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Can the Redskins sustain the success they had vs. the Raiders?

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Can the Redskins sustain the success they had vs. the Raiders?

The Redskins and their fans thoroughly enjoyed the team’s domination of the Raiders on Sunday night football.

As spectators’ voices return to normal and the team’s high settles into the routine of getting ready for the next game, it will be time to wonder what’s next?

Is what the Redskins did last night sustainable? Or will it end up being one of a few pleasant memories during another frustrating campaign?

There is no crystal ball that can give us the answer here.

The NFL is a week-to-week league and we often see a team show up for one game that bears little resemblance to the one who puts on the uniform the following week.

But there were some common traits from the Redskins’ last two games, both wins, that will help them going forward. Among them are:

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE BIG WIN

— Speed on defense — In particular, the additions of linebacker Zach Brown and rookie safety Montae Nicholson have given the Redskins a dimension they have lacked in the last several seasons. They say that speed doesn’t take a game off; it’s always there. If Nicholson and Brown show up for every game this year the defense has a chance to be great on a given day.

— Pass rush — The Redskins have at least one sack in their last 27 games and they have at least two sacks in every game this year. Pass defense starts with pass pressure and while the rush hasn’t been dominant throughout those 27 games, often they at least get some hurries and hits on the quarterback and over time those are nearly as effective as sacks. In that 27-game sack streak, the Redskins are 16-10-1, a .611 winning percentage.

— Quality cornerback play — Per Pro Football Focus, in three games Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland have played a combined 116 snaps in pass coverage and have allowed a total of 10 receptions for 117 yards. Throw in nickel corner Kendall Fuller, who has an interception and a forced fumble on his ledger, and you have a group that can limit the damage done by opposing wide receivers. That often forces teams out of their comfort zones.

— Pass protection — Kirk Cousins has been the starting quarterback since the start of the 2015 season. In those 35 regular season games, he has been sacked zero or one time in 19 of those contests. If your quarterback has time, you have a chance.

RELATED: SOME AMAZING NUMBERS FROM THE REDSKINS’ WIN

— A good running game — For right now, this is the most problematic element of their recent success. Running the ball depends on, well, running the ball. If Jay Gruden sticks with it, the running game can help the team dominate time of possession and help the defense by keeping them off the field. Their ability to keep the ball on the ground is dependent on Cousins picking up third downs when necessary by throwing the ball and on the defense keeping the score close enough to allow for rushing to be a sound strategy.

The Redskins are unlikely to bring all five of these elements with them every week. But if they have three or four of them working they can expect to be competitive.

And on the occasions when they have all five you can get games like the one last night.

LATEST: UPDATE WEEK 3 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series