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Need to Know: Is the Redskins’ window open?

May 12, 2016, 5:20 AM EDT

Cousins-to-Reed-vs-Saints

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 12, one day before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 123 days ago. It will be 123 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener. Welcome to the midway point of the offseason.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 1; OTAs start 12; Redskins training camp starts 78

Hot topic

Is the Redskins Super Bowl window open?

The conventional view is that the window is open if you are a serious contender to get a playoff bye thus able to get yourself into the best position to make a run. The 2016 Redskins may be contenders for the NFC East but that may mean they only need to win nine or 10 games. That won’t get them a bye.

The 2012 Seahawks were a good example of the textbook team that had an open window. They rallied to beat the Redskins in the first round of the playoffs and put a scare into the top-seeded Falcons before losing to them. You could see them coming a mile away and they won the Super Bowl following the 2013 season before losing a stunner to the Patriots the next season.

But you don’t see every Super Bowl team coming. A year ago the Panthers were coming off of a 7-8-1 season. That was good enough to win the NFC South and they did win their wild card playoff game. But nobody saw a window opening in Charlotte until they were in the process of rolling to a 14-0 start. Now that window is wide open.

Perhaps the most interesting question is where the Redskins organization think it is in terms of a window. On the one hand, a move like jumping to sign Josh Norman to a monster free agent contract seems like part of a strategy of a team that thinks it’s not too far from being able to get to the championship game. Then again, they were very patient in the draft, not trading up to fill needs but instead taking the best player available. That’s how a team that is looking at the long haul operates. The mixed signals are difficult to sort out.

So what is the state of the Redskins’ window? Looking at it right now, at the midway point of the offseason, it’s hard to see much of an opening. There are too many questions along the defensive line, at running back, and at safety, among other places, to think that this team has a realistic chance at playing in the Super Bowl in January. Winning a playoff game would be .

But you never know. As we saw with the Panthers, a window can be open just a crack in September but end up wide open when December comes around. I don’t see that happening but then again you rarely do.

Stat of the day

In 2015 the Redskins’ pass defense allowed opposing quarterbacks a passer rating of 96.1, 22nd in the NFL. That’s not where they want to be but their performance was substantially better than it was in 2014. The opponent’s passer rating was 108.3, last in the NFL by a substantial margin (the Bears were 31st at 101.7).

In case you missed it 

 

  1. austrianhttrfan - May 12, 2016 at 6:00 AM

    Rich,
    As Kirk was listed as number 85 on the top 100 list…I was wondering if you will make an article with your guessing where other Redskins will be located….or who else will be on the list…probably:
    1. Jackson (50-60)
    2. Trent (40-50)
    3. Reed (40-50)
    4. Norman (10-20)

    Your thoughts on that?

    • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 7:39 AM

      Don’t tell the Kirk bashers that he is ranked that high. Ahead of Andrew Luck, btw. Therefore Jackson won’t likely be on the list this year.

      • lezziemcdykerson - May 12, 2016 at 4:27 PM

        Did anyone think that it was weird that only RJF and Gerald McCoy offered commentary on his play? It’s like they voted him in but they couldn’t find anyone to interview about his performance. When you watch other players, even the more obscure guys, there’s like 4 or 5 guys saying “oh yeah this guy can play. He’s under the radar but he’s going to do big things.” etc. No such commentary for Kirk, yet they voted him in. The dolphin toothed guy from the Texans made a joke about You Like That but that was it.

        • Trey Gregory - May 13, 2016 at 2:47 AM

          It’s not that weird. First, Goldson also talked about him. So that was three. Then, they don’t talk to every player in the league. They only interview a few then use the best sound bites from each. So it’s usually from a player who played the team the past season, a teammate, or someone else who plays the same position. There’s a chance other people talked about him but they just weren’t very good sound bites. Or they just didn’t talk to a lot of people who played Washington last year. It seems like maybe Tyron Matthew is taking over the Ike Taylor role in the show and we didn’t play AZ last year. I don’t think Cousins has ever played AZ. So that could have a little to do with it too.

