Friday, August 19, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: Washington Redskins

Last season can only be described as a disaster for the Washington Redskins. The Donovan McNabb trade clearly blew up in their face, and they had a little circus going on with Albert Haynesworth. It couldn't have gotten much worse for Mike Shanahan in his first year in Washington. Will this year be an improvement, or could it possibly get worse?

What's New: There are a lot of new faces on this team this season. They start at the WR position with the additions of Donte Stallworth from Baltimore and Jabar Gaffney from Denver. They also added NT Barry Cofield from the division rival Giants, FS O.J Atogwe from St. Louis, RB Tim Hightower from Arizona. and tackle Sean Locklear from Seattle. Guard Chris Chester comes over from Baltimore, and DE Stephen Bowen comes from Dallas to the nation's capital as well. In the draft, they added DE Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue, who combined with Brian Orakpo can really bring a strong pass rush to this team. However, they also lost some important pieces too, with guys like Casey Rabach going to Baltimore and Andre Carter going to New England. All of these changes however don't amount to a huge change in the talent level for the Redskins.

Biggest Strength: They have a decent set of running backs in Washington, with Tim Hightower and Ryan Torain, who will need to help whoever is starting at QB by giving them a balance on offense. They also have a decent group of receivers with guys like Santana Moss, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and TE Chris Cooley. On defense, the Redskins have a very good pass rush with one of the league's best at it in Brian Orakpo, rookie Ryan Kerrigan, and London Fletcher. Their 3-4 Linebacking corps  a very good collection of talent, and that should help an average defensive front and secondary.

Biggest Weakness: Obviously, it's the QB position. They didn't do anything to upgrade the QB position at all this offseason, even though some may consider the Donovan McNabb trade an upgrade to locker room stability. Rex Grossman played decently at the end of last season, and he is the incumbent next to John Beck. They both aren't amazing talents, and most people know what they'll get out of either QB, and it doesn't help that the collection of offensive weapons in Washington isn't amazing. A better collection of weapons would obviously help them, but they need to get a surprise performance from either QB to get an extra win or two this season.

Outlook: Not very bright. This QB situation is not a desirable one to have, clearly, and they will need a great combination of surprises and career performances to have a shot at the playoffs. It will take plenty of them for the Redskins to live up to Rex Grossman's prediction of them becoming NFC East Champs. It may not be a very pretty year  in the nation's capital for the Redskins.

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