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2017 NFL Schedule Release: Redskins schedule includes 5 primetime games

2017 NFL Schedule Release: Redskins schedule includes 5 primetime games

After a long day of game-by-game leaks, the NFL released Washington's full schedule on Thursday. Fans have plenty to be excited about, and maybe complain, as the Redskins will play in five nationally televised primetime games, including consecutive Thursday night games in Weeks 12 and 13. 

The Redskins will open the 2017 season playing at home against NFC East foe Philadelphia. The 'Skins have beaten the Eagles in five straight contests, and will look to make it six when their season kicks off on September 10th at 1 p.m.

From there the Redskins will make their first of two trips to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. Former offensive coordinator Sean McVay took over the Rams head coaching job this offseason, and it will be an early opportunity to show his old team what they lost when the two sides matchup on September 17th.

Week 3 the 'Skins return home for their first primetime game, Sunday night September 24th against the Raiders. In Week 4, the Redskins will travel to Kansas City for a second straight primetime game, this one a Monday night affair against the Chiefs.

An early season Week 5 bye greets the 'Skins after back-to-back night games, and then in Week 6 the Redskins will welcome back another former offensive coordinator when Kyle Shanahan brings his San Francisco 49ers to FedEx Field on Sunday, October 15th. The team's third road game comes on another Monday night game, this time in Philadelphia on October 23rd. 

Six days later on Sunday, October 29th, the 'Skins will host the Cowboys. Dallas swept Washington last season, winning at FedEx Field in Week 2 and beating the 'Skins on Thanksgiving Day. 

Another West Coast trip comes up next, as Washington travels to Seattle for a contest on Sunday, November 5th. That will mark the halfway point of the season for the Skins.

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The second half of the slate starts with a home game against Minnesota, scheduled for Sunday, November 12th. One week later, the Redskins travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on the 19th.

The franchise will host its first-ever Thanksgiving home game on November 23rd against the New York Giants. The team will play a second consecutive Thursday night game one week later in Dallas on November 30th. That's right: Back-to-back Thursday night games.

Following the consecutive Thursday night games, the Redskins again travel to Los Angeles, this time to face the Chargers. The game is scheduled at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday December 10th.

Weeks 15 and 16 mark the first time all season that Washington will host consecutive home games. In Week 15 the Cardinals come to town (Dec. 17, 1 p.m.) and on Christmas Eve the Broncos will visit FedEx Field for a 1 p.m. start.

The season finale comes on the road at the Meadowlands against the Giants. Last season, the Redskins lost to the Giants in Week 17 to be kicked out of the playoffs. This year, Washington might get the chance to exact revenge. 

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The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

Jamison Crowder's final season with the Redskins was injury-shortened and disappointing, so when the team ultimately let him leave and sign a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Jets, there wasn't much pushback.

When Crowder takes the field this Sunday for the Washington-New York matchup, however, plenty of people on the home side will likely wish the receiver was doing so in Burgundy and Gold as opposed to Gotham Green.

The fifth-year pro has 48 catches in 2019 so far, which is 16 more than the Redskins' top target, Terry McLaurin, has hauled in. And if you want to compare Crowder to Trey Quinn, the guy who mans the slot now that Crowder's gone, Crowder has twice as many catches and nearly 300 more yards (486 to 189) than his replacement.

"Anytime we need a big play, he comes up with it," Jets coach Adam Gase said this week. "He's been very quarterback friendly."

Crowder will never be someone who generates a ton of game-changing plays — his yards-per-catch this year is 10.1 and his career average is 11.6 — but quarterback friendly is a perfect way to describe his game and it's a valuable quality, too.

His catch rate, for example, is 73.8-percent, a number that reflects how well he gets open and how much trust his signal callers have in him.

For an offense like Washington's, a unit that hasn't found the end zone in a month, one that is incapable of sustaining drives and one that's devoid of any dangerous wideouts beyond McLaurin, Crowder would make an enormous difference.

"Jamison, when he was here, was productive, outstanding," Bill Callahan told reporters on Thursday. 

