•  Register
27

2013 NFL Team Previews, NFC East: Washington Redskins - 1st

by Shasky Clarke on Aug. 27, 2013

2013 NFL Team Previews, NFC East: Washington Redskins - 1st

 

OFFENSE

 

Quarterback:

Round one of Robert Griffin III vs Andrew Luck was won by the Redskins quarterback. Griffin's supreme physical ability was on full display in 2012. Even more impressive than his superb arm strength, accuracy and track star wheels was how efficient and mistake-free the rookie was. The team didn't ask him to throw the ball 600 times and it will be interesting to see the ceiling of a Griffin passing attack. 2012 ended horribly for him as he suffered severe knee injuries. To protect himself, Griffin would do well to develop a quick slide in the open field. But otherwise, Griffin showcased the talent and smarts to be a dominant NFL quarterback for years to come.

Kirk Cousins also got an opportunity to show what he could do in Griffin's place, almost matching Griffin's passing performance in limited chances. Cousins is an accurate passer with a good arm and adequate athleticism. The Redskins have the luxury of having an NFL starting-caliber quarterback backing up their franchise guy.

 

Running Back:

Washington probably had the most effective running game in the league last year. Rookie Alfred Morris took full advantage of the team's zone blocking scheme to translate an average athletic skill set into an explosive Pro Bowl performance. Morris showed excellent vision, patience and efficiency as a back, hitting holes with great downhill burst and finishing runs upon contact. Behind him, the team has a deep crew of capable ball carriers led by Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Keiland Williams. The three have good experience with the blocking scheme and Helu, in particular, has game breaking speed as well. Rookie Chris Thompson possesses terrific speed and explosiveness returning from a season-ending knee injury. Lead blocker Darrel Young is versatile, athletic, very physical and is will contribute as a pass catcher from time to time.

 

Wide Receiver:

Though it didn't seem to hurt the team's passing game in 2012, the Redskins' biggest weakness is the wide receiver position. The team spread the ball around fairly evenly among the top four guys. Pierre Garcon is only 6'0” but is the number one guy, leading the team with 633 yards. Garcon is a big play receiver with great speed and run-after-catch skills. He has historically had a big issue with drops but has improved the consistency of his ball skills. Josh Morgan should be the second starter as a physical short and intermediate target. 13-year veteran Santana Moss will be the starter in the slot, still featuring good speed, short area quickness and hands on his 5'10” 200-pound frame. Leonard Hankerson has prototypical size and speed and has shown the ability to get open, but consistently dropped balls. Aldrick Robinson flashed as a smaller but pure vertical threat, scoring on three of his 11 catches and averaging over 21 yards per catch.

 

Tight End:

The Redskins tight end performance in 2013 will depend on Fred Davis, a top talent returning from a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Davis seems to have recovered well and could be Griffin's most reliable target in the pass game. One of the most athletic tight ends in the game, Davis is a mismatch weapon capable of stretching the field. Behind him, the Redskins don't have much proven talent between Logan Paulsen, former receiver Niles Paul and rookie Jordan Reed. Niles Paul is the high upside guy with the athleticism and pass catching to play a very versatile offensive role.

 

Offensive Line:

After a great overall season, Washington returns its entire offensive line. The unit is led by star left tackle Trent Williams, an elite athlete and talent for the position. Rounding out the great zone blocking group is left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, center Will Montgomery, right guard Chris Chester and right tackle Tyler Polumbus. All are mobile and experienced, carving up defenses for the Redskin running game. Polumbus may be a weak link as a pass blocker and the team added depth in Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos. Tom Compton is another long and very athletic option on the outside.

-

Best Offensive Rookie – RB Chris Thompson

Best Offensive Second-Year Player – QB Robert Griffin III

2014 Draft Offensive Position of Need – Wide Receiver 

2014 Draft Offensive Suggestion – WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

 

DEFENSE

 

Defensive Line:

One storyline getting overlooked is the level of talent across the Redskin defense. A strength, the defensive line was largely responsible for the success the defense had defending the run last year, even without super talented injured end Adam Carriker. Nonetheless, the unit must be more productive getting pressure. Stephen Bowen and Jarvis Jenkins should start the season at end. Bowen wasn't as productive a rusher as he was in 2011 but remains an athletic and disruptive talent at 6'5” 310 pounds. Jenkins presents similar traits at 6'4” 315 pounds but failed to notch a sack and will see a four game suspension to begin the year. Playing many snaps, veteran Kedric Golston can fill in as a run defender at end without the unit missing missing a beat. The group's prize player is nose tackle Barry Cofield, a 6'4” 310-pound play maker inside, deflecting six balls in 2012. The team has depth here with third-year run plugger Chris Neild.

 

Outside Linebacker:

The biggest strength of the defense is at outside linebacker where star rusher Brian Orakpo returns from a season-ending injury to complement Ryan Kerrigan. 6'4” 255-pound Orakpo is a terrific athlete with the speed and explosiveness to compare favorably to Dallas's DeMarcus Ware. But Kerrigan more than held his own with 8.5 sacks as the lone productive rusher on the defense in 2012. Both are also physical run defenders at the point of attack. Adding depth are veteran Darryl Tapp and rookie Brandon Jenkins

 

Inside Linebacker:

Continuity is the name of the game for the Redskins at linebacker. London Fletcher and Perry Riley return once again. 16-year veteran London Fletcher, in what should be his last year, has started every game of his career since 1999, bringing intelligence, physicality and steadiness. He showed no signs of slowing down in 2012, picking off five passes. But Perry Riley is set to be the future star of the unit with all the requisite size, speed and hitting ability. The two combined for 268 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Behind them, veteran athlete Nick Barnett would be a good substitute if needed and could be expected to step in for Fletcher in 2014.

 

Cornerback:

One of the biggest issues for the defense in 2012 was the play of the cornerbacks. The starters come back. DeAngelo Hall returns after four interceptions as a speedy and scrappy playmaker, underrated in run support. He isn't a shutdown guy but should be effective both on the outside and possibly in a nickel role. Josh Wilson is fast as well but undersized. But get ready for the insertion of stud rookie David Amerson, a super athletic, prototypically-sized cornerback with top-notch instincts, breaking ability and ball skills. Amerson has the talent to erase the position as a weakness and become one of the elite defensive players in the NFL.

 

Safety:

The Redskins also lacked playmaking at the safety spot. Gone is average veteran Madieu Williams and in comes rookie Bacarri Rambo, a quick and physical safety who made a ton of plays in coverage in college. He lacks elite speed, though, and could be a victim in the deep passing game. Brandon Meriweather will try, yet again, to start and make it through a season healthy. When healthy, though, Meriweather has the range and playmaking ability the Redskins sorely need.

-

Best Defensive Rookie – CB David Amerson

Best Defensive Second-Year Player – CB Richard Crawford

2014 Draft Defensive Position of Need – Safety

2014 Draft Defensive Suggestion – S Sean Parker, Washington