Sunday, September 4, 2016

WASHINGTON REDSKINS - 2016 Season Preview

WASHINGTON REDSKINS                                                                               

2015 Record:  9-7-0

Head Coach:  Jay Gruden

New Faces for 2016 -  CB Josh Norman, CB Greg Toler, TE Vernon Davis, LB Terence Garvin, DL Kendall Reyes, DB David Bruton

OFFENSE:  Quarterback Kirk Cousins is coming off a huge season in which he passed for 4,166 yards with 29 touchdowns and eleven interceptions. Colt McCoy will back up again this season.
The running game now features Matt Jones as the primary back after Alfred Morris, the Redskins leading rusher in 2015, left for the Dallas Cowboys. Jones ran for 490 yards (3.4 ypc average) and scored three touchdowns. Chris Thompson (216 rush yards with 6.2 ypc and 35 receptions with two TD) will be the backup.
The wide receivers are DeSean Jackson (30 receptions for 528 yards and four TD)  and Pierre Garcon (72, 777, six TD) along with Tight End Jordan Reed, who led the team with 87 receptions for 952 yards and eleven touchdowns.
Jamison Crowder (59, 604, two TD), Andre Roberts (11, 135) and top rookie draft pick Josh Doctson (TCU) will be ready when needed.

DEFENSE:  Kedric Golston is the nose tackle in the 3-4 set while the ends are Chris Baker (six QB sacks) and Kendall Reyes. Providing depth up front are Stephen Paea, Jerrell Powe and Ricky Jean Francois.
Playing linebacker are Preston Smith (eight sacks) and Ryan Kerrigan (9 1/2 sacks) on the outside along with inside backers Will Compton and either Perry Riley (two interceptions) or Mason Foster. Usual starter Junior Galette is out with injuries so providing depth to the unit will be Martrell Spaight, Trent Murphy and rookie Su'a Cravens (USC).
The secondary was bolstered by the addition of cornerback Josh Norman (free agent from Carolina who had four interceptions, including two for touchdowns), who will start along with Bashaud Breeland, who made two picks.
The safeties are 13-year veteran DeAngelo Hall and Duke Ihenacho. Backups include Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler, rookie Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech), Will Blackmon (two INT), David Bruton and Kyshoen Jarrett.

OUTLOOK:  After a dream season, quarterback Kirk Cousins is looking for an encore performance to lead the Redskins back to the playoffs.
He has the weapons in the passing game with a solid trio of receivers, including tight end Jordan Reed, who had 11 TD receptions a year ago. The running game will be a question mark as the 2016 season begins as Matt Jones takes over for Alfred Morris, who left in free agency in the off-season. Jones needs to pick up the paltry 3.4 ypc average he had last year to help balance the offense, which ranked 17th overall (354 yards per game) but was 20th in rushing, averaging 98 yards per game.
The defense finished near the bottom of the NFL in all three areas, winding up 28th overall, allowing 381 yards per game and giving up 24 points per game. The 'Skins did amass 38 QB sacks and made eleven interceptions, and are looking for All-Pro CB Josh Norman to help bring that total upward this season.
Head Coach Jay Gruden fought off critics for his relegating QB Robert Griffin III (now with Cleveland) to the bench in favor of Cousins, who had a breakout season, including four come-from-behind wins. As long as Cousins doesn't backslide this year, the Redskins could be in line for a second consecutive playoff appearance.
The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys look to be the primary contenders in the NFC East this year, but the Redskins (4-2 vs. NFC East in 2015) know that in order to win another division title, they must win their divisional games.
Washington benefited from a lot of fortunate breaks last year, so there is little room for error. The playoffs are a possibility again this season, so Cousins and company must play to the abilities they did last year, especially with the NFC East race so wide open.

Fearless forecast -  7-9 this year

Week 1 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 2 - vs. Dallas
Week 3 - at NY Giants
Week 4 - vs. Cleveland
Week 5 - at Baltimore
Week 6 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 7 - at Detroit
Week 8 - at Cincinnati (London, England)
Week 9 - BYE
Week 10 - vs. Minnesota
Week 11 - vs. Green Bay
Week 12 - at Dallas
Week 13 - at Arizona
Week 14 - at Philadelphia
Week 15 - vs. Carolina
Week 16 - at Chicago
Week 17 - vs. NY Giants

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