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Need to Know: Can the Redskins take advantage of their 2015 schedule?

Feb 16, 2015, 5:11 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 16, two days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:


I can’t find the Redskins’ 2015 strength of schedule ranking right now, (update: It’s the 20th toughest/12th easiest, h/t Hogs Haven) but looking at it now they do have what appears to be a relatively easy go of it.

In addition to playing home and home against the NFC East teams, they are at home against the Bills, Dolphins, Saints, Bucs and Rams. They are on the road against the Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, and Bears.

Only three of those teams, the Patriots, Cowboys, and Panthers, made the playoffs in 2014. That makes four games against playoff teams since they play Dallas twice. Of the non-playoff teams on the schedule only the Bills (9-7) and Eagles (10-6) had winning records.

On the other end of the scale, the Redskins have seven games against teams that had double digit losses–the Giants (twice), Bucs, Rams, Jets, Falcons, and Bears.

But will such a schedule let them sneak into the (activate best Jim Mora imitation) playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?

Seriously, that’s highly unlikely. For one thing, the other three teams in the division have similarly easy schedules. They play the same AFC East and NFC South teams. The do have games against the NFC West and North that are tougher, but they also have the 4-12 Redskins twice. So Washington doesn’t gain much of an advantage there.

And change is the one constant in the NFL. Some of the games that may look easy now will turn out to be tough contests. Although these usually even out with some successful teams from the year before falling back to the pack.

At this point, fans of every team the Redskins are playing have that game marked down as a win. Until the Redskins get out of the state where they are considered to be a soft touch on the schedule of every team they play they won’t be able to take advantage of any advantages the potential strength of their opponents may get them.


—It’s been 50 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 22; Redskins offseason workouts start 63; 2015 NFL Draft 73

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    The jets, and the panthers and dolphins always had our number on beating us….redskins cant beat nobody until they they fill most of they holes…I think we got two O-linemen on the roster now that can play on the right side…but we still need to place perry Riley,ryan Clark and B.merriweather and fix the D-line….I expect DE frank kearse to get the start this season he played really well when his number was called and coaches like him as well but after him and jason hatcher who do you really have on the D-line to get after the QB…chris baker is a bust so as jarvis jenkins they show little to nothing for the past two years

  2. shermanp79 - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    This is a tough way to hope and project how many wins we could expect. Things always change from what a schedule looks like in Feb. It seems teams always beat us when we should win. We can’t say a team has a young QB and count on that, they have had great success. That being said right now even the weak teams, the Bucs, Rams, Bills and Jets don’t look like more than 2 wins. I expect the Falcons to improve Defensively, so their Offense with the WRs could give us trouble. The Panthers have a solid Defense with Cam, so things need to really improve to beat them. I expect the Pats to win easily. It looks like the Dolphins and Saints will give problems.That leaves the Division, where we have to split with each of them to have any shot of improving on this year. So to me this schedule doesn’t look easy. The biggest factor in our improvement comes on how much better our Defense plays. The next obvious is the QB play. If RG3 doesn’t improve when feeling pressure and isn’t willing to throw on time and before guys are open, we have little chance of beating the bad teams. We will have more games like we saw this year vs Min and the Bucs. They were 2 games we should of won. We have had to many of them over the years. I want to stay away from predicting until we get to see this team in TC and in Pre Season games. Right now the schedule looks tough. but we know this team needs to build. I’m looking more at improvement, we need to be better at the end of the year than week one. I want the Defense to be able to stop teams when they need to on 3rd down. Maybe get the young guys on the field in positions of need during the 2nd half of the season. If we start doing that the wins will come down the road.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      Cant really tell on how this team is in pre-season because we had very good pre-season two years in a row and we suck when the season got started…when they came out flat against the texans you can tell it was gonna be another bad season…they played scared in that first game after beating the ravens in pre-season. look were the ravens went and look were the redskins went…they going to a power run scheme so hopefully that help things

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 16, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      Griffin played like crap in only one game in 2014: vs. the Bucs. And his defense played like crap as well; they made Josh McCown, a journeyman QB who was released by the Bucs in the offseason, play at a Pro Bowl level against the Redskins. Think about that. You could also add the Niners game, but I think Gruden’s playcalling didn’t help Griffin get into a throwing rhythm; plus he was asked to dropback late in the game vs. one of the best pass defenses in the league when the Redskins had to throw the ball.

