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Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net A few thoughts in the last hours before the game that don’t fit anywhere else:

  • The conventional wisdom is that the pressure is all on the Seahawks; I’m not so sure about that. Although very few from the outside thought that the Redskins would be where they are now, they thought that they would. In minicamp, Jon Jansen sat in front of the assembled media and announced that it was his goal, and the team’s goal, was to play in the Super Bowl in Jansen’s home state of Michigan. It seemed like bravado at the time, but if these guys don’t believe that they can win it all they wouldn’t be there all offseason pumping weights, going through chalk talks and walking through plays. Certainly Joe Gibbs realizes that you don’t often find yourself two wins away from the Super Bowl and you have to take advantage of the situation. Jansen, having been in the playoffs after his 1999 rookie season and not since, can certainly add his perspective to that point.The Redskins are putting the pressure on themselves. Fans may think that they are playing with house money. The players and coaches do not. They’re playing with money earned in Ashburn in March, April, and May.

  • This team put up 35, 35, and 31 in its last three games of the regular season against defenses in the same category with Seattle’s. I just heard Ron Jaworski (who I generally respect) giving the fact that Chris Samuels struggled against Simeon Rice last week as a reason that the Washington offense will struggle and the Seahawks will win. Was there a trade that we haven’t heard about? Or has Grant Wistrom all of a sudden become a Rice-like force? I certainly don’t have an issue with people picking the Seahawks to win since they are the logical strong favorites. But at least use some points that make some sense in doing so.

  • I had heard that Shaun Alexander is a “me” kind of guy. Last year, he celebrated his team’s division title clinching in the season’s last game by saying “I got stabbed in the back” since he hadn’t met his individual goal of leading the NFL in rushing. I hadn’t heard the unflattering nickname “Soft Shaun”. This is not a moniker bestowed on him by the media; it was his teammates who dubbed him this for his propensity to run out of bounds rather the fight for additional yardage.

  • On the message board at WarpathInsiders.com, the Redskins site that I’m the editor of, someone came up with a great analogy for the two teams’ offenses. The Seahawk offense is a purebred greyhound—sleek, swift, smooth. The Redskins offense is an old mutt with an attitude; it’s ugly and often can’t get out of its own way but at times you don’t want to have anything to do with it.

  • One of the keys to the game is the Redskins getting some small degree of productivity out of the #2 receiver spot. James Thrash, who isn’t much of a threat but can find the first-down marker a couple of times a game, is probably out with a broken thumb. That leaves Taylor Jacobs and all one can do is hope that he finally gets it, runs the right patterns and can move the chains a few times. Jimmy Farris, anyone?

  • If that fails, Plan B has to be to throw to Portis. His paucity of receptions—he as fewer than two a game—is one of the more puzzling aspects of this offense. If you get him out there is space with the ball, he can go a long way.

  • Pulling out another play from the Tandler playbook, look for a pump and go on the bubble screen to Santana Moss early in the game. Teams have been jumping that play for the past several weeks and its effectiveness has diminished. Faking the short pass and then sending Moss downfield could result it a big play. If not, it will at least force the defense to loosen up.





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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against the Eagles. 

Week 13 December 3 (Monday night), Lincoln Financial Field

Week 17, December 30, FedEx Field

2017 Eagles: 13-3, First in NFC East, Super Bowl champions 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 10.5

Early line: Week 13, Redskins +7.5; No lines established for Week 17

Key additions: DE Michael Bennett, WR Mike Wallace

Key losses: DE Vinny Curry, WR Torrey Smith, RB LeGarrette Blount, DT Beau Allen

Notable: Quarterback Carson Wentz is aiming to be ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn ACL late in the season.  

Biggest questions: 

  • If Wentz isn’t ready, the Eagles have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles ready. Is the real Foles the one who has been a journeyman or the one who starred in the playoffs? And will Wentz continue the freewheeling style that helped make him successful after the injury?
  • After winning Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, will the Eagles suffer from a hangover? 

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 82-75-6; the Eagles won both meetings last year after Washington had won five straight. 

Series notables

The first time: October 10, 1937, Griffith Stadium — With the Redskins trailing 7-0, rookie Sammy Baugh twice led the Redskins deep into Eagle territory. Washington couldn’t push it across the goal line either time, though, and Philly got out with a 14-0 win.

The last time: October 23, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field — The Redskins took a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter, but Wentz and the Eagles took over after that, scoring 21 unanswered points. The Redskins got it back within a touchdown and on a third and eight play early in the fourth quarter, it looked like they had Wentz sacked. However, he scrambled out of trouble and ran for the first down. That drive ended with a touchdown pass and Philly went on to win 34-24.

The best time: January 5, 1991, Veterans Stadium — After getting pummeled by the Eagles in the Body Bag Game (see “The worst time” below), the Redskins qualified for the playoffs and got their shot at revenge. The seedings called for the Redskins to return to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium, for a first-round playoff contest.

A near turnover that wasn't was the game's turning point. The Redskins had taken a 7-6 lead and were driving for more when the ball popped loose from Earnest Byner's grasp when he was tackled at the Philadelphia six. CB Ben Smith scooped the ball up and ran 94 yards for an apparent TD. 

Fortunately for the Redskins, instant replay showed that the ground caused the fumble and the call was reversed, with the Redskins retaining possession. The reversal became a 10-point turnaround as Chip Lohmiller connected on a short FG and instead of a six-point deficit, the Redskins had a four-point lead. The Eagles' offense never could get untracked and the Redskins won 20-6.

The worst time: November 12, 1990, Veterans Stadium — As the Redskins went into 1990, the core players on the team, Art Monk, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Charles Mann, Darrell Green, Don Warren, and Monte Coleman, were on or approaching the over the hill side of 30.  The team had gone from Super Bowl Champs in 1987 to a losing record in ’88 to out of the playoffs again in ’89. They were facing their last stand as they went into The Vet for a November Monday night game.

This one became known as "The Body Bag Game". Five Redskins had to be carted off of the field as Buddy Ryan's team knocked a total of nine out of the game, including both of the active QB's. The carnage induced one Eagle to yell, "Do you guys need any more body bags?'' as yet another injured Redskin was lying on the turf. The Eagles and Ryan taunted the Redskins after the game, a 28-14 Philadelphia win that was not nearly that close.

Redskins schedule series

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  @TandlerNBCS  and on Instagram @RichTandler

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

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Various sources

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

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

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 offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Sprinkle as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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

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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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