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Saturday August 30, 2008 10:01 am

NFL Preview: Washington Redskins




Posted by Dean Browski Categories: NFL,

Jason Campbell of the Washington Redskins

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
2007 RECORD: 9-7

Overview: The 2007 Redskins did make the playoffs after a strong finish to the regular season, winning four straight.  That gives ‘Skins fans a reason to be excited.  A new coaching staff though is going to have to make significant strides during preseason camp to get an average offense to hit their stride.  Jim Zorn, by all accounts, has a great football mind, but he is the head coach and offensive coordinator* and has never held either of these positions in the NFL.  Expect some growing pains early on and a heavy reliance on their defense. 

*Sherman Smith is listed as the Offensive Coordinator but Zorn will be making the play calls.

Offense: Questions abound with the Redskins offensive unit.  At QB will be Jason Campbell who is well thought of, but is yet to do the things necessary to actually be a good QB.  The Redskins made their playoff run with Todd Collins at the helm after Campbell’s knee injury in Week 14 and now Campbell has to show the ability to adapt to a new offense.  Campbell’s most obvious quality, a strong arm, may not be needed in the new West Coast style brought by Zorn, so we will have to see if he can find the touch and timing that is required.  He does have a great TE in Chris Cooley to throw the ball to, but not many wide receivers that instill confidence.  The ‘Skins don’t have much confidence either in the wide receivers as they took two of them and a TE with their first three draft picks.  The offensive line suffered many injuries last year and their lack of depth was exposed.  While they enter the year healthy, little if anything was done to address the lack of depth.

Defense: The defense was the strength of last year’s team and will need to be again if the Redskins hope to make the playoffs.  Within the defense, the best unit was the D-line and they made it better with the offseason acquisition of Jason Taylor from the Dolphins.  Taylor and Andre Carter should cause trouble for opposing offenses.  But while the D-line got a little better, the other two units needed the help and didn’t get it.  London Fletcher leads the LB corps but he struggles in coverage and isn’t exactly a spring chicken.  There are numerous questions about the health and the ability of the secondary.  The Redskins need Shawn Springs to maintain the success he had last year and to have Carlos Rogers be the shutdown corner they believe he can be.  New defensive coordinator Greg Blache better hit the ground running.

Rookies: The Redskins got some dudes that can play the WR position with their #1 and #3 picks.  Devin Thomas out of Michigan St. can fly and if he can get the offense down, he may become a valued target of Jason Campbell.  Even better than Thomas was the Redskins #3 pick, Malcolm Kelly from Oklahoma.  Kelly has size and speed and is an excellent route runner, a quality that is essential for Zorn’s offense.  With their number two pick the Redskins chose Fred Davis, TE from USC.  Davis is athletic, but is going to make his biggest contribution by blocking and allowing Chris Cooley to get into more routes.  The Redskins got 10 guys in the draft this year and have a nice foundation for the future.

Prediction: The Washington Redskins are going to be very, very good . . . in 2009.  The caveat to that statement is owner Daniel Snyder having patience.  The Redskins may actually be better this year than last, but not have it reflected in their record.  Their first 5 games are all tough with the weakest opponent being the Arizona Cardinals, who may not be all that bad this year.  That doesn’t bode well for a team with a new coaching staff and a new offense to learn.  I predict the Redskins to finish 2008 with a record of 7-9.


View All of Dean Browski’s 2008 NFL Team Projections

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Comments:

I like LaRon Landry but to say that their defense starts with him is a bit overblown.  I can see saying that about Bob Sanders and the Colts, but Landry and the ‘Skins, after only 1 year?  I can’t do that just yet.

I appreciate your perspective on the feelings toward Moss and Randle El but are you forgetting Moss’ giving up on that ball in the playoff game against Seattle last year?  Moss had a bad year.  Randle El had a better year, I would say over-performed, and is more likely to be closer to his career stats than last year’s stats.  I believe these were motivating factors in the Redskins draft selections.

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