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Around the NFL: Yes, Redskins fans, you should root for them again

Around the NFL: Yes, Redskins fans, you should root for them again

Yeah, it’s getting late. The Redskins need some help to get to the playoffs and here is my weekly Redskins-centric look around the NFL to tell you where they might get it from.  

Before we get started, here is where the teams with legitimate wild card hopes stand and their remaining schedules:

Giants (9-4): Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (8-5): @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (7-5-1): Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (7-6): Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (7-6): @Bears, Vikings, @Lions

—Let’s start with the end of the day, the Sunday night game with the Buccaneers at Dallas. The debate has ranged all week over who really is a Redskins fan and who is not depending on whether a person is going to root for the Cowboys to win or refuses to do so. I’m not a judge of who is a fan and who isn’t. But whether you choose to pump your fist when Dallas scores a touchdown or not, the Redskins are much better off if the Bucs lose. That would give the Redskins an opportunity to regain control in their push for the playoffs by putting them a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay with two games left to play.

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—The Packers head to frigid Chicago. The Redskins don’t have to worry about the Packers if they win out but a Green Bay loss could give them some breathing room. Aaron Rodgers is pretty used to the cold so the projected temperature of four degrees shouldn’t bother him. The Redskins head to Chicago next Saturday but according to the long-term forecast the weather conditions will be better.

—The Vikings, who also are a half game behind the Redskins at 7-6, host the Colts in Adrian Peterson’s return to the field. It remains to be seen how much Peterson will play but the Vikings’ rushing game sure could use a boost. They are averaging 2.95 yards per rushing attempt. If that holds for the season it would be the fourth-lowest team rushing average since the merger.

—Those who just can’t even bear to root for the Cowboys’ opponent to lose, hope for the 49ers to pull off the upset at Atlanta. The Falcons have the same 8-5 record as the Bucs but they are ahead on the better record in common games tiebreaker. If the Falcons falter the Redskins could pull back into playoff position with a win on Monday night. An Atlanta loss seems unlikely given the Niners’ 1-12 record but it seems like a big spoiler upset like this would be happens every year. 

—A loss by the Giants to the Lions also would give the Redskins control over whether or not they make the playoffs. Washington would still be a half game behind New York but they could catch up in the season finale on New Year’s Day. There could be some advantages to a Lions loss if it is the start of them losing out the rest of the way (after tomorrow @Cowboys, Packers) but that’s a little complex. The more straightforward route is to have the Giants lose.

—So your Sunday rooting guide is: Cowboys (if you choose, I’m not judging), Bears, Colts, 49ers, and Lions.

—Some think that the Redskins will benefit if the Panthers are eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday. The Panthers could come out deflated if their defense of their NFC championship is officially over 24 hours before kickoff. The Panters will be out of the playoffs if either the Packers or the Vikings win. So even though Redskins fans should be rooting for the opposite outcome in those games, there may be some small consolation there if it doesn't happen. 

—I split last week, winning with the Falcons giving six to the Rams and the Redskins giving one to the Eagles and losing outright with favorites Cowboys and Seahawks. I have five games this week with the Patriots -3 at Denver, the Ravens -6 at home against the Eagles, the Packers giving 5.5 at Chicago, the Texans -6 at home over the Jaguars, and the Raiders -3 at San Diego.

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Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season. In episode 1 titled "The Future Starts Now" the Redskins begin their journey toward improvement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

The episode begins immediately following the disappointing end to Washington's season as players participated in locker cleanout day. A somewhat somber atmosphere, the likes of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams reflect on the season and look ahead to 2019.

Following that, it's on to the additions and changes on the coaching staff. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on new defensive staff hirings Ray Horton and Rob Ryan as well as Kevin O'Connell's jump to offensive coordinator. Ryan and O'Connell also explain their excitement for next season in their respective roles.

With the coaching staff puzzle becoming clear, the episode transitions to the NFL Combine. Gruden along with Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, President Bruce Allen and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith take you through the Combine process. Discussions about the interview process and what the Redskins are looking for in players give insight into how evaluations are done. 

The Combine portion has a heavy focus on players Kyler Murray, D.K. Metcalf and Montez Sweat among others. Released on March 20, one can see and hear from Sweat before the idea of him becoming a Redskin came to fruition and listen to Metcalf's thoughts on Jay Gruden.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Englehart also makes an appearance, discussing his viral moment with Ed Oliver at the combine and the fraternity-type bond conditioning coaches in the NFL share.

Washington's journey toward success in 2019 began the moment the clock ran out on the 2018 season. Episode 1 of "Redskins365" picks up right in that preliminary stage.

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Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

Trent Williams will not report to training camp this week when the Redskins head to Richmond to officially begin their 2019 season, according to NFL Network.

The news comes as no surprise, as Williams missed all of the Redskins voluntary offseason workouts and skipped the team's mandatory minicamp in June. Reports streamed out that Williams was upset about his contract and looking for a new deal -- not to mention reports that he was angry with the team's medical staff after a missed diagnosis with a growth on his scalp. 

Williams has made no official statements, and the Redskins organization offered very little in terms of a timeline for his return. Washington team president Bruce Allen said he knows "the truth" about Williams' situation, and head coach Jay Gruden said he hoped things would be resolved before Week 1 in Philadelphia. 

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Williams is arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. He's an immensely talented offensive lineman with two years remaining on his deal. Beyond the medical situation, Williams could be upset that in 2020, the final year of his deal, there is hardly any guaranteed cash. The team could release Williams with less than $2 million in salary cap penalty and save nearly $13 million against the cap. 

Without Williams, the Redskins could be in real trouble. Second-year pro Geron Christian did not seem capable of playing at a starting tackle level last fall, and that was before a knee injury landed him on IR. Morgan Moses should be locked in as the right tackle, but opposite him in Williams' spot will be dicey. 

Multiple sources with the Redskins and around the NFL suggested more cash could change Williams' mind before Week 1, and for now, it looks like the 31-year-old will be waiting for that increased payday. If Williams missed actual games, he would begin to lose money from this year's $14 million salary.

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