Head coach Jay Gruden had a few initial thoughts about the Redskins' regular season schedule, which was officially released Wednesday night.
In a video with Redskins.com, Gruden gave a week-by-week breakdown of their 2019 opponents. He touched on the Redskins playing three NFC East opponents over the first four weeks, discussed their Monday night home game against the Chicago Bears in Week 3 and reviewed their trips to Minnesota and Buffalo in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively.
"And then finally, we get a bye," Gruden said of his team's plans for Week 10. "We'll need it."
The Redskins are not used to having their week off in November. They haven't had a bye week this late since 2014, Gruden's first year in Washington, and have only had four double-digit bye weeks over the past 19 years. To find the last time the Redskins had off later than Week 10, you have to go all the way back to the coaching days of Norv Turner in 2000.
However, for a franchise that was among the first teams to have a break between games the past two seasons, having a later bye week in 2019 may be strategically and physically beneficial.
For the Redskins and other teams around the NFL, the beginning of the season is often about finding an identity and developing a formula of consistent winning. It's usually not until later in the year where teams make adjustments -- whether that be a result of injury or poor performance -- and perhaps figure out new ways to achieve success.
But with a Week 5 bye in 2017 and a Week 4 bye last season, the Redskins did not receive the necessary time during the latter stages of the year to rest and re-evaluate. These breaks came at a point when many of their players were healthy and prepared to compete. And once they returned to the field, the Redskins endured a two-and-a-half-month stretch with little time off.
The early bye week proved especially detrimental a year ago, as most of the Redskins' season-ending injuries occurred after their bye week in late September. This forced them to experiment with new combinations across many position groups while still preparing for a weekly opponent. As a result, a 6-3 start gave way to six losses in seven games to close out the year.
As for the 2019 campaign, the impact of the Redskins' Week 10 bye remains to be seen. But if the past two seasons are any indication, the Redskins will welcome what Gruden believes should be some much-needed rest.