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The numbers are in: The 2016 Redskins faced a very tough schedule

The numbers are in: The 2016 Redskins faced a very tough schedule

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

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The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be quite reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did quite well in only having their record drop by half a game.

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Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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New Giants QB Colt McCoy thinks both Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones have 'a ton of potential'

New Giants QB Colt McCoy thinks both Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones have 'a ton of potential'

Veteran quarterback Colt McCoy has spent over a decade in the NFL and been in the same room as some talented quarterbacks along the way. In 2019, McCoy had an up-close look at Redskins first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, as the two -- along with Case Keenum -- competed for the starting job in training camp and spent the entire season in the same QB room.

After spending six years with the Redskins, McCoy signed a one-year deal in March to stay in the NFC East with the Giants. in New York, Jones will likely serve as the backup to Daniel Jones, another first-round pick from the 2019 NFL Draft.

During his introductory media session with the Giants on Wednesday, McCoy was naturally asked about the Redskins second-year passer. The veteran used the opportunity to praise both Haskins and his new young quarterback teammate.

"I think Dwayne has a ton of potential, just like Daniel," McCoy said. "I think Daniel played a little bit more [last] year, so he probably has a little more experience. But both of those guys were highly sought after in the draft last year. They both had great college careers and they both have a ton of skill at playing the position."

Last season, the Giants won both matchups between the two squads. Haskins made his NFL debut in the Redskins Week 4 loss to New York, and looked uninspiring. Coming in for an injured Keenum, Haskins threw three interceptions, as New York won handily.

But when the two teams squared off in Week 16, Haskins was a different and much-improved quarterback. The Ohio State product completed 12 of his 15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and was on his way to the best game of his young career before an ankle injury in the third quarter ended his afternoon, and then his season.

Jones also dazzled in that Week 16 matchup, a game that resulted in a Giants' 41-35 overtime win. The Giants passer turned in his best game as a pro, throwing for a career-high five touchdowns and 352 yards in the victory.

After spending a season working alongside Haskins, McCoy is looking forward to having the opportunity to work with another young quarterback in Jones.

"I know Dwayne is very talented throwing the football," he said. "I’m excited to work with Daniel after having worked with Dwayne last year. I know he has a bright future. His future is bright, his ceiling is high and he seems like a really great person."

Now with the Giants, McCoy is excited for the chance to face Washington, a place he called home for six seasons.

"I get to play against the Redskins for at least this year, and we’ll see what happens," he said. "It should be fun."

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Buffalo Bills GM believes the Redskins misused Josh Norman in their system

Buffalo Bills GM believes the Redskins misused Josh Norman in their system

When it comes to Josh Norman's largely disappointing stint with the Redskins, the blame pie for that stint has two dominant slices.

One of those slices belongs to Norman, obviously. His performance in Washington never matched the massive contract he signed in 2016, and by his last year with the team, he was essentially unplayable. 

He also was involved in lots of non-football activities — from Dancing with the Stars to appearing on pregame shows to jumping over bulls in Spain — and while NFL players absolutely deserve to live their lives the way they want, those things were easy to criticize as his on-field production waned.

However, the front office and coaches own a slice of the pie, too, and it's a hefty one. The Burgundy and Gold made Norman the highest-paid corner in the sport and then inexplicably put him in situations that didn't suit him over and over again. Instead of letting him use his instincts more in zone coverage, for instance, the Redskins left him in spots where his lack of speed was exposed. 

That idea that Norman was misused is something Bills GM Brandon Beane brought up on Thursday. Norman signed with Buffalo in March after Washington released him in February:

Some fans won't want to give Norman any excuse for what transpired during his tenure with the Redskins, but Beane definitely has a point. Even though Norman is much older now than he was when he landed in D.C., don't be surprised if he has a resurgence in 2020 as long as Beane and the Bills are true to their word and devise a better plan for him.

Now, the promising part for Redskins fans is that Ron Rivera has a reputation for getting the absolute most out of players, something that Kendall Fuller and many others have noted. So while Norman's talents were wasted to a certain extent in the past, those kinds of failures will hopefully be much more limited in the future.

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