Of course, the Redskins didn't just carelessly allow Crowder to depart without having a plan in place to fill in for him. They didn't want to compensate him at that price level and instead hoped a younger draft pick would mitigate the loss, which is what organizations do all the time.

Their plan, unfortunately, just hasn't succeeded.

Jay Gruden and Ike Hilliard were supremely optimistic in Quinn's ability to step up in his second campaign and become a legit threat, and while Callahan praised Quinn's versatility and dependability on Thursday, he just hasn't emerged as any kind of difference maker.

Quinn is far from the only pass catcher who's faltering for the Redskins, sure, but his catch rate is just 58.5-percent despite the fact that he's not running many deep routes. Coaches love his reliable hands, yet those hands aren't translating into enough completions.

Crowder likely won't have that issue in his return to FedEx Field in Week 11, by the way. Greg Manusky's defense allows an NFL-high 78.9-percent completion rate to slot receivers, and No. 82 is coming in off of two strong efforts.

That means you can expect Crowder to stand out versus his old teammates, while also reminding the franchise as a whole of a very simple truth: You get what you pay for. Washington chose not to pay for Crowder, and now, their slogging offense is largely paying for that choice.

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It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

It's time for Dwayne Haskins to start matching the production of his rookie QB peers

The Redskins made Dwayne Haskins the third quarterback taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft when Washington selected the former Ohio State star 15th overall. 

So far, he's only got one start, and the numbers were pedestrian. He completed 68 percent of his passes with no touchdowns or interceptions though he ended up with just 144 pass yards. The Redskins didn't give Haskins many chances to throw the ball downfield, and besides that, there was a fierce wind blowing in Buffalo that day which hampered both offenses. 

That said, it's time to let Haskins take some chances. A quick glance around the NFL shows that Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones are both averaging more than 220 pass yards-per-game, but so is Gardner Minshew, the only other rookie QB with at least two starts.

Here's a look at those three quarterbacks numbers so far this year:

  • Kyler Murray (1st overall) | 64 percent completion, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, 255 pass yards-per-game | 3-6-1 in 10 starts
  • Daniel Jones (6th overall) | 63 percent completion, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 220 pass yards-per-game | 2-6 in 8 starts
  • Gardner Minshew (178th overall) | 61 percent completion, 13 TDs, 4 INTs, 254 pass yards-per-game | 4-4 in 8 starts

Based on the data, the numbers actually look fairly similar. All three rookie passers with significant experience are able to move the ball and score TDs, and none are throwing that many interceptions. 

For Haskins, it's tough to extrapolate too much from his first two appearances. He was bad in both, throwing four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts. But both games were relief appearances  - against the Giants and the Vikings - and came on the road with his team trailing. 

Sunday's contest against the Jets should look quite different. It's Haskins' first-ever start at FedEx Field, his second start of the year, and against a Jets defense that allowed Jones to throw more than 300 yards with four TDs last week. 

Jones, Minshew and Murray all impressed in their second start of the season:

  • Kyler Murray (Week 2 loss @ Baltimore) - 25 of 40 for 62.5 percent | 0 TDs 0 INTs | 349 pass yards
  • Daniel Jones (Week 4 win vs Redskins) - 23 of 31 for 74 percent | 1 TD 2 INTs | 225 yards
  • Gardner Minshew ( Week 3 win vs Titans)  - 20 of 30 for 66.6 percent | 2 TDs 0 INTs | 204 yds

Right or wrong, the bar has been set low for Haskins amid early season reports he was having trouble learning the offense and getting coaches trust. Haskins denied any of that, but on Sunday, it won't matter.

By the Jets game, Haskins will have been the Redskins QB1 for more than three weeks. He's talked about his growth in the offense and the coaches have too. This will be his second start and he's had two weeks to prepare for the New York defense.  

It's time for Haskins to put up some numbers, at least on par with what other rookie passers have done so far this year. The young passer seems ready for the moment, he just needs to seize it. 

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