Washington Redskins 2015 Season Preview

09
Sep

2014 Record – 4-12

Key Additions

DE Ricky Jean Francois, S Dashon Goldson, CB Chris Culver, DT Terrance Knighton, DE Stephen Paea, OL Brandon Scherff

Key Departures

OLB Brian Orakpo, RB Roy Helu, S Ryan Clark, DL Stephen Bowen, DT Barry Cofield

Breakdown

Second-year Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has decided that he will go with Kirk Cousins over once hopeful franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, in what has been an ugly quarterback situation. But in an even more complicated relationship, the Redskins decided to hold on to Griffin to back up Cousins for the upcoming season. Though the Redskins technically can’t release Griffin until he has cleared his concussion protocol, some say it is because of the inability to come to an agreement on Griffin’s future between the front office and coaching staff.

The decision raises eyebrows mostly because if Griffin is to serve as Cousins’ backup over Colt McCoy you have a very big presence lurking in Cousins’ shadow, making it harder for him to be confident in his job. However, if Griffin is to be third-string, you’re paying an awful lot of money to an unhappy player who you don’t anticipate seeing the field.

The offense that Cousins will be running could potentially be a surprise offense in the NFL if the team stays healthy. The offensive line is book ended by veteran Trent Williams and newcomer Brandon Scherff whom should do a solid job of blocking for Morris and keeping Cousins on his feet to deliver the ball to very talented receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

The defense will be as average as it gets. Ryan Kerrigan is the only real talent and with DeAngelo Hall way past his prime and attempting to come back from an Achilles tear, the makeshift defense likely won’t keep many offensive coordinators from getting a few extra hours of sleep on Saturday night.

The Redskins should be better than their mark of 4-12 last year. They are still a year or so away from contending for a playoff spot.

X-Factor – Alfred Morris

In 2012 when Morris was taken by the Redskins in the same draft as RGIII he rushed for over 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns, it was assumed by many that we were looking at one of the future’s most dangerous rushing duos for NFL coordinators to prepare for. However since the RGIII injury that has slowed the Redskins offensive mojo it has also slowed Morris’s production. Seeing a decrease in yards in each season and taking two seasons to amass 15 touchdowns. With Coach Gruden committing to Cousins at quarterback for the season, Morris will need to be the workhorse and leader for this offense.

2015 Breakout Player – Jordan Reed

After a promising rookie season in 2013 in which Reed posted numbers of 45/499/3 the Redskins had high hopes for the second-year player. However a sophomore slump was the result, possible in part because of the QB carousel. This year seems to have a brighter outlook though as Washington has committed to a starting quarterback for the season. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon covering the outsides of the field Cousins is going to need a target over the middle and in the red-zone. Reed will be that guy.

Best Case

Kirk Cousin turns out to be the solid quarterback he’s shown brief flashes of being and the makeshift secondary holds tight enough. 11-5

Worst Case

Cousins fails or can’t stay healthy causing an RGIII/Colt McCoy debate and the circus continues. 2-14

Key Game

December 13 @ Chicago Bears

Though it is possible that RGIII won’t even see the field during this game the match up will still showcase the two biggest “what-if’s” at the quarterback position in the NFL today. What if Jay Cutler or RGIII could have reached the potential that NFL coaches saw that they could reach? The landscape of the NFC could be very different right now and this game would have more significance than draft position.

Projected Record – 6-10

About the author: Matthew Palmateer