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Redskins making progress, but still have work to do


Redskins making progress, but still have work to do

The Redskins have now won as many games this year, seven, as they did in the last two seasons combined. Thanks in part to that and mostly to the fact that the NFC East is down this year, the Redskins are in first place in their division.

They have clearly improved from last year, their first under Jay Gruden. He came into the season on the hot seat after the Redskins were uncompetitive in many games and were outscored by 139 points. In other words, they were 4-12 and they were what their record said they were.

At 7-7 the Redskins have been outscored by just 16 points. In other words, they deserve to be about a .500 team.

That’s progress.

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Do they have their franchise quarterback after the decline and eventual benching of Robert Griffin III? It’s too early to give Kirk Cousins that label after 14 games as a starter but his stock is clearly moving in the right direction. As the Redskins have had to heat up to stay in the playoff picture he has four straight games with a passer rating of over 100 including a perfect 158.3 against the Giants four weeks ago and a nearly perfect 153.7 today.

They can win some game with Cousins hitting Jordan Reed short and intermediate and DeSean Jackson long and by having their defense bend but not break, or at least not break too often.

They have a lot to work on. Their running game is not nearly where they want it to be. Despite getting five sacks today the pass rush still needs help. They still make some key mistakes that need to be cleaned up. Teams can run on them from time to time, often due to problems with tackling.

Because of all of that and more, the Redskins aren’t much of a threat to go much of anywhere if they do make the postseason. They are a couple of Scot McCloughan drafts away from that, at least. But you don’t get from where the Redskins were to where they want to be overnight.

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PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park


PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

With Derrius Guice out for the season and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both sustaining injuries during the Redskins' Week 2 preseason game vs. the Jets, the Burgundy and Gold may be in need of some help at running back. Enter seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson.

One of the best running backs to ever play the game, Peterson has rushed for 12,276 yards and 99 touchdowns over a 11-year career.

Peterson's visit is part of the team's contingency plan if they do indeed become very thing at the running back position. Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa have also been at Redskins Park for visits. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden.  

Nonetheless, the thought of having Adrian Peterson in a Redskins uniform is exciting. 


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Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

Associated Press

Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

During the offseason program and training camp we have seen ample evidence that Alex Smith’s teammates have great respect for their new quarterback. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Smith said that the respect is mutual. 

While saying that, nobody really knows how the team will respond when the games count and the pressure is on, but Smith likes what he has seen so far. 

“I think we’ve got guys that are all in,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are committed, and I don’t think that’s the case everywhere. I think a lot of times it’s easy not to invest because it’s scary to put yourself out there knowing you might not succeed. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are all in, really invested in what we’re doing here, and I think that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough team that’s not afraid of competition, not afraid to toe the line. I think that’s been apparent through camp. Like I said, the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got to go do it when it really matters.”

Of course, it’s smart to be complimentary of your new teammates when you are under contract with the organization for the next five years, and Smith is nothing if not smart. Still, Smith didn’t seem to be blowing smoke when he talked about how he formed his opinion about the team. 

“I think it’s an accumulation going back to April up to this date,” said Smith. “It’s how he conducts himself, how he carries himself in the locker room, in the film room, in the training room, in the weight room, on the practice field, when you’re in camp riding the shuttle bus together. I mean, you can tell, I think, how invested guys are. You can tell who’s real, who’s authentic. That quickly becomes apparent when you put all those things together. You can see what guys are really made of and who’s faking it. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are all in.”

For the last several years, the Redskins have talked a lot about drafting and signing players with character, guys who as Smith put it are “all in”. They haven’t always hit the mark, but they have collected players like Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen, Josh Norman, and others who love the game more than they love what they can get from the game (i.e. a big paycheck). 

To be sure, dysfunction involving players is not entirely a thing of the past. There has been occasional drama such as the sudden Su’a Cravens departure last year, but most NFL team have occasional situations and the Redskins are not one of the teams frequently making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Smith is another one of those high character guys and he is recognizing that in the approach of many of his teammates. 

This all sounds great in August and, as Smith noted, we won’t really know how the high character will translate when they’re in a tight game during the season. But for right now, it’s good that the quarterback has confidence in his teammates and that could count for something when the chips are down in December. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler