Redskins

Quick Links

Bold Predictions Part 2--Survive and Advance

Bold Predictions Part 2--Survive and Advance

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
Let’s get some facts straight here.

First, it’s a fact that Mike Alstott did not get over the goal line before he was down by contact on the Bucs’ two-point conversion attempt that won the Week 10 meeting between the Redskins and the Bucs. You can review the indisputable visual evidence presented here at the time, but everybody knows that the referees erred both in the original call and in their failure to reverse it after reviewing it on replay.

It is not a fact, however, that the Redskins would have won the division and gained a first-round bye had the play been called correctly. We know how the rest of that game would have unfolded—the Redskins recover the onside kick and kneel down a couple of times to take the game.

Had the Redskins received the “W” that they earned in that game, however, we don’t know how that would have affected the dynamic of the rest of the season. Had they moved to 6-3, the sense of determined desperation that has marked the last five games likely would have been absent. Maybe they would have lost their focus and dropped that game to the Cardinals in the desert or perhaps they wouldn’t have come out quite as fired up for the Giants game. They may have wound up 11-5, but they also could have wound up 10-6 or 9-7 or something else. And even if they had finished at 11-5, the Bears would likely have put more effort into their season finale against the Vikings and Chicago would have taken the #2 seed anyway. While it’s possible that the Tampa loss cost the Redskins a home game or even a bye, it’s not a fact.

Regardless of all that, it’s a fact that the Redskins are where they are and that’s at Tampa Bay again on Saturday. As the sixth seed, the Redskins are supposed to have the toughest draw in the first round of the playoffs. Instead, they could not have handpicked a better opponent.

Chris Simms had the day of his brief NFL career the first time the teams played. He threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a gaudy QB rating of 119.8. He wasn’t sacked; for that matter, he barely even hit.

It will be different this time around.

First of all, the Redskins defense was without Cornelius Griffin and Sean Taylor the last time the two teams met. The absence of the former had a lot to do with the zero sacks, while Taylor certainly would have helped in coverage. Yes, Shawn Springs is likely to miss the game but Carlos Rogers is back and a starting cornerback tandem of Rogers and Walt Harris is decent enough to get the job done.

The Redskins have something that might be just as valuable as the two players who are back—film. That Week 10 contest was just Simms’ third NFL career start. The Redskins didn’t have much to go on when it came to breaking down his tendencies and finding his weaknesses.

Washington now not only has film to work with, they have film of him being successful against the very defense that he’ll be facing on Saturday. From Simms’ point of view, there is no reason to change a thing. A quarterback making his first playoff start certainly is going to have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. He will be very fortunate if his rating is half of what it was the first time.

Cadillac Williams won’t beat them either. Tiki and LT ran against the Redskins this year and Tatum Bell popped a couple of long ones. Nobody else, not Alexander, not Jones (Thomas or Julius), not Jordan, not Westbrook, not Tiki the second time around, ran on the Skins. Cadillac won’t either, and that will worsen Simms’ problems.

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins will face the league’s #1 defense and this is where the game will be decided. Certainly, the same theory that applies to the Redskins defense having film on Simms applies to Tampa Bay having a good bead on what the Redskins will do as they put up 35 points last game. The Redskins will have to beat them physically and that is a very tall order.

It’s a tall order, but not an impossible feat. It took the Redskins a half to find out that the way to deal with Simeon Rice is to run right at him and they’ll employ that tactic from the beginning this time around. The tried and true formula of the run setting up the pass will let Santana Moss get open. That won’t happen often, mind you, but it will happen just enough. With the defense doing its part against Simms and company, it won’t take much.

It won’t be pretty and it won’t be for the faint of heart, but the Redskins will survive and advance.

Washington 17, Tampa Bay 13

Quick Links

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

gibbs_retirement_1993_ap.png
Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

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

 

Quick Links

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

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

Tandler on Twitter

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

In case you missed it