Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 NFL PREVIEW - Washington Redskins

WASHINGTON REDSKINS                                      

2013 Record: 3-13-0

Key Additions: WR DeSean Jackson; S Ryan Clark; DL Jason Hatcher; CB Tracy Porter; WR Andre Roberts; LB Daryl Sharpton; OL Shaun Lauvao.

Key Losses: DL Adam Carriker; OL Will Montgomery; LB London Fletcher; WR Josh Bellamy; DL-LB Darryl Tapp; CB Josh Wilson.

HEAD COACH: Jay Gruden

Offense: Depending on the health of quarterback Robert Griffin III, this position could be extremely strong or else up in the air this season. RG3 passed for 3,203 yards last year with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, a far cry from his rookie season performance in 2012. Of course, he was coming off the devastating knee injury suffered in the playoffs. Griffin did rush for 489 yards (5.7 ypc average) and will look to do more of the same as long as his knee holds up. Backing him up will be the ever capable Kirk Cousins (854 pass yards with 4 TD and 7 INT) and Colt McCoy is on hand just in case.
Alfred Morris rushed for 1,275 yards (4.6 ypc) and scored seven touchdowns, respectable numbers, but his production from his rookie season of 2012 was also down.  Roy Helu (274, 4.4 and four TD) is also in the backfield for the Redskins this season along with Evan Royster and fullback Darrel Young.
The wide receiving corps gets a big boost as DeSean Jackson comes over from the Philadelphia Eagles after putting up some big numbers with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards (16.2 ypc) and nine touchdowns. He will be paired with Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL with 113 receptions, good for 1,346 yards (11.9 ypc) and five touchdowns. The tight end is Jordan Reed (45, 499, three TD) with Logan Paulsen (28, 267, three TD) also available.
Other receivers in the mix for the passing game include Andre Roberts (43, 471, two TD with Arizona last season), Santana Moss (42, 452, two TD) and rookie Ryan Grant (Tulane).
The line will have Kory Lichtensteiger at center along with guards Shawn Lauvao and Chris Chester. The tackles are Tyler Polumbus and Trent Williams. Rookies Spencer Long (Nebraska) and Morgan Moses (Virginia) will get a look along with veterans Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus and Mike McGlynn for backup roles.

STATS - Washington did rank ninth in total offense last year, averaging 370 yards per game (135 rushing - fifth in NFL and 235 passing - 16th in NFL) while scoring 334 points. Redskins quarterbacks were sacked 43 times and turnovers were a problem as the 'Skins turned it over 34 times, including 15 fumbles.

Defense: The 3-4 look will have either Barry Cofield or Chris Baker at nose tackle with Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen playing the end spots. The linebackers will see Akeem Jordan along with either Darryl Sharpton or Perry Riley inside while Brian Orakpo (10 quarterback sacks) and Ryan Kerrigan  (8.5 sacks) man the outside linebacker spots.
The safeties are Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather along with corner men DeAngelo Hall (four INT, including two for touchdowns) and David Amerson, who picked off two passes, bringing one back for a score. Backups include Tracy Porter, E.J. Biggers, Tanard Jackson,  Bashaud Breeland (rookie-Clemson) and Phillip Thomas.

STATS - The numbers were deceiving last year as the Redskins got scorched to the tune of 30 points per game last season, allowing the most points in the league along with Chicago and Minnesota, a whopping 478 points. The team finished 18th overall, giving up 354 yards, which included 111 on the ground and 243 passing yards per game. Washington totaled 36 QB sacks with 16 interceptions.

OUTLOOK: After making the playoffs in 2012 and then falling off big time last year, the Redskins will be looking for big rebound seasons from RG3 and the defense, which was very solid two years ago.
Griffin is the key and as long as he avoids injury and mistakes, this team could very well get back into the post-season. There are multiple targets to throw to and with Morris and Helu carrying the football, the running game should be in good shape.
The defense has to step up and not allow so many big plays, which led to easy scores for the opposition last season. Better pressure on enemy quarterbacks will be important and getting more turnovers as well, which was vital to the D in the 2012 playoff season.
Head Coach Jay Gruden gets his chance to lead the team back to glory after the huge disappointment of last year. But don't get too excited, especially if the team stumbles out of the gate because the schedule gets more difficult after the first two games.
The Redskins also need to win some division games after going zero-for-six in the NFC East last season. A 6-10 finish would be an improvement over the 2013 debacle as the team hopes for bigger and better things in the rugged NFC this season.

Week 1- at Houston
Week 2- vs. Jacksonville
Week 3- at Philadelphia
Week 4- vs. NY Giants
Week 5- vs. Seattle
Week 6- at Arizona
Week 7- vs. Tennessee
Week 8- at Dallas
Week 9- at Minnesota
Week 10- BYE WEEK
Week 11- vs. Tampa Bay
Week 12- at San Francisco
Week 13- at Indianapolis
Week 14- vs. St. Louis
Week 15- at NY Giants
Week 16- vs. Philadelphia
Week 17- vs. Dallas

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