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Need to Know: How do the Redskins stack up in the NFC East?

May 14, 2015, 5:42 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 14, 77 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week 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:


Well, we’ve heard who DeSean Jackson believes is the team to beat in the division:

“I’m excited about the new additions that [have] come in,” Jackson said last week on ESPN 980 (via the DC Sports Bog). “Really, we just have to kind of build a camaraderie. So once the season starts and we’re ahead full speed, I think we’re gonna surprise a lot of people, and a lot of people are really gonna be saying, ‘Wow, those guys are pretty good.’ So once the season starts — I’m not gonna put too much pressure on us — but I think we’ll be the team to beat this year.”

I must respectfully disagree with DeSean here. I think the Dallas Cowboys are the team to beat. They have a top-notch quarterback and offensive line, and a monster receiver. The Redskins and Eagles don’t have either of those elements, although Jackson is very good and the Eagles line is good when healthy. The Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. so they are set at the wide receiver but their line is a work in progress and Eli Manning has his rings but he’s not playing as well as Tony Romo right now.

I wouldn’t make the Cowboys prohibitive favorites in the division because of their defense. Rod Marinelli worked some magic with a pedestrian group of defenders last year. The talent has only improved marginally and it’s hard to do the smoke and mirrors thing two years in a row. Fortunately for the Cowboys, there isn’t anything approaching a dominant defense in the division so the Dallas D is maybe only slightly below par in the NFC East.

A reasonable goal for the Redskins this year would be to avoid finishing in last place; they have been in the cellar at the end of the year five times in the last six years. They would need at least six, probably seven total wins and at least a 3-3 record in the division to pull that off. That could bring them home in front of the Giants or, if Chip Kelly’s rolls of the dice all turn up snake eyes, the Eagles.

This is the place where the obligatory “anything can happen” disclaimer goes in. The Redskins could stay healthy, get solid quarterback play, have all of the free agent pickups work out just as envisioned, get major contributions out of several draft picks and win nine or 10 games. The other three teams could have a variety of issues, letting the Redskins steal a division title in a rebuilding year.

But what usually comes of rebuilding team, i.e. losing more than they win, is the more likely outcome. I see them being better but not good enough to continue playing in the postseason.


—It’s been 137 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 122 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 33; Redskins training camp starts 77; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 133

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. themadduke - May 14, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    How do they stack up in the NFC East? Last.

  2. mr.moneylover - May 14, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    I said it last year and ima say it this year….if they use players to they strength they will be successful…last year players were out of shape and getting push around… this year I dont see that happening especially when you have a GM who dont like weak players and is looking over everything to make sure we put the best players on the field….with the new edition of jeron johnson and chris culliver it can be a special defense but thats if they get on the same page before week 1

    • mr.moneylover - May 14, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      I think desean jackson was just saying expect new faces and a different team from a mental stand point out there this year and that ppl will be surprise and that they will be the ones to beat in the NFC east this year….alot of players drop they head down when deangleo hall got injured and feel they couldn’t win without him now we have multiple leaders on defense its hard for me to see this team fall flat again the way the did last year

  3. bowlregard - May 14, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    We get story after story about how great these new acquisitions are, and then we’re not supposed to be optimistic?

    • Rich Tandler - May 14, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      Be as optimistic as you want to be. I think seven wins would represent real improvement.

    • manchild157 - May 14, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      Geez, I figured 5 wins because even though our overall team is improved we still have qb issues. Still if we win 4-5 games but show improvement in defense and special teams we will have a high draft pick that will help us rebuild and get another qb as an upgrade.

  4. Stephfan - May 14, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    I think we have the chance to go 8-8 possible 9-7 but that’s only if our defense is improved along with the Oline and if the system is truely tailored to rg3 than I believe we can win more games. I can see us going second in the divison. Because let’s remember in 2012 the offense was tailored to griffin and the defense was bad and we still won the divison. In general I think the skins will do better this year and the d will be improved

  5. shermanp79 - May 14, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    The defense has to be better, that should add a couple wins to the total. As it has been the past couple years, the key to wins will be squarely on the quality of QB play. All 3 other teams have an edge, even PHI. This team is going to have to score more and most importantly score against poor defenses. On defense at least be good enough to create struggles for young QBs. If those things don’t occur we have no shot of getting out of the Division basement. I think there will be more talent and competition on the team, if they can add that and compete week to week, we should see some growth. I like where Scot and Gruden are headed and we should be able to fight for 500 with some improvements at QB and on defense. A whole bunch of improvement would be needed at QB for this team to win the Division.

