 

Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

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

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Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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