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Flashback Friday: The 1986 Redskins

Flashback Friday: The 1986 Redskins

It's one thing to climb the mountain and win the championship once. Many teams have done that.

The hard part is getting knocked down and then winning it all again.

In 1986, Joe Gibbs and the Redskins showed that they could get back to the top. No, they didn't win the Super Bowl; they had a Giant obstacle in their way. But they set the table for their Super Bowl XXII championship the following season. And that's why the 1986 squad is one of my favorite Redskins teams.

After winning the championship in 1982, the Redskins started a slow roll downhill. They lost the Super Bowl the next year, lost in the first round of the playoffs in '84 and missed the postseason in 1985.

The Redskins went into 1986 without two of the mainstays of their Super Bowl teams. John Riggins was released in March and Joe Theismann, unable to recover from the horrific broken leg he suffered the previous season against the Giants, flunked his physical.

There was some incoming talent to compensate for the losses. The United States Football League folded and the Redskins bolstered their receiving corps with USFL refugees Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. Multitalented running back Kelvin Bryant also came on board along with quarterback Doug Williams. The acquisition of Williams would not become significant until 1987, when he finished the season as the Super Bowl MVP.

The starting quarterback was Jay Schroeder and although he had led the team to a 5-1 finish after Theismann went down the Redskins still weren't quite sure what they had in him.

As it turns out, Schroeder was pretty good, at least in 1986. He passed for 4,109 yards, a team record that still stands, and earned a Pro Bowl invitation.

The job of filling Riggins' shoes fell to George Rogers, who the Redskins had acquired from the Saints a year earlier. He turned in a solid season with 1,203 yards on the ground.

Most of the original Hogs were in place on the offensive line with Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic and Mark May starting most of the games. The strength of the defense was the defensive line with Dexter Manley and Charles Mann at end and Dave Butz clogging things up at tackle.

The Redskins started off 5-0 but kicker Mark Moseley was on shaky ground, hitting less than half of his field goals. Although his missed extra point in a 30-6 loss to Dallas didn't have an effect on the outcome, Moseley was waived the next day.

Two weeks later they lost to the Giants, something that would become an all-too familiar happening. The next week the Redskins rallied from 12 points down in the final seven minutes to send a thriller against the Vikings into overtime. A touchdown pass from Schroeder to Clark won it in OT.

That sparked another five-game winning streak that thudded to a halt at the hands of, you guessed it, the Giants.

Despite winding up with a 12-4 record, the Redskins were relegated to a Wild Card spot as New York won the division with a 14-2 mark.

A home playoff win against the Rams set up a trip to Soldier Field to face the defending champion Bears. Schroeder threw two touchdown passes to Art Monk and the Redskins outscored Chicago 20-0 in the second half to shuffle out of the Windy City with a 27-13 win.

The dream season ended when the Redskins faced their worst nightmare in the NFC Championship Game. The Giants were much more dominant than the 17-0 final score would indicate.

Still, the 1986 Redskins proved that they were in the class of teams that could retool rather than rebuild. They would make it all the way back in 1987.

My upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle has a detailed account of every game of the 1986 season. In fact, you can read about every game the team has played since it came to Washington in 1937 through the 2008 season. The book also has a unique scrapbook woven throughout that recalls what was happening off the field a well. For a preview and to sign up to get notified when the book comes out go to RedskinsChronicle.com.

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

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USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

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

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

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