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Shanahan flips approach on coin toss


Shanahan flips approach on coin toss

One constant for the Redskins this season has been deferring the ball until the second half after winning the opening coin flip. 

That, however, changed Thursday.

Coach Mike Shanahan reversed course at Cowboys Stadium and elected to receive the opening kickoff. His reason? It’s playoff time, baby.

“What I always do in playoff time is always take the ball. I’ve always done that,” Shanahan told reporters. “I just said, ‘Hey, you go in the playoffs and everything else really doesn’t matter. It’s your last game and you’re playing for it all.”

Shanahan said he would have elected to receive the opening kick against Philadelphia, too. But the Eagles won the flip.

It’s a different approach for Shanahan, who had previously deferred the ball until the second half each of the six times the Redskins won the flip in Weeks 3-9. When asked about deferring last month, Shanahan explained that he was playing the percentages after being shown a statistic that suggested teams “that defer win well over 60-percent.”

The Redskins’ desperate situation, though, has forced the veteran coach to rethink that approach. It also meshes with comments he made last week about an increased sense of urgency around the team these days.

“We’re treating each game as your final game because you look at the records and know what you have to do,” Shanahan said. “That’s the way we approach it.”

The Redskins are 2-4 when electing to defer and 1-0 when choosing to receive (although they did not score on their opening drive against the Cowboys). 

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 


Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   



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


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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