      Nothing wrong with wanting Griffin to improve as a QB moving forward. It’s just amazing how some people have soured on his play. Plenty of QBs who didn’t play well in their 3rd season in the league were multiple Pro-Bowl caliber QBs (Matt Hasselbeck, Dilfer, Testaverde, Bledsoe, Kerry Collins). Some of these QBs played in a Super Bowl, and even won a Super Bowl. And one QB who didn’t play well in his 3rd season is a should-be Hall of Famer: Drew Brees.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:22 PM


        noun de·lu·sion \di-ˈlü-zhən, dē-\

        : a belief that is not true : a false idea

        : a false idea or belief that is caused by mental illness

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 16, 2015 at 6:32 PM

          If you feel differently, then why don’t you formulate a cogent argument supporting your position instead of making a snarkish post that contains no argument?

        • jayovalentine - Feb 17, 2015 at 2:57 AM

          How many threads do you troll?

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 17, 2015 at 1:54 PM

          Still no argument, Joe?

      • Matt - Feb 17, 2015 at 11:33 PM

        Its just feels like the Redskins have been cursed my whole life since I have been there fan. Any and everything that can go wrong to ruin a player happens when they come to Washington.. It never fails when they do good they get hurt or get surrounded by poor talent. Its unreal to be honest.

        I think Griffin can be good part of me says hey this got led us to a NFC championship game… Was it all because griffins passing ability that got them there or a read option system that had predetermined one route passes off play action. I want him to be great I just have never seen him be a pocket passer, make reads and feel pressure like the greats do. Hell he doesn’t even do one of those 3. Maybe he can learn idk. What we really need is a defense but even that doesn’t win championships look at Seattle.

  3. deepball1 - Feb 16, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Stupid to talk about this and the way you look at this. Rams had a losing record but were about the hottest team in the league near the end of the season with their defense. The Rams could win their division this year if Bradford is back healthy. Giants had a losing record but beat the Redskins TWICE.

    How are the Redskins going to take advantage of a schedule not even knowing what the schedule is going to be yet, which day its going to rain or snow, which opponent is playing on MNF the previous week, which game is on a Thursday…..etc etc etc. Filler articles are fine but ‘taking advantage of their schedule” BEFORE it even comes out? Really?

    • jonevans511 - Feb 16, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      I’m not sure if you’re criticizing Rich or the question being posed, but RT responded to a fan’s question…. Whether or not it’s a filler article is your opinion, but if you think this is the only place people are discussing strength of schedules already you’re delusional. This time of year is the NFL’s down time for news; What do you expect? Would you rather an article highlighting each Redskin’s Valentines Day activities?

      I see nothing wrong with speculating about the upcoming schedule, because that’s all most sports articles are- speculation. “Will our new Right Tackle (whoever that may be) be the solution to the team’s woes?”- Speculation. “Will Desean Jackson “fit” in the Skins offense (prior to him joining)?”- Speculation. “What kind of defense will the new DC implement?”- Speculation. That’s how this thing called sports works. People share their opinions. The public debates. The games are played and the truth unfolds, at which point articles are written analyzing that truth….

    • manchild157 - Feb 16, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      Deepball- you do have the option of not reading these articles. Not cool to come to a writer’s comment section and criticize him for writing the article. Moving on….

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 16, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      Like it really matters what order they play the teams in? Really?

      A reader asked and I explained where I thought his thinking was off.

      I’m not going to defend the post point by point here. If you don’t like it, skip it.

  4. bangkokben - Feb 16, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    I’d much rather speculate on the schedule than what some fan thinks the Redskins should do with picks rounds 2 through 7.

    Amazing to see how negative Redskins fans are. A schedule like this should give us hope. Yet the Redskins have too (notice that this word has two letter o’s) many holes and the other teams with double-digit wins are on the rise. Somehow every team improves but the Redskins stay the same. WTF? What a bunch of Nancys!

    The Redskins will probably win seven games this year – like the Browns did this past year with a similar schedule – and keep us in the playoff race until December. Then folks will think we are close never realizing that it was a minimal improvement greatly enhanced by a cake schedule.

