Dec 1, 2013, 5:25 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 1, the day the Redskins host the New York Giants.
Playing out the string in prime time
A loss to the Giants tonight would eliminate the Redskins from the playoffs. Even if they win tonight, Washington would have to win out, the Cowboys would have to lose their next three and Eagles would have to lose three out of their next four. And then Philly and Dallas would have to tie when they play in the season finale for Washington to defend its NFC East title. That leaves the Redskins where they have been in December for all but three of the 11 years prior to last year—playing out the string.
The disappointment over the Redskins being in this situation again is palpable, both at Redskins Park and in the fan base. The expectations for the team were for it to take the next step, not a step back.
There will be plenty of time starting late this month to perform an autopsy on 2013 and figure out how to proceed in 2014. In the meantime there are five games left to play starting tonight in a game against the 4-7 Giants, a game that for reasons known only to NBC network suits was not flexed out of its prime time spot
“I think the players are smart enough to understand that if you are 3-8, then everybody is playing for their jobs,” Mike Shanahan said. “That’s the nature of our business. I don’t care if it’s players, coaches, support staff. The nature of this game is to find a way to win, and if you don’t win, everybody is accountable.”
Sometimes talk like that is just lip service. This year, it’s dead serious.
Some 20 players on the roster will be free agents in March. Many other players could be released with either minimal cap consequences or none at all. The Redskins will have some $25 million in cap space to spend on free agents. These factors could lead to substantial roster turnover.
The future of the coach staff is up in the air as well. Shanahan is going into the last year of his contract. He is 24-36 since coming to the Redskins in 2010. None of the assistant coaches are on particularly strong ground either.
So it starts tonight in a winnable game against the Giants. The Redskins are slight underdogs even though they are at home. A win clears up a lot of the negativity that has been swirling around the team lately. If they lose, the talk could multiply exponentially.
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