The Washington Redskins could end the 2019 NFL season as a respectable football team.
The Redskins are currently 3-9 and have won back to back football games. They look like a team that is peaking at the completely wrong time of the season when wins to the naked eye seemingly mean nothing. On the surface, the Redskins look like a team that needs to position itself for the best draft spot possible to give themselves a shot at a player the caliber of Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. In the Redskins’ case, they believe they have plenty to play for. At least that is what interim head coach Bill Callahan will tell you if you ask him. At the top of his list of motivational factors would be earning the right to have the interim tag removed from his name and become the next head coach of the Washington Redskins. Callahan is currently 3-4 as Redskins’ interim head coach, and if he is able to finish this season with a winning record, he will put himself in position for consideration for the permanent gig.
The Redskins need to see quarterback Dwayne Haskins learn how to continue winning football games. His development will go a long way in Redskins management deciding if he can help this team be successful beyond this season. Watching him make big plays in the clutch and find ways to win helps build his confidence, but what they really need to see is him improving in all areas each week. Haskins’ stat lines have been below average, but he has shown on individual plays why the Redskins should be very optimistic about his continued growth into the quarterback position. In addition to Dwayne Haskins, the Skins have a bunch of young talent that needs to be evaluated. The defense has played better in recent weeks with the emergence of players like cornerback Fabian Moreau. In recent weeks, there has been increased production from rookie inside linebacker Cole Holcomb, rookie outside linebacker Montez Sweat, and host of others. These last few games of the season are a chance for these youngsters to prove they belong on the team, and they should be a part of the Redskins’ future.
The thing that most football/Redskin fans in general don’t want to acknowledge is the idea that the Redskins are numerically still very much alive in the NFC East division championship picture. The Dallas Cowboys lost yet again on Thursday night bringing their record to 6-7 with three tough games left to play. The Philadelphia Eagles lost a what was thought to be guaranteed game to the Miami Dolphins last weekend binging them to 5-7. As ridiculous as it may sound, the door is slightly open for the Redskins to sneak in and win the division with a winnable game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and the last three games being all NFC East battles. If the Redskins are able to come away with a victory at Lambeau Field Sunday, the NFC East could get really interesting for the remainder of this season.
We can’t ignore the fact the NFC East has been the doormat of the rest of the NFL this season, but if you can manage to get into the playoffs, all bets are off because it turns essentially into a new season. It’s not anything new for the Redskins to have to win out in order to be eligible for the playoffs. They won 5 straight in 2005, 4 straight in 2007, 7 straight in 2012, and 4 straight in 2015 in order to do so. By the looks of it, they are due for another improbable run. I know, that’s well beyond an optimistic perspective considering how poorly this team has played this season. That said, with the Redskins seemingly peaking at this point of the season, it appears the rest of the NFC is collapsing. I’m not going to sit here and sell Redskin fans a dream and say they have a legit shot at running the table, but it isn’t completely beyond the realm of possibility with the rest of the division playing as poorly as they are currently. If the Redskins can win out, it would be improbable, but at the same time it wouldn’t be surprising.
A win at Lambeau Field could mean a lot for this team. If this young Redskins team is given a glimmer of hope, they may be able to capitalize on it against a battered NFC East. There is an immense amount that would need to take place for the Redskins to have a legitimate shot, but they can only do their part and hope the pieces fall where they should. The Cowboys would have to lose out and the Eagles would have to go 1-2 in their final two games in the addition to the Redskins winning out.
The Redskins need to focus on getting better each week and building off their prior performances. They do that, the rest will take care of itself if it is meant to be. I can easily sit here and say “The Redskins don’t deserve to make the playoffs, and they are not who I want to see representing the NFC East in the Wild Card just to watch them go out and lose in their first game”, but the truth is a late season Redskin run is not only good for the Redskins and their players, but also for the moral of the remaining fans that have stuck around to see this season through. They of all people deserve it.
We will see if the Redskins can start a streak by establishing an identity that translates to wins these next four games. We will see if this team plays for Callahan or if they play for themselves based on the effort they give. At the end of the day, they are professionals, but somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose. The Redskins have done their share of losing for 20 years, and at some point they have to change the narrative. No reason to wait for next season to do so just for draft status because there are no guarantees in the draft anyways. Develop who you have, and build a culture because whoever they draft doesn’t need to be brought into a losing environment like previous draft picks have been in past seasons. As you were…