        • lezziemcdykerson - May 13, 2016 at 3:37 PM

          Yeah but I’m not counting former Redskins. We played the Packers Daniels didn’t say anything. Malcolm Jenkins kind of gave a sideways compliment. Maybe there weren’t any good sound bites I just thought it was weird that some of the more obscure listees had more of a variety of commentary than Kirk.

        • Trey Gregory - May 13, 2016 at 6:18 PM

          I guess I don’t understand why you wouldn’t count a guy who played with him last year?

          And, with the obscure guys, I noticed that they used interviews from guys who played with them in college.

          But yeah, people aren’t always going to give good sound bites. The video editor has to sort through and edit what works best. They have a limited amount of time so these guy’s comments get heavily edited. If the guy talks quickly, and doesn’t provide a natural pause to cut and edit, then it’s hard to use. And since they used the “you like that” montage, they had less time and probably needed to either use less comments or only use comments they could easily cut down.

        • lezziemcdykerson - May 13, 2016 at 6:41 PM

          I don’t count people that played with him, even if they have good insight, because to me it’s more of a sign of respect to have your opponents speak to your level of play. I’m splitting hairs here, obviously he has the respect of his peers if he was voted in just found it odd there wasn’t more “where did this guy come from?”interviews.

        • Trey Gregory - May 14, 2016 at 12:21 AM

          Ohhhh okay. I see what you’re saying. To be fair, he’s really only started one season. Usually guys play longer before they make that list, so the league knows them better. But I see what you’re saying.

          I like that Francois is so ride or die about Cousins though. I think it’s a good sign when a leader in defense is so supportive of the QB. Francois paid Cousins some compliments last season but it was cool to actually see him say the words. Forget what the rest of the league thinks. All that matters is if the team believes in each other.

        • lezziemcdykerson - May 13, 2016 at 6:57 PM

          And yeah they interviewed players that were teammates in college but that’s in addition to the fact they played against each other too. Freeman and Telvin Smith for ex.

    • Rich Tandler - May 12, 2016 at 8:21 AM

      I don’t really have many thoughts on that list. The “voting” is very flawed. It’s fine, we’ll write a post on CSN when a Redskin is announced but I’m not going to get int predicting where players will fall.

    • Mr.moneylover - May 12, 2016 at 10:02 AM

      Desean Jackson won’t make the list because he missed 7 games last year

  2. austrianhttrfan - May 12, 2016 at 6:00 AM

    The videos on CSN work again, thank you very much Rich in case you told them!!!

    • Rich Tandler - May 12, 2016 at 8:16 AM

      I did tell them. Site was updated this morning, I assume this was one of the issues that was addressed.

      I passed it along to the tech folks since that fix is kind of difficult to test, thanks for letting me know.

      • lezziemcdykerson - May 12, 2016 at 4:19 PM

        Rich I posted this yesterday about CSN videos but it was probably buried under my other comments:

        Also the videos on CSN wont mute, I’m in Chicago. If I click to mute it takes me to the video page with other videos. It used to do that when they switched the design but, if I scrolled down to read the article the video would pop out and if I mute or pause, it would work. Now it doesn’t pop out it just opens another page so I have to mute my cpu every time I go on csn.

        And since I just came from CSN and saw this http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/washington-redskins/redskins-sign-two-more-college-free-agents-bringing-total-16 I wanted to ask is just arbitrary when rookies decide to sign? I know the new CBA essentially put an end to rookie hold outs but what takes them so long to sign? Is it at their discretion, ie previous family obligations, training elsewhere etc, or are they negotiating their contracts? How much room does the current CBA allow for rookie negotiations? Sorry for the onslaught but I’m just wondering why it isn’t more uniform because I thought that was apart of the reason the new CBA addressed rookie contracts.

      • Dcwun - May 12, 2016 at 9:17 PM

        What about just reading regular columns Rich? RealRedskins is the only thing you can read on the site using a smartphone since the forms was changed.

