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Week 16 Redskins vs. Broncos: Two teams fighting over one quarterback?

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Week 16 Redskins vs. Broncos: Two teams fighting over one quarterback?

Christmas Eve might be the time to revel with friends and family, but for the Redskins, it's time for football. Washington welcomes the Denver Broncos to town on Sunday, and neither side has much of anything at stake. 

The 6-8 Redskins' playoff chances ended weeks ago, and the same for the 5-9 Broncos. That doesn't mean the players won't go hard and the coaches won't focus on winning. Remember, football is not a game that can be played at half speed. 

For Washington to win, the team needs to play a similar game to last weekend's victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Here's the deep dive:

  1. That's my quarterback - Most Redskins fans hate that Sunday could be Kirk Cousins' final home game wearing Burgundy and Gold, but that's the reality. The situation isn't new, Cousins is now playing on his third one-year deal in a row. Still, this could be the end at FedEx Field, and it's entirely possible the Broncos will be scouting. Denver has one of the top defenses in the NFL led by Von Miller, and an offense with good skill position players, particularly WR Demaryius Thomas. What do the Broncos need? A quarterback. If Cousins hits the open market, which is no guarantee, John Elway might have his Denver organization poised to make a run at the Redskins franchise record holder for passing yards in a season. 
  2. Do it again - Last week the Redskins beat a Cardinals team with a strong defense and a terrible offense. The Broncos come in with similar bonafides. Denver gives up the least yards in the NFL, while their offense ranks 24th in the league in points scored. Whatever quarterback starts for the Broncos, Paxton Lynch or Brock Osweiler, neither will be much of a threat. Osweiler played well last week in a win over the Colts, but the larger track record points to turnovers and inaccuracy. Denver comes into this game winners of two straight, and perhaps, with some momentum. 
  3. No special gifts - It's been a tough season for the Redskins special teams. Perhaps that was best illustrated last week against Arizona when a kickoff landed short and the Cardinals recovered the ball. Not an onside kick, an actual kickoff. The simplest rule of special teams is to understand a kickoff is a live football and must be handled. That's a Football 101 mistake, and while the ball took an absurd bounce, it simply cannot happen. 

Quote of the Week: Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, asked about Kirk Cousins:

He's an elite quarterback. 

News & Notes:

  • If the Redskins win on Sunday they will end the season with a 5-3 record at FedEx Field, just their sixth winning home record since 2000.
  • If Ryan Kerrigan records a sack on Sunday, that will mark back-to-back 10-sack seasons, the first time in his career. 
  • Kirk Cousins has thrown for less than 200 yards passing in consecutive games, which had never previously occurred since he became starter in 2015. 
  • With four receptions, Vernon Davis will pass Jeremy Shockey for ninth place all-time among NFL tight ends. 
  • Redskins have the opportunity for their first back-to-back wins since Weeks 2 and 3.

Want more? Listen up!

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job. 

Except he didn't. 

O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning. 

Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected. 

How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?

Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018. 

Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part. 

Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm. 

Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason. 

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 17, nine days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass catchers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass catchers are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 receiving yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teams and quarterbacks

Julio Jones, Falcons—Somehow the perception is that he had an off year in 2017 even though he still had 1,444 yards receiving. His touchdowns were down; his total of three TDs was a career worst for a full season. Still, he’s a beast to try to cover and even if you have him perfectly covered he can still make the catch on you. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Despite working with some shaky quarterbacks, Hopkins has managed to gain over 1,100 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. He is a highlight show regular and his 13 touchdowns led the league in 2017. 

Michael Thomas, Saints—The third-year player doesn’t have high name recognition outside of New Orleans and maybe fans of the other NFC South teams. Defensive coordinators certainly don’t sleep on him. Thomas is as consistent as they come, posting nine games with 80 or more receiving yards last season. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—I keep wondering when he will show signs of his age (he’ll be 35 before the season starts). He didn’t last year, posting 109 receptions despite the fact that his quarterbacks were an aging Carson Palmer plus journeymen Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers—At 6-5, he is able to physically beat most cornerbacks. Evans will turn 25 just before the season starts and he got a five-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He is worth every bit of it. If Jameis Winston gets a big contract (something that is up in the air right now), he owes a good chunk of it to Evans. 

Best of the rest: T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Davante Adams, Packers; Alvin Kamara (RB), Saints; Zach Ertz (TE), Eagles

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 9
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 23
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 46

The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 54 days. 

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