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Is there any way the Redskins can beat the 49ers? Here's the blueprint

Is there any way the Redskins can beat the 49ers? Here's the blueprint

On pace for an 0-16 year and statistically one of the worst teams ever through five games, the 2019 Miami Dolphins might be the worst team in NFL history. And the Redskins barely beat them. 

Turning the page to Sunday, Washington will face an undefeated 49ers team that excels at running the football on offense and getting after the quarterback on defense. San Francisco has won four of their games by double digits, and two of their victories came by 20+ points. The Redskins have one win by one point against Miami, and then four losses by double digits. 

By all logic and reason, the Redskins won't beat the 49ers. Vegas installed San Fran as a double-digit favorite even though they're on the East Coast for an early start. So, how can the Redskins win? Here's a blueprint. 

  1. Turn turnovers into scores - Usually a team with the plus/minus ratio of the 49ers doesn't have an undeafeted record. San Francisco is only +2 in turnovers, and in their last three games, the Niners have given up the ball seven times. The problem is the opposition isn't converting on those free possessions. In their last three games, despite seven turnovers, the Niners are giving up just 10 points-per-game. Jimmy Garapolo has five interceptions and four fumbles in five games. He's going to turn the ball over. What Washington's offense has to do is turn interceptions or fumbles into touchdowns. Touchdowns, not field goals. 
  2. Trust in Terry - If there's one area the 49ers defense is vulnerable, it's in the secondary. Sure interim Redskins coach Bill Callahan wants to commit to running the football, and that makes sense, but Washington should look to feed rookie WR Terry McLaurin early and often. In their closest game this year, a 24-20 victory over the Steelers, Pittsburgh WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dionate Johnson each got deep for long touchdown plays. If Callahan and offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell study that Steelers tape, and it's a good guess they have, deep shots to McLaurin need to be a big part of this gameplan. Callahan even hinted as much in a conversation with NBC Sports Washington, "Every game is different. This game coming up may be different than last week. We may take certain shots on certain downs and distances, and change our tendencies as we go forward. That's always fluid. I think that you are gameplan specific based on your opponent. Obviously, you want to take advantage of the things you can do."
  3. Muck it up - In the first half against the New England Patriots, the Redskins defense showed up in a big way. Washington's defense sacked Tom Brady three times and generally suffocated the Patriots offense. The effort didn't hold up in the second half, but Callahan has made clear that his team is focused on playing four full quarters. The weather could be bad Sunday, and maybe that will help too. The Redskins want this game to be ugly, and much of that will depend on their defensive line showing up strong. 

It's a long shot, but strange things happen in the NFL. The Redskins need big plays on offense and when turnovers do arrive, Washington needs to capitalize. 

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    After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

    After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

    The Redskins signed Paul Richardson in 2018 to be the deep threat the team lost when DeSean Jackson left via free agency after the 2016 season. It didn't work. 

    In two years with the Redskins, Richardson has 48 catches for 507 catches and four touchdowns, and both seasons finished with trips to the injured reserve. Washington, however, paid Richardson handsomely for his work.

    He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Redskins that guaranteed $12.5 million at signing. To date, he's made nearly $20 million despite never being the team's leading receiver. 

    Next year, Richardson will carry an $8.5 million salary cap number, but the team could get $2.5 million in cap relief if he's cut while taking a $6 million cap hit. The final two seasons of his contract have no guarantees and no cap number unless he plays.

    If the Redskins wait until after June 1st, 2020, to cut Richardson then the numbers flip. The team would save $6.5 million against the cap and Richardson's contract would only count $2 million against the cap. In fact, the team doesn't need to wait until summer to make the move, but rather can use the Post-June 1 designation that the NFL allows organizations to use to better their cap. This should be the obvious move. 

    Considering Washington has made a youth movement at receiver, with rookies Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims looking like the future, Richardson looks quite expendable. Especially considering the emergence of McLaurin as a potential elite wideout, both with deep speed and route running ability. 

    Redskins team president Bruce Allen signed Richardson, but it's hard to know who will be making calls for the organization in 2020. There is much speculation that Allen could be on the way out, and the team already fired head coach Jay Gruden in October. Interim head coach Bill Callahan is not expected to remain in that position next season. 

    If Richardson is cut, it's hard to look at the signing as anything but a disappointment. Big money for little production. That's not winning football. 

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    Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

    Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

    The Redskins are unlikely to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there is certainly a scenario where the teams that finish ahead of them would be in need of quarterbacks. If that’s the case, then Washington could be in line to select Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who’s widely considered to be the highest-graded player in the draft.

    But in an interview with TMZ, Young said his “plan” is to return to Ohio State for his senior year. Young set a school record with 16.5 sacks and counting this season despite missing two games due to suspension.

    The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, slated to face No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 for the right to play in the national championship. Ohio State hasn’t won the title since 2014, when Young was still in high school.

    It’s unknown whether he’d enter the draft if OSU wins it all. For now, Young’s draft status will be something for the Redskins—who will enter the offseason with a plethora of roster needs—to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

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