  3. sidepull - May 12, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    Window is cracked, and anything can happen. That being said I think they are two years out on a SB run. Couple more drafts and they should be a pretty solid team. That is, as long as Scot is in the fold and Cuz proves out over the next couple years. Suppose that Cuz doesnt step up, and we saw his ceiling last year. Where does that put the Redskins? With Norman, Djax that the Redskins saw opportunity knocking and took their best shot at landing those players. I agree it does send mixed messages. Hard to figure. Cant wait to see what they envision, implemented and in action.

  4. colorofmyskinz - May 12, 2016 at 6:40 AM

    The window. I see the window cracking open and it happening in the next 3 years – that is the window I see. It is all about locking in key talent for that window. We have the following locked for that 3-year window, which I believe to be Super Bowl caliber talent (hedging on some rookies and others that have not proven themselves here but have the college tape and I believe will): Williams, Scherff, Moses, Crowder, Docston, Reed, Jones, Kerrigan, Smith, Cravens, Breeland, Norman, Way, Hopkins. There are many that are Super Bowl talent on the team, but we do not have them contractually locked for that 3-year window yet, like: cousins, garcon, Djax, Gallette. I am sure I missed many. But it was easy to list 18 top talent that could produce and take us to the big show.

    I think the window for us is 3 years. The key is locking the key Super Bowl caliber talent for that 3-year window to allow them to gel with each other. We are beginning to see that contracting strategy.

    I think this year we find ourselves deep into the playoffs. We have depth in a big way this year, different than past years. Many of our second stringer rotational guys could be starters. That is the true sign. Once we get the deep playoff win this year after the NFC East last year, and we complete the 3+ year contacting of other key talent, the team will believe, and that is what it takes. Add another draft or 2 with Scot, and the window opens wide!

    HTTR!

  5. troylok - May 12, 2016 at 8:26 AM

    They need some things to go their way. They don’t have depth at some key positions like running back and OLB. A few injuries could put them on the “window closed” side of things. If Cousins regresses just a little bit – or God forbid gets injured – then that window isn’t looking too good, either. I think the way the roster looks today, they will be very productive on offense. I think teams will take advantage of our defense using the hurry up offense more this year. They saw what Green Bay did to us. Barry can be so sub-happy. I realize he was working with a roster that had been rendered less versatile due to key players being injured, but they are all back now and the sub packages need to be reduced.

    • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 9:23 AM

      The modern NFL is going to have MORE sub packages than fewer. There are just a few teams that can do what Rodgers did to the Redskins (Had the refs called the illegal motion on the first play the results would’ve been different). But there is/was a simple way of stopping that. Use one of those superfluous timeouts in the first half. Injuries reduced the sub-packages. Not having Kyshoen Jarrett in there on nickle was detrimental. Fewer sub-packages is not the answer.

      • Trey Gregory - May 12, 2016 at 7:53 PM

        Those 12 men on the field penalties are some Busch league BS. It’s unbelievable to me that they make so many rule changes that hurt the game every year but they don’t try to clean up gimmicky stuff like that. Greenbay didn’t score that TD because they were playing better football. They scored it because Rogers knows how to take advantage of a technicality and that the refs will give him the benefit of the doubt. How does a guy who’s 3 inches from the sideline and jogging off affect the actual gameplay? They need to figure out a way to give defenses a reasonable amount of time to sub. Just a couple extra seconds or something. They make 100 new rules that favor the offense. They may as well at least let the D sub in the proper personnel.

        Correct me if I’m wrong but I think it was Terrance Knighton’s lard butt who kept getting caught. Whoever it was I remember them leisurely jogging off with no sense of urgency. That’s a problem, and a way to fix it, right there. Gruden and Barry should have crushed his soul for that. That’s also why it would be great to have a 3 down DT. That way we just sub in an extra tackle or shade a guy over instead of taking a bug guy off the field.

        • bangkokben - May 13, 2016 at 8:35 AM

          The ironic thing was that the ref’s called the 12 men on the field (something that can actually get reviewed) and failed at least twice to miss the two men in motion at the snap of the ball (non-reviewable).

