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With division foes' seasons in tatters, can the Redskins take advantage?

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With division foes' seasons in tatters, can the Redskins take advantage?

Some doors opened up for the Redskins yesterday. On Sunday we will see if they can walk through them.

Thanksgiving started off well for the Redskins when the Lions thumped the Eagles 45-14. The Eagles have now given up 45 points in two consecutive games and quarterbacks Jameis Winston of the Bucs and Matthew Stafford of the Lions each threw five touchdown passes. Chip Kelly used to be the smartest guy in the room. Now he’s “confused, tormented, forlorn,” according to one Philly columnist.

The loss dropped the Eagles out of a tie with the Redskins for second place in the NFC East. At 4-7 Philadelphia is a half game behind Washington. As another Philly.com columnist put it, “now their season lies in irrevocable tatters.”

The Eagles have plenty of problems but they are in much better shape than the Dallas Cowboys are. Like the Eagles, they were not competitive in losing on Thanksgiving Day. Kurt Coleman got a pick six of Tony Romo on Dallas’ first possession and it was downhill from there. The final score of Panthers 33, Cowboys 14 did not indicate how thoroughly Dallas was dominated.

Rock bottom for Romo came in the third quarter when linebacker Thomas Davis slammed him into the AT&T Stadium turf, injuring the QB’s left collarbone. That’s the same one that he just spent eight weeks rehabbing. Early reports are that Romo reinjured his clavicle and will be out for the season.

The Cowboys won Romo’s first game back last Sunday against the Dolphins and Cowboys fans (and many Dallas cheerleaders in the media) had visions of Romo leading a winning streak that would carry his team into the playoffs. The fervor got to the point where the 3-7 Cowboys actually were favored over the 10-0 Panthers.

Dallas is now 3-8, alone in last place in the division.

So where does all of this leave the Redskins? In the short term, the picture is pretty simple. If they beat the 5-5 Giants on Sunday they will be tied for first place in the NFC East. The teams will have split their head-to-head series and the Redskins will have the edge in the next tiebreaker, division record. Beating New York would move the Redskins to 2-1 in the NFC East while the Giants would be 2-3.

Looking a little further down the road, the Redskins will have two games against the Cowboys, who presumably will be without Romo, and one against the lifeless Eagles. They also have a road trip to play the Bears, who upset the Packers on the road last night, and a home game against the Bills. The Giants’ remaining opponents include a Week 15 game against the Panthers, who won’t be resting their starters by then, and a trip the next week to play the 7-3 Vikings in Minnesota.

The Giants are currently ahead and would have to be considered the favorites. But if the Redskins do win on Sunday it becomes a legitimate two-team race.  

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Free agent, former Redskins linebacker Junior Galette considering retirement

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Free agent, former Redskins linebacker Junior Galette considering retirement

Free-agent Junior Galette has been offered deals with multiple teams this offseason, but the eight-year veteran linebacker hasn't signed anything because he's considering retirement as well. 

In an Instagram post Sunday, Galette — who has been with the Redskins since 2015 but only played in the 2017 season because of injuries — wrote that he's simply not sure if he wants to continue playing football. 

He said, on Instagram: "The real reason I haven’t signed is because I’ve contemplated retiring. I have 3 Deals Currently on the table and will Plan Accordingly. All my fans i promise this will be my Best I’m not saying nothing else God Bless All I’m BACK".

Galette signed with the Redskins in the 2015 offseason, but he missed both that season and the 2016 one because of multiple Achilles injuries. He played in all 16 Washington games in 2017 and finished the season with 20 total tackles and three sacks. 

Prior to signing with the Redskins, Galette was with the New Orleans Saints for the first five seasons of his career. In 2013 and 2014 — his best seasons, by far, stats wise — he combined for 87 total tackles and 22 sacks, plus two safeties.

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 21, one day before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Redskins player one-liners, offense

A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on offense; the defense will be up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks

—It seems likely that Alex Smith will jump right into the leadership role on the offense, unlike his predecessor, who often seemed to be a reluctant leader. 

—Since Smith has missed a few games with injuries here and there, the chances of the team needing Colt McCoy to come in and win a key game are greater than they were the past three years. 

Kevin Hogan has from now until the end of the season to show that he can be a viable No. 2 quarterback to help ensure that he has a job here in 2019. 

Running backs

—It’s been a while around here since expectations were this high for a player picked late in the second round but Derrius Guice will try to meet them. 

Chris Thompson could be ready to participate in OTAs but look for him to get a very light workload if he puts on a helmet at all. 

—If Rob Kelley wants to be a regular on the 46-man game day inactive list he will have to play a lot of special teams, something he has done sparingly in his two years in the league. 

—Since the team likely will monitor Guice’s workload as a rookie, Samaje Perine will get some carries in key situations this year. 

Wide receivers

—While Josh Doctson does need to get more chances to use his huge catch radius and take balls away from defenders, he also could benefit by working to get more separation on a regular basis. 

—Smith was one of the best deep ball throwers in the league last year and if he is going to maintain that status he will need to look for Paul Richardson at least a few times per game. 

—After his play leveled off in his second and third years in the league, will Jamison Crowder have a contract year breakout? 

—It will be interesting to see what Maurice Harris can do if he stays healthy and get some consistent playing time. 

—Will Trey Quinn be a project or will the last pick in the draft have some instant impact on the offense? 

Tight ends

—​Jordan Reed could be an All-Pro or he could be a cap casualty in 2019. 

—The numbers say that Vernon Davis needs to have Reed on the field to be consistently productive; he had no more than two receptions in any of the last six games. 

—​Jeremy Sprinkle will be relied upon to block and play special teams and anything he produces in the receptions department will be a bonus. 

Offensive line

—After making the Pro Bowl while dealing with a serious knee injury last year, who knows what Trent Williams can accomplish if he can, you know, practice during the week.

—Right now Shawn Lauvao is the Redskins’ starter at left guard but a trade or free agent signing could change that in a heartbeat.

—Jay Gruden has a great deal of confidence in Chase Roullier as the starting center and the hope is that he keeps the job for many years to come. 

—Will Brandon Scherff take the next step and attain All-Pro status?

—​Morgan Moses dealt with injuries to both ankles last year, but he was the only offensive lineman who didn’t miss at least two starts.

—If I had to bet right now I’d say that Ty Nsekhe will start the season as the backup tackle on both sides and not as the starting left guard. 

—As long as Nsekhe is the swing tackle, Geron Christin is likely to be inactive on game days. 

—​Tyler Catalina will have to battle his way onto the roster but his ability to play both guard and tackle will land him on the 53. 

—​Tony Bergstrom is the answer to the question, “Who is the Redskins backup center?”

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 22
—Training camp starts (7/26) 67
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 81

The Redskins last played a game 140 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 112 days. 

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