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Stuck in the middle: bye time

By Evan Bliss

Washington’s bye-week actually came at the ideal time this season. A bye-week too early in the year might not rest any of the players and could further set back a team trying to find its groove. A bye-week too late in the year might result in more players getting hurt from going too long without the coveted week off, and could put out a chemistry fire too close to the playoffs. But a bye-week in the middle, just like that last bowl of just right porridge for Goldilocks, gives the Redskins a fresh start in a good position to make a serious playoff run.

Since the “insheeption” of the bye-week in 1990, the Redskins performance after their bye-week is nearly even keel at 11 wins, 10 losses, 5-3 at home and 6-7 away. Under the Snyder Curtain, the Redskins are 7-4, 3-1 at home and 4-3 away. This season, NFL teams after the bye-week are 8-8, but those playing at home are 5-2 compared to those away at 3-6. With this in mind, it at least looks like Washington’s chances against Philadelphia are improved playing at home after their bye-week.

With eight games under their belt much remains the same. The Redskins’ defense is still their strength, and the offense is still searching for answers. A huge improvement has been the special teams play, but it won’t be long before teams start kicking away from Brandon Banks.

The defense initially struggled, giving up massive chunks of yards, but has managed to create a league leading amount of turnovers, and keep opponents from getting into the end zone. Each week the defense appears to improve, and with Albert Haynesworth playing more snaps of inspired football they should continue to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Consistent stalwarts have been Landry, Fletcher, and Alexander.

The offense initially struggled, and continues to struggle. McNabb hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns yet, and the offense is pretty much good for one touchdown a game -- not the kind of production most were expecting when Misters Shanahans came to Washington. But the problems are well beyond McNabb. The interior offensive line has been abysmal. If the Skins are willing to work out JaMarcus Russell they should at least consider putting Haynesworth on the offensive line for goal line or 4th and short situations. Trent Williams should be the only offensive lineman holding his head up. Someone other than Cooley and Moss need to step up at receiver. Armstrong’s been decent, Galloway faded and Williams invisible. Aside from more consistent play, the offense needs to cut down on stupid drive-killing penalties, but when you’re getting beat every down I guess you get jumpy or must resort to holding. Resolution: stop getting beat every down.

It’s a strange feeling. I think we all want and expect more out of our Redskins, but they’re actually in good shape in a mediocre NFC this year. A couple adjustments, getting guys healthy, getting a bit smarter, with some more passionate and inspired football and the playoffs should be within their grasp.

By Evan Bliss  | November 5, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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