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The nuclear option that keeps Redskins out of playoffs even with win over Giants

The nuclear option that keeps Redskins out of playoffs even with win over Giants

For the Redskins to make the playoffs, much hinges on the Cowboys beating the Lions on Monday Night Football, but a more obscure option emerged that could keep Washington out of the postseason.

What?! For informational purposes, assume the Redskins beat the Giants next week. Well, if Detroit loses to Dallas on Monday and then ties with the Packers next week, all three of the Lions, Green Bay and the 'Skins would have records of 9-6-1.

Green Bay would edge out the Lions for the NFC North title due to a head-to-head win in Week 3, and Detroit would edge out the Redskins for the 6th and final playoff spot thanks to the Lions head-to-head win in Week 7. 

So that begs the question, any chance the Lions and Packers would intentionally play for the tie? From any player or coach or league official, that answer will always be no. Off the record, it still would be pretty hard for NFL players to play for a tie. Not to mention, that would mean Detroit giving up on an NFC North title and a home playoff game, which isn't going to happen.

What could happen, however, is that both the Packers and Lions coaching staff play things a bit more conservatively, especially late in a close game with the clock ticking down. Why risk a loss when a tie gets you into the postseason? It's simple self-preservation.

Of course, all of this could be rendered useless if Detroit wins against Dallas. Check back tomorrow. 

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Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman wasn't the most beloved player in Washington during his tenure with the organization, but he certainly was one of the more interesting.

Media members never knew when a routine interview at the corner's locker would turn into a passionate rant or some bizarre metaphor. That sort of unpredictability basically made every one of his pressers a must-attend event.

So, when Norman's time with the Burgundy and Gold came up during his Thursday Zoom call with reporters in Buffalo, it felt like a place where the now-Bills defender could really sound off. But instead, Norman kept things pretty simple in his answer.

"I don’t stick on what went wrong," he said. "I look at the positives. When everybody is trying to look at the negatives, they’re just harking on that and they think they know who you are just because of that. At the end of the day, I take a lot of bullets and I don’t come out and shoot them back. What for? It’s not needed."

If Norman wanted to lash out at his former coaching staff for how they used him or grumble about how he was essentially benched for the end of the 2019 campaign, it would've been somewhat understandable. He certainly deserves from blame for his less-than-sterling tenure with Washington, but others were culpable as well.

To his credit, however, he chose to mostly focus on his new employer.

"It feels so fresh," Norman said about the vibe with the Bills.

He did find a way to close out that particular part of the call with one unique quote, though. 

"What we’re trying to bring here is something truly special," he said. "I’m just gonna sprinkle a little bit of my pixie dust on it."

Well, for the sake of Bills fans, let's hope that pixie dust is different than whatever he was sprinkling in D.C. these last few years. The recipe for that pixie dust should probably be thrown away, honestly.

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Does Alex Smith make sense as Washington's quarantine emergency QB?

Does Alex Smith make sense as Washington's quarantine emergency QB?

Washington head coach Ron Rivera has a plan if he or any of his assistanct coaches contract the novel coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic. It's one that makes sense after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss practice time as a result. 

"We’ve talked about that as far as those things are concerned, the big thing is somebody will move up in terms of those," Rivera said about a coach testing positive. "We are fortunate, as in today’s game, that pretty much every position has a position assistant and they are younger coaches that have come in and are getting opportunities to learn and develop their craft. What may happen, depending on who gets sick, that person (position assistant) will elevate."

Rivera's plan for missed time from coaches is smart because the virus is everywhere, but what's the plan at the game's most important position? 

The Burgundy and Gold find themselves in an interesting spot at quarterback.

Presumed starter Dwayne Haskins looks to be poised for Week 1, healthy and slim and hearing great things about himself from coaches. Kyle Allen is positioned to be the backup, a capable player who knows the offensive system. Should Haskins get injured or disappoint, Allen can step in. 

That leaves Alex Smith. 

The veteran passer is in the midst of a Hollywood comeback story. He suffered a compound fracture of his leg about 20 months ago, and after multiple infections and more than a dozen surgeries, is fighting his way back to the football field. He's passed his medical physical, but not his football physical, and has been listed on Washington's Active/Physically Unable to Play list. That means he's not able to participate in team drills but he can work out at the facility and take full part in meetings and film sessions. 

RELATED: BURNING QUESTIONS: WHO WILL BREAK OUT FOR WASHINGTON IN 2020?

Smith's status could change at any moment, if he can pass the football physical. 

It's unclear if that will ever happen, but it could also present an opportunity. 

With Haskins and Allen playing maybe Washington would be wise to shut Smith down and have him in some form of isolation working out on his own. 

Why?

What happens if COVID-19 sweeps the Washington locker room, or even just the QB room, and suddenly there is nobody to line up under center? Then Smith could become the best option. 

It's a long-shot, maybe even ludicrous idea, but everything going on right now is some version of ludicrous. 

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Nobody could have predicted any of this a year ago, and the suggestion of bubbles and quarantines and contact tracing would have sounded like something from a science fiction movie. 

Well, now we're living in a science fiction movie. Accept the weird and try to roll with it. 

The teams that will excel this fall will do so because of adaptability and preparedness. There is zero guarantee that a quarantine QB makes sense, and even less confidence that he would play. But there's also zero guarantee Smith will ever pass the football physical and be able to play anyway. 

In the 1987 season Washington went 3-0 during that year's NFL players' strike, largely because the front office was prepared for the work stoppage and quickly built a team of replacement players. That winning streak propelled the team to a Super Bowl win. 

It happened because Washington acted smart, saw what possibly could happen with a player strike and executed a backup plan at a high level. 

Word is history repeats itself, and while there should be labor peace this fall, if 2020 has proven anything it's that whatever can go wrong will. Plan accordingly.

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