Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Preview: Washington Redskins

2009 Record: 4-12

2009 Rankings:
Total Offense - 22
Run Offense - 27
Pass Offense - 16
Scoring Offense - 26
Total Defense - 10
Run Defense - 16
Pass Defense - 8
Scoring Defense - 18

Washington once again made a trademark splash in free agency this year, bringing in quarterback Donovan McNabb from division rival Philadelphia. Can McNabb revitalize the Redskins offense that failed to break 20 points in 10 games last season. With Mike Shanahan installed as head coach, no one is going to know which running backs the Redskins are going to feature week-to-week. Clinton Portis was the mainstay during the Jim Zorn era, but the Redskins also brought in Willie Parker and Larry Johnson during the offseason to share the load in the backfield. The Redskins once-formidable offensive line got a much-needed infusion of youth with the addition of #1 pick Trent Williams (OT-Oklahoma).

McNabb inherits a receiving corps with a lot of question marks. Tight End Chris Cooley is coming off a season-ending knee injury. The passing game will once again run through Sanatana Moss, who is poised to have a huge season with McNabb throwing him the ball. The Redskins also brought in Joey Galloway to help the receiving unit that is devoid of starting talent. Former 2nd-round picks Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly have been mostly disappointing in their first 2 seasons in the league. Thomas has shown more than Kelly and could compete for the #2 spot on this team, but he hasn't shown the ability to take his game to the next level just yet. Though, with McNabb leading the offense, this could be a breakout year for Thomas.

On defense, the Redskins are moving to a 3-4 alignment this year. Albert Haynesworth made a big to-do about this over the offseason, but should have settled into the Nose Tackle position by the end of camp. Former Rams first round pick Adam Carriker will be placed at one DE position, giving the 'skins a front 3 that looks decent on paper. Their linebackers should be solid once again with London Fletcher anchoring the middle and last years first round pick Brian Orakpo playing at OLB, a position where he should excel. After racking up 11 sacks last season, Orakpo could have an even better year this year. DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers remain the starters at corner in a passing defense that ranked 8th in the league last season. LaRon Landry is a solid player back at safety, capable in both run support and coverage.

The Redskins will likely be an enigma this year. They have the talent to win games against superior opponents but they also have the question marks to lose games to inferior teams. The schedule doesn't help much either, having to play the NFC North and AFC South. Last year, the 'skins were a pathetic 1-7 on the road, which unfortunately is where they have to play both Detroit, St. Louis, and Jacksonville this year. If McNabb can make some plays and not turn the ball over (Jason Campbell had 15 INTs and 13 fumbles last season), Washington could make a run at .500, and maybe even a playoff spot if the cards fall the right way. This team doesn't have a lot of depth anywhere but running back, but Mike Shanahan has definitely gotten more out of less talented teams.

Ian's Prediction: 7-9

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