Redskins don't see benefit in having NFL's toughest schedule
By STEPHEN WHYNO
Nov. 15, 2017
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — No team in the NFL has faced a tougher schedule so far than the Washington Redskins.
Through nine games, Redskins opponents have a combined record of 52-30, and four of Washington's five losses have come against first-place teams. They bear the scars from that rough road, but don't want to be graded on a curve.
"You benefit if you can get those games and then you win them," tight end Vernon Davis said Wednesday. "But you make it tough on yourself when you don't win. You put yourself in a position to fall short."
Washington is 4-5, with victories against the top two teams in the NFC West. But the schedule doesn't get any easier Sunday at the New Orleans Saints (7-2), who have won seven in a row and lead the NFC South.
It's the latest high-pressure test for a team accustomed to being the underdog.
"Nobody said we were going into Seattle and win, either," running back Chris Thompson. The Redskins need to "just be the team that we know we're capable of being. The results can fall either way."
Quarterback Kirk Cousins knows results can fall either way and for some time has said there's not much difference between 10-6 and 6-10 teams because of the thin margin of error. But the Redskins have shown they could push the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, and don't consider any opponent to be out of their league.
"We've stood toe to toe with a lot of good teams in this league," Cousins said. "In some of those tight games we've come out on top, and some of them we haven't. Hopefully here in this stretch of seven games, we can be the ones that come out on top."
After letting a game slip away last week against Minnesota, the Redskins cannot afford another inconsistent performance like that as they try to remain in the NFC wild-card hunt. Defensive lineman Ziggy Hood considers each game a "redemption week," with sights set on more than just contending with top teams.
"We're always going to have the confidence of going out there and playing like that," Hood said. "We've just got to finish."
Sometimes the Redskins have finished. And sometimes they haven't. Regardless, injuries have piled up.
Coach Jay Gruden figures time will tell whether the tough schedule will pay dividends down the stretch.
"This is a week-to-week league, for sure," Gruden said. "As far as how that will treat us later in the season, we'll have to wait and see."
NOTES: LT Trent Williams (knee), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) and WR Jamison Crowder (personal reasons) didn't practice Wednesday. Gruden said Reed is "progressing" and the team will know more about Williams on Thursday. ... LB Zach Brown (Achilles tendon), OT T.J. Clemmings (ankle), WR Ryan Grant and TE Niles Paul (concussion), S DeAngelo Hall, RG Brandon Scherff and DL Anthony Lanier (knee), C Spencer Long (knees), LG Shawn Lauvao (stinger), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder) and DL Matt Ioannidis (hand) were all limited at practice. Gruden thinks Ioannidis has a chance to play against the Saints. ... RB Samaje Perine will get the bulk of the carries after Rob Kelley was placed on injured reserve with knee and ankle injuries. The team signed Byron Marshall off the Eagles' practice squad to be the third running back. ... After putting Will Compton on IR, the Redskins signed LB Zach Vigil, who was in camp and then spent time on Buffalo's practice squad.