  6. vtsquirm - May 14, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    how often do predictions come true? last year everyone thought the Cowboys would win 7 or 8 games… in 2012, nobody picked us to win the division. We could go 4-12 again next year or we could make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. You never know.

  7. MITCHELL LOPEZ - May 14, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    We need a linenbacer fast who can rush the passer almost on every down, & special teams sign,crowder he’s explosive, and that running back jones watch this guy. HE’S GONNA BLOW EVERYONE AWAY. I BELEIVE ITS GONNA BE A BREAK OUT YEAR FOR US. LET BRUCE ALLEN STAY IN HIS OFFICE AND LOCK THE DOOR.

    • Rich Tandler - May 14, 2015 at 11:49 AM

      Thanks for chiming in. Please refrain from using all caps for more than a word or two, it’s annoying. Thanks.

  8. bangkokben - May 14, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is razor thin. With a strong defense and an offense that doesn’t turn the ball over, you can be in every game. It remains to be seen if the Redskins have either but you can win those games if you get solid quarterbacking or if the other team is prone to errors. There is not a single defense in the division that strikes fear to any of the other 31 teams in the league. As bad as the redskins were, with marginal improvements in all aspects of the team they are 8-8; with marginal improvement in all areas but significant growth in one and they are in the playoffs.

  9. cowboyhater - May 14, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    Unfortunately while the skins are rebuilding the other 3 teams continue to add to their roster through the draft & FA. Does this mean we stay in the proverbial cellar?….no, but it sure is hard to get out while rebuilding. A successful season will be at least 7 wins, but in our loses we need to look competitive. They need to end the season leaving us hopeful. If they end the year with horrible loses because they gave up on the season, then it will seem like we go to square one. This year we remain in the cellar, but it will be close with the g-men. The difference is the QB…that is what will separate us from NY. Hopefully our GM will continue to add the right pieces, and get the team going in the right direction.

    • ET - May 14, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      The other NFC East teams may be rebuilding, but they each have major issues.

      Do you really think Bradford can stay on the field for a full season in such a physical division? I have my doubts. Similarly, the Cowboys are a Romo back spasm away from mediocrity. The Giants, though they have talent in spots, are pretty “meh” overall. None of the teams in the NFC East are so deep they can be considered a lock.

      • cowboyhater - May 14, 2015 at 3:57 PM

        I think that’s how the division was looked at last year, and the skins finished in?………I don’t want to debate your statements because they all have merit, but this is exactly what was said for each team last year, but instead of Bradford, we were doubting the talents of Foles. Sorry but Bradford > Foles. Logic will tell you the skins are 2-3 years away from competing for this division, but crazier things have happened and who knows, maybe just maybe it can happen to our skins.We all can hope…can’t we?

  10. kenlinkins - May 14, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    IMO The Cowboys and Eagles both took very big risks this off season and draft, while the Redskins new GM seemed to stay on track with his plan to rebuild a talent poor roster. I am looking for 7 wins this year at most and feel that would show the Improvement required to hope for a NFC East Champ in 2016. I am still wondering why the Cowboys and Eagles took such big risks when winning the NFC East (i.e. making the play-offs) doesn’t look that hard to do for either of them.

  11. CavemanCatching - May 15, 2015 at 2:07 AM

    There are always a lot of “if’s”. But, IF the OL play improves, then the QB play should improve as well (no one was going to do well behind that line last year .. NO ONE!). IF the DL play improves, the DB play will improve, too (no one could cover WR’s that long … NO ONE!).
    The majority of SM’s gun powder this offseason was used rearming the DL and OL. IF those investments payoff, the team’s play will improve significantly. IF they don’t, or IF the injury bug rears it’s ugly head, the team will struggle, once again. Either way, I expect an improvement in the record. How much it is improved depends on the “if’s”. Archives

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