    • ET - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      If the Skins go 7-9, I’d count that as a success, weak schedule or not. Incremental development across all three phases of the game is more important than the final W-L record next year, IMO.

      • bangkokben - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:15 PM


  5. skins1970 - Feb 16, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I want to see what talent upgrades the Skins make in FA and the draft before I make any predictions.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      Dont expect to much in free agency…but expect alot of cuts and alot of new faces when it comes down to the 53 man roster

  6. Tyreec Hines - Feb 16, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    I think the redskins can go 14-2 or 15-1 if rg3 and the redskins can work together as a team maybe win the superbowl.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      There not even close to smell the playoffs…they stuck with dead weight players cause they contracts and they gotta get rid of the old beat up players and draft smart and pickup good undrafted players…scot M. plan on building around rg3 before the decide to get rid of him so until scot M. Build around rg3 we will miss the playoffs…jay gruden challenge his players during the season and desean jackson challenge his teammates to stepup and they didnt…the weak links gotta go

    • brucealmty - Feb 17, 2015 at 1:36 AM

      Pls read Joe Greene’s definition of delusional; I think it applies here.

      Redskins couldn’t go 14-2 against college teams Mr. Hines.

      Good post tho. lol

  7. polofourme - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    I don’t put any faith in that tired old theory about strength of schedule. Teams are not standing still and they will be trying to improve upon their record. There are some teams that did not have a great record last year but clearly demonstrated they are heading in the right direction playing better but still maybe losing but on the right trajectory. And there are teams like WAS who looked worse the more they played and were clearly not improving nor headed in the right direction. So strength of schedule is really a dubious metric. Additionally, WAS has a long history of losing to teams they should on paper beat and then beating teams they should lose to….but WAS last year found away to lose to both. I don’t think anyone would have thought we would lose to TB or MN or StL….and we did. And for the most part the better teams we played also beat us..and by the end of the year the team was playing worse not better nor building for 2015. We have major problems in nearly every facet of the teams roster, OL, DL, secondary, LBs and special teams. And we don’t have a NFL caliber QB on the roster. We have made major changes to the coaching staff but few that most fans would think make the team better. We fired one loser as DC and then went right back out there and hired another career loser as DC whose has NEVER been successful in that role and in fact was one of the worst DCs ever at DET. None of this bodes well for our team. So its not likely we will see any improvement over last years record if Griffin is the starter so 4-12 looks about right. If we can bring in a veteran QB say like Locker, that would IMO lead to at least two more wins for us so maybe 6-10 would be doable…but not much better. We are years at best if we are very lucky to get to 500…but that depends on how we deal with Griffin issue and how we do in the draft and FA…but any real improvement is years away at best.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      You forgot TE or a running back that can pass protect for the QB alfred morris struggle alot last year in that area

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:21 PM

      Most if not all them players that played in that defense in Detroit are not in the NFL nomore…u cant blame that all on joe barry players had something to do with it…one thing I said joe barry must do is get his message a cross to the players in a strong and in a powerful way so they will respect you and listen to you and run threw a brick wall for you…if he dont do that the players gonna walk all of him and laugh while doing it just like with jim hasslet …

      • bangkokben - Feb 16, 2015 at 8:30 PM

        Funny how all the other teams are improving and the Redskins are not. Same with how Bradford and Locker are legitimate NFL QBs and ours aren’t.

        Negative double-standards.

  8. tralfaz10 - Feb 16, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    No one knows what players will even be on this team. We have cuts coming, the draft, free agency, Lord forbid injuries…but you understand what I am saying. With a new GM doing things his way, only a select few are guaranteed to make the team. We could have have huge turnover. This is a question I say can be answered accurately in late August.

    • brucealmty - Feb 17, 2015 at 2:06 AM

      I read that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks ran about 700 players through their organization in a 3~4 yr period making incremental improvements over & over & over again until they got good. The Redskins will / should be doing the same. Even St. Louis, with their windfall of picks, still has not reached a .500 record yet. So, just getting decent will take time. Anyone thinking playoffs & SB needs to put down the Kool-Aid. Archives

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