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Redskins' McCloughan: 'The optimism is there'

Redskins' McCloughan: 'The optimism is there'

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of a 4-12 seasons that followed on the heels of a 3-13 campaign in 2013. In those two seasons they were outscored by a total of 281 points, their worst performance in that stat in back-to-back seasons in their long history.

Enter Scot McCloughan as general manager. Although he promised a team that would play tough and fight every game, he did not talk about the possibility of the Redskins finishing with a playoff spot or even a winning record.

Fast forward to this year and it appears that McCloughan has improved on last year’s team, which won a surprising nine games and took the NFC East title. The organization is trying to build on that making offseason moves to retain Kirk Cousins via the franchise tag, retaining some other of the team’s key free agents like Will Blackmon and Mason Foster, signing some solid role players like safety David Bruton and tight end Vernon Davis, and landing Josh Norman when one of the big fish of the offseason suddenly became a free agent.

With the draft still to come, McCloughan likes what he sees, since they showed progress on the field last year.

“There’s more optimism for sure because I think you saw what happened the second half of the season,” he told reporters at Redskins Park on Monday.

After a 2-4 start last year the Redskins won seven of their last 10 games and clinched the NFC East title with a Week 16 win in Philadelphia.

“We’re adding young players that are going to help us win games,” McCloughan said. “The optimism is there. I mean, just seeing the guys out there, how hard they’re working, how excited they are to be here. It’s going in the right direction. Who knows – this year, next year, whatever. But we’re getting better and the organization is getting stronger.”

The Redskins were fortunate that the other teams in the NFC East had their struggles last year. Only once since the division was formed in 1970 (it included the Cardinals until 2002) has a single-digit win total been good enough to take the division. Since 2000 the division winner posted an average of 11.1 games.

Although the division may not be much better this year than it was in 2015, the Redskins have to improve over last season if they want to do anything more than their one-and-done stint in the playoffs. They haven’t been in a position to even get a first-round bye since they last won the Super Bowl in 1991. While it would be a positive step to make back-to-back playoff appearances, playing well enough to earn a bye is what they need to accomplish to say they’ve made it to the next level.

So that means being better than not just the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys but also better than other NFC powers like the Packers, Seahawks, and Panthers. As McCloughan noted, there should be some optimism that they can get there but 2016 may or may not be the year they do it. 

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Redskins vs. Cowboys Week 7 Inactives: Rivalry game brings injuries

Redskins vs. Cowboys Week 7 Inactives: Rivalry game brings injuries

The Redskins host the Cowboys at home on Sunday for Week 7 of the 2018 NFL season. There's a handful of injuries for both teams.

Here is the full Redskins inactive list for Week 7. 

Redskins vs. Cowboys Week 7: Inactive list

REDSKINS:
— WR Paul Richardson

— CB Quinton Dunbar

— RB Chris Tompson

— C Casey Dunn

— WR Jamison Crowder

— OL Geron Christian Sr

— S Troy Apke

COWBOYS:
— QB Mike White

— WR Tavon Austin

— LB Joe Thomas

— DT Caraun Reid

— LB Chris Covington

— G Xavier Su’a-Filo

— DT Daniel Ross

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2 stats that point to a Redskins breakthrough win against Cowboys

2 stats that point to a Redskins breakthrough win against Cowboys

In their last four games, the Cowboys cannot lose to the Redskins. There have been blowouts and there have been nailbiters, but all with the same result, a Dallas win. 

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has never lost to the Redskins, and neither has running back Ezekiel Elliott. Embattled Dallas head coach Jason Garrett holds a 6-2 record against Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. 

Despite all that, two 2018 stats might matter the most when the two teams play on Sunday in D.C. 

At 0-3, the Cowboys are yet to win on the road this season, and Washington is 2-1 so far this year at FedEx field.

In three road games so far this season, Dallas is averaging just more than 12 points-per-game. 

Further, Dallas takes care of the ball when playing at home. They've committed zero turnovers at Jerry World, er, AT&T Stadium.

On the road, the Cowboys average two turnovers-per-game. 

The key to the Redskins victory last week over Carolina was generating three turnovers, and Washington will look to do the same this week. 

In fact, there are other similarities between the Redskins Week 6 matchup with the Panthers and the Week 7 game against the Cowboys. Going into the Carolina contest, Cam Newton had never lost to Washington and the Panthers held a long win streak against the ‘Skins dating back to 2006. 

With strong run defense and creating turnovers, the Redskins snapped that streak. Washington held the top-ranked run game in the NFL to almost half of their weekly total, and nearly eliminated RB Christian McCaffrey from the gameplan.

Maybe the same happens on Sunday against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. 

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