      • lezziemcdykerson - May 12, 2016 at 7:56 PM

        Next time someone needs to “cramp up” so we can use an injury timeout. #Sportsmanship

    • ET - May 12, 2016 at 12:18 PM

      “A few injuries could put them on the “window closed” side of things.”

      To be fair, that’s the case with almost every team. See Packers, Green Bay and Cowboys, Dallas for two examples from last season where a few key injuries decimated a team’s short-term survivability.

      Or look at the Ravens. Or Indy. Or look at the off-season roster churn in Denver. I think it’s fair to speculate that the Broncos’ window is shut for at least a season despite being a well-managed and talented team.

      Point is: most teams have a few blue-chip linchpin players. And some teams (e.g., Dallas) are pretty abysmal without those players. The Skins keep getting better depth-wise, so hopefully we don’t drop off the edge of a cliff even if there are some injury curveballs (as there almost always are).

      • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 12:31 PM

        There are always a few guys that you have to knock on wood for. This year it’s probably. Trent Williams, Jordan Reed, Josh Norman, Junior Galette, and Kirk Cousins. Although, I think the ‘skins could still be competitive with McCoy, the playoffs are likely out of the question. Losing Lachey in training camp in Richie Petibone’s only year as head coach crushed his chances of ever coaching again in the NFL.

        • ET - May 12, 2016 at 2:20 PM

          Poor Richie. He’s a good dude. But coming in as head coach after the Joe Gibbs Golden Years? Ooof.

  6. bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    Since this is Washington and the local team hasn’t been to the Super Bowl in a generation, imagine an old home with wood framed windows. Then imagine a time where — like the past two weeks — where it has been raining or damp for YUGE chunks of the day. Now try opening that window. The Redskins at this very point are like that window. The latches are open but that window is stuck. It’s going to take a lot of force to get the window open now but with enough effort you can get it open or with a little patience it will be dry soon and it will open easily. Bottom line, the organization is building a team that can compete while they build and for the long haul. As soon as that window opens — whether that be in December or next year — it will be open for YEARS. Conversely, Dallas’ window is about to close.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 12, 2016 at 9:33 AM

      Believe it or not, Ben, it HAS been raining for about two weeks here.
      ~

    • renhoekk2 - May 12, 2016 at 10:27 AM

      Agree. The Redskins have a good young core of players under 30. TWill, Cousins, Kerrigan, Reed, PSmith, Crowder, Scherff, Moses, Breeland and others. Romo and Eli are 36 and 35 respectively. Now some will argue that QB’s at that age can still produce at a high level. I would say guys like TBrady and PManning, BFavre could because they were truly elite QB’s. Romo and Eli are not elite. Yes Eli won two SB and played well in those games, but elite QB’s W-L record are not a few games over .500. Eli is a .530 winning QB. Over a 12 year career he has won 11 more games than he’s lost. Does that sound elite? His brother was .700 and Brady is .777. Romo for what it is worth is .614. Not elite either. Elite QB’s age gracefully. The rest just age. With Romo’s injury history I have him playing 8-10 games this season.

      • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 10:47 AM

        Dallas is hoping that Tony Romo can strap it on for 1.5 – 2 seasons and then turn it over to Prescot. I’m betting against it. They may catch lightning in a bottle and make a run this year but I’d put that at about a 30% chance of it happening. Their ceiling may be higher than the ‘skins this year but their cellar is lower — much lower.

