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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Chiefs

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Chiefs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 4, 11 days before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Bye week  

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 18
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 24
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 31

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Chiefs

—The third-down pass to Josh Doctson will continue to be discussed during the bye week. Should he have caught it? Was it a drop or just an inability to come up with a miraculous catch? Was there pass interference on the play or maybe an uncalled facemask penalty? Should the pass even have been thrown with options to go to Jordan Reed on the other side and Jamison Crowder underneath apparently available?

—The questions about the game as a whole are similar. Is it a game that they should have won or one that they could have won? I’d put it in the category of a missed opportunity rather than a game they blew. There is a matter of learning how to win. That is something that the Chiefs know well. Don’t look now but they are 14-2 in their last 16 regular-season games. The Redskins aren’t quite there yet.

—According to Football Outsiders, the Redskins have had the second toughest schedule in the league in terms of the combined DVOA of their opponents. If you prefer raw win totals, Washington’s four opponents have combined to win 12 games, the most of any opposing slate in the NFL. But the FO folks say it gets easier from here; the Redskins’ opponents have a combined DVOA that ranks 26th. Of course, nothing is easy in the NFL but if the Redskins are as good as fans hope they are (and FO says they are the fourth-best in overall DVOA) they may be able to make a run after their bye.

—Given that the team might be in contention in November and December, you have to wonder how much longer the Redskins will stick with Samaje Perine as the backup running back. Due to injuries to starter Rob Kelley he leads the team in rushing with 143 yards, one yard ahead of Chris Thompson. But he is averaging an anemic 3.1 yards per carry. Of the rookie’s 43 rushing attempts, 21, nearly half, have gone for two yards or fewer. The team likes his potential but they won’t have unlimited patience. Jay Gruden said that making a change to Mack Brown as the backup running back is “something we will consider.” If Kelley, who left the Monday night game with an ankle injury after being out of the previous game with a rib issue, can’t stay on the field the Redskins need to do something to have a more productive backup. 

—We won’t take a close look at the 49ers until next week but for right now we can say they are not very good. Kyle Shanahan’s group is 0-4 and with the dregs of the league in both scoring offense (26th) and scoring defense (24th). They have been close, losing their last three games by two points each. And perhaps this game will be the test to see if the Redskins are who we think they are. If they take care of business and post a comfortable win, they might be on their way. If they struggle and eke out a win or revert to their old ways and lose, we will have to rethink the rethinking we’ve done about this team lately.

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.

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job. 

Except he didn't. 

O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning. 

Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected. 

How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?

Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018. 

Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part. 

Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm. 

Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason. 

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 17, nine days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass catchers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass catchers are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 receiving yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teams and quarterbacks

Julio Jones, Falcons—Somehow the perception is that he had an off year in 2017 even though he still had 1,444 yards receiving. His touchdowns were down; his total of three TDs was a career worst for a full season. Still, he’s a beast to try to cover and even if you have him perfectly covered he can still make the catch on you. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Despite working with some shaky quarterbacks, Hopkins has managed to gain over 1,100 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. He is a highlight show regular and his 13 touchdowns led the league in 2017. 

Michael Thomas, Saints—The third-year player doesn’t have high name recognition outside of New Orleans and maybe fans of the other NFC South teams. Defensive coordinators certainly don’t sleep on him. Thomas is as consistent as they come, posting nine games with 80 or more receiving yards last season. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—I keep wondering when he will show signs of his age (he’ll be 35 before the season starts). He didn’t last year, posting 109 receptions despite the fact that his quarterbacks were an aging Carson Palmer plus journeymen Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers—At 6-5, he is able to physically beat most cornerbacks. Evans will turn 25 just before the season starts and he got a five-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He is worth every bit of it. If Jameis Winston gets a big contract (something that is up in the air right now), he owes a good chunk of it to Evans. 

Best of the rest: T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Davante Adams, Packers; Alvin Kamara (RB), Saints; Zach Ertz (TE), Eagles

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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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 9
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 23
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 46

The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 54 days. 

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