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The 2015 Redskins were what their record said they were

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The 2015 Redskins were what their record said they were

As the Redskins’ 2015 season starts to fade into the distance there is some revisionist history going on out there.

“If only the Redskins had pulled out those games they should have won, the close losses to the Cowboys and Dolphins at home and at the Falcons, they might still be playing,” some fans and other observers are saying.

Certainly, they had the upper hand against the Cowboys, about to get possession late in a tie game, before DeSean Jackson decided that he had to make a big play and ended up fumbling. In the season opener the Dolphins were begging to be beaten until they finally won on a punt return for a touchdown. And it sure looked like the Redskins were driving for a winning touchdown in overtime in Atlanta when Ryan Grant slipped and Kirk Cousins’ pass was picked off and run back the other way to give the Falcons the win.

The “if only” crowd adds these games to the Redskins’ win total and all of a sudden they are 12-4 and a top contender for the NFC title.

But let’s pump the brakes here. In fact, let’s slam them. The 2015 Redskins were what their record said they were. The notion that they were really a 12-win team does not stand up under scrutiny.

If you’d like, you can say they were unlucky to lose to the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Falcons. But they had some pretty good fortune in at least three of their wins, too. In Week 4 at FedEx Field Caleb Sturgis of the Eagles missed a 33-yard field goal and an extra point in a game the Redskins rallied to win by three. The Redskins deserve a lot of credit for rallying from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Bucs but Tampa Bay gave them some help along the way, particularly the six personal foul penalties they committed. And Robbie Gould of the Bears missed a 50-yard field goal in the late going to help the Redskins avoid overtime in their win in Chicago. And they needed a kind of fluky bounce and catch by Matt Jones to convert a third down and continue to kill the clock (never mind that Jones almost lost the ball). 

Looking at the individual games is the micro picture. For the macro picture, let’s look at the point differential. The Redskins outscored their opponents by nine points. That is the mark of a team within a game of .500. There were 11 teams that won 10 games or more and the lowest point differential among those teams was the Packers at plus-45. On average the 11 teams with double-digit wins outscored their opponents by 115 points.

So Redskins fans should set aside the “if only” when discussing the 2015 season. Be happy for a solid step in the right direction, a nice turnaround, and an unexpected playoff berth. It turned out the way it should have. 

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Crazy amount of injuries piling up for Redskins 2018 draft class

Crazy amount of injuries piling up for Redskins 2018 draft class

Overall, the Redskins injury situation is again bordering on the absurd. In 2017 injuries derailed the defense, and in 2018, the same thing is happening on the offensive side of the ball. 

The big names are the most obvious losses, guys like Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson too. 

But beyond the big names, an even more absurd injury trend has emerged, and it's wrecking the Redskins' 2018 draft class.

First-round pick Daron Payne has been terrific for this team, but after that, the Redskins rookies have all landed in the trainers room, and eventually, the injured reserve. 

  • Derrius Guice - 2nd round pick - IR - Out for year in preseason
  • Geron Christian - 3rd round pick - IR - Played two games before going to IR Week 11.
  • Troy Apke - 4th round pick - IR - Played two games before going to IR Week 9.
  • Trey Quinn - 7th round pick - IR - Played in season opener before going to IR, eligible to come back as early as this week.
  • Cam Sims - Undrafted free agent - IR - Played in season opener before going to IR. Last update Jay Gruden said that Sims was not ready to return from injury. 
     

It's never wise to rush to judge a draft class. Players need to mature over a few NFL seasons.

For the 2018 class, however, it's hard to gauge their performance since the Redskins have gotten so little on-field production.

Payne has been terrific, but outside of his stellar play on the defensive line and the work from seventh-round pick Greg Stroman and undrafted free agent Danny Johnson, the 'Skins aren't getting much from their rookies.

Christian and Apke did not look good in the limited work they got. After flashing plenty of potential in training camp, Guice got hurt in the preseason. The Redskins could use help at WR, but Quinn and Sims haven't done it so far. Quinn will get a chance to come back, but Sims probably won't.

Beyond Payne and the two cornerbacks, other rookies Tim Settle, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Adonis Alexander are all playing small roles and helping the team. Stroman made his first career interception in Sunday's win over the Bucs, and Hamilton forced a fumble earlier this season. 

In some ways it's remarkable that Washington has performed so well this season while getting so little from valuable draft choices. It's a testament to the team's depth. And certainly rookie injuries don't mean the players won't become more valuable down the road. 

Still, add it all up, and it's astonishing that the Redskins have placed five rookies on the IR. And it's only Week 11. 

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Does Odell Beckham Jr. truly believe the Giants will rattle off 8 straight wins to make playoffs?

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Does Odell Beckham Jr. truly believe the Giants will rattle off 8 straight wins to make playoffs?

Prior to the Giants' Monday Night Football victory in San Francisco, Odell Beckham Jr. made a statement. He and the Giants backed it up...for now. 

"That's game one," he said after the game. "That means we have seven more to go."

That statement revolved around winning out which would mean the now 2-7 New York football Giants would have to rattle off wins against the Buccaneers, Eagles, Bears, Redskins, Titans, Colts and Cowboys to reach an overall record of 9-7. The 26-year-old is assuming that 9-7 would win New York the division, which certainly is a stretch being that the Redskins currently sit 6-3 atop the division comfortably.

Circle your calendars. Odell and the Giants come to FedExField Sunday, Dec. 9 for a 1 p.m. NFC East showdown. 

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