  7. mattphillipsdc - May 12, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    If you go by history the losing Super Bowl team struggle the following year/s and the Panthers I believe will be no different. They lost a key player, Cam was exposed and they play a much tougher schedule. Opposing teams will watch the two games they lost to Atlanta and Denver and see how to make Cam one dementional.
    I am predicting the Redskins will be a 10 win team this year even with a tougher schedule. Worste case 7-9, best case 12-4. Last year I thought we would be 6-10 and so did Vegas, this year Vegas is giving us 7.5 wins. I believe the coaches learned from last year and will be much more aggressive on both sides of the ball. When they are so conservative they become predictable and easy to game plan. They also have more weapons on both sides of the ball to be more aggressive. I would like to see a lot more passing to the RBs on 1st downs like they do in New England like it’s almost part of the run game. We have fast and very fast RBs with very good hands and we should take advantage of those skill sets. On defense there is no doubt we will blitz and show blitz more. It would be hard to blitz less then last year especially first half of the season (we were the lowest blitzing team blitzing 18% of the time).

  8. Mr.moneylover - May 12, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    We have a lot of young talent …the window is still open…Dallas window is closing fast because romo age …its so stressful to still see the national media disrespect this team like they haven’t did nothing good these two pass seasons…I hope kirk cousins improve this year because if he do it will be so funny to sit back and laugh at those who crown Dallas as the winner of the NFC East so early in the off-season… I wonder how the players feel about that …I know junior gallette is pissed off about it I can only imagine how the others feel about it

  9. Tramell - May 12, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Too many questions? That sounds like because the media can’t figure it out. So they have questions. Gruden thinks those positions are fine.

  10. kenlinkins - May 12, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    At the halfway point of the off season, the Redskins window may be a little more OPEN then most think. To date the Redskins have not received any real bad news. No one in jail, everyone seems to be getting healthy, and NO DRAMA! The Redskins seem to have fixed a very weak Defensive backfield, should have a better pass rush, ILB should be solid and be no worst off a D-Line with a chance to find a Vet or Two that will “One year rentals”. The Offense looks to be able to throw the ball with anyone and Special Teams should not cause coach’s night mares. While I agree that the Redskins are not yet ready to WIn a Super Bowl (or even get to the Super Bowl) they could very well win a Play-Off game or maybe two. IMO the biggest concern is how to stop teams who use the “No Huddle” to wear down the D-Line. So how about it: IYO What is the best way to kill a team using the No Huddle / Hurry Up Offense?

    • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 12:36 PM

      “…stop teams who use the “No Huddle”

      How many teams do this effectively? I think this is simply what is fresh in Redskin fans minds from the Green Bay game. The Redskins swept Philly and they ran the fastest tempo.

      • kenlinkins - May 12, 2016 at 2:26 PM

        IMO the Redskins will see a lot more of it this year!

        • bangkokben - May 12, 2016 at 4:51 PM

          Why? By whom? And most importantly, so what? If they do, they’ll have to adapt. It not like they were shutting teams down defensively and now teams have to speed things up. One game with the best QB in the league.

    • kenlinkins - May 12, 2016 at 9:20 PM

      One of the things I would try is picking the weaker OG and place the NT on him, then I would double team that OG, then run a inside blitz over him, then loop OLB blitz over him, then SS Blitz on him, I would try and wear him out (and spead the work around the defense by changing the DL over that OG) looking for a sack, holding call or False start (i.e. drive killers). I would use a OT is needed to reset the defense but only if they cross my 30 yard line. I would also gamble a bit by jumping some short routes over the middle to let the QB know he better double check what is really happening. IMO we will see more of this up tempo in 2016 (yes, I know Bangkokben doesn’t see it that way) maybe not as first call offensive but teams will try it more for short time frames and teams better be ready to count it.

      • Trey Gregory - May 13, 2016 at 3:24 AM

        I’m sure Barry has all kinds of stunts and wrinkles built into his defense. And I’m sure they identify weaker players in their game prepersations every week. But it’s also about execution. Barry seemed timid to throw wrinkles into his defense last year. Maybe because he wasn’t confident in his guys. Or maybe he just doesn’t like to. Because you could give up a big play if the offense catches you on the blitz or jumping routs or whatever. Barry got a little more creative late in the season. But for the most part he played it safe.

        The way to neutralize the hurry up is to have 3 down players on the defense. Guys who can just line up play after play and go. The rules tilt in the offense’s favor too much to really do much else.

  11. smotion55 - May 12, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    The window has a crack in it just like a car windshield . It is going to grow and already has at a very high rate .They are 1 draft away from being in the talk for sure. A TOP = Center ,D-Lineman OLB, Safety, and a Running Back they can count on keeps then at the door step.

  12. Richard Joiner - May 12, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    Rich Tandler, you’re one of the most knowledgeable Redskins’ insiders in the league and I’d LOVE to have a job similar to yours, but here’s my take on the window of opportunity for this Redskins’ team in 2016….
    The “Window” for the Redskins to make a lot of noise this year, will definitely be wide open. The Washington Redskins will have a very successful year this year as Bruce Allen and company did a terrific job in the N.F.L. Draft and with offseason acquisitions in really giving them a defensive facelift. The Josh Norman signing was as good as it gets as the defense needed a number one, shut down cornerback that’s in his prime so, that in itself is going to open up a lot of opportunities for Joe Barry to prove that he’s the right Defensive Coordinator and he’s got a number of young, very talented player to work with this year along the line and linebackers such as a backup within Preston Smith and a starter within Will Compton plus many other capable players to plug and play with. This should be a strong and effective defense in this upcoming season with DeAngelo Hall providing some education for the young players that they’ve got on the team now such as the hybrid linebacker / safety, Sua Cravens and I see Hall teaching him to play the safety position better than anyone else on that defense, that’s simply one example because, there are many other positional players like Trent Murphy moving from linebacker to the defensive line, are going to have to adjust to this year, which will be a smooth transition for him so, the defense should make gigantic strides, from years past, in the right direction this season.
    The offensive side will be absolutely remarkable if they stay healthy and buy into Jay Gruden’s scheme from day one because, there’s excellent talent at nearly every position. The question mark at the running back position will be answered very quickly as Matt Jones showed his potential last year however, he’s going to have to beat out the rookie from Georgia, Keith Marshall and this kid is a fast, power running back that can make a move on a dime, then utilize his speed to rip a defense apart. This will be one of the most intriguing battles to keep your eyes on and another one to watch for is rookie sensation, Josh Doctson from T.C.U., he’s got the frame, hands and route running skills of a veteran as he’s going to be able to display his skill set soon. Like Keith Marshall, Doctson will play right away due to his unique intangibles and he’s going to be one of the best red zone threats that the Redskins have had in years as he was a very smart pick in this year’s draft class. Kirk Cousins will have the most dynamic wide receiving cores and a proven pass catching tight end in Jordan Reed so, as long as they all stay healthy, Cousins will have the best year of his career. They’ve built an excellent offensive line to protect him, but the challenges facing this is going to be the center position and teaching the running backs the best way of blocking for their quarterback on pass plays. We’re going to witness one of the best offenses that Washington has had in the past several years and it’s going to be really interesting to watch as the season approaches.
    I might be a bit amped up for the 2016 season, but from what I’ve heard and seen so far, this “Window” to reach the ultimate goal is wide open for the revamped Redskins to make a difference from last year to this new, upcoming year. My take on all aspects of this Redskins’ squad is that they’re going to surprise fans of the N.F.L. across the country and it’s a possibility that they end this season with approximately twelve (12) wins and get a stunning bye week with home field advantage throughout the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly two decades so yes, I’m extremely excited for this Washington Redskins’ season, and the future of this historical franchise. H.T.T.R.!!! BURGUNDY and GOLD, FOREVER!!!🏆🏈🏆……….

    • Rich Tandler - May 12, 2016 at 4:32 PM

      Thanks for the good words!

    • LuvTaSmackYa - May 12, 2016 at 7:30 PM

      You’re definitely sipping on something nice, can I get a swig???

  13. hotpicksblog - May 13, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    the Redskins won’t make the playoffs because they can’t run the football and they have the worst Defensive Coordinator in the history of the NFL. Nobody should ever tell the league their philosophy of rush 4 drop 7 and then do exactly that virtually every single snap. It allows team to pass on you easily….Which by the way is exactly what happened.

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