Byron Dixon| Elite Insiders
The Redskins are in trouble, their QB Robert Griffin III cannot seem to stay healthy and may be cut soon and the soap opera in DC continues. Kirk Cousins is now Jay Gruden’s QB and this team could have a tough season and if this comes to pass they could be looking for not only a quarterback but a new head coach which seems the norm for owner Dan Snyder.
While We Were Away:The Redskins spent the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on some help on the offensive line. Brandon Scherff, the consensus top blocker in the class, was chosen at that spot. However, Scherff is a natural guard, yet Washington is asking him to play right tackle across from stud blocker Trent Williams. Scherff would be excellent on the interior, but his ability to play outside is very questionable because of his short arms. He could struggle at his new post before being asked to move to guard.Jordan Reed underwent a knee procedure. Reed is a very talented, athletic tight end, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Having him on the field would’ve been a big boost for 2015, but it doesn’t appear as though he’ll be able to stay healthy. Niles Paul is a fine replacement, but he broke his leg in the preseason and is lost for the year.
As bad as the offense was in 2014, it wasn’t even Washington’s primary problem. That would be the defense, with the secondary being especially brutal in particular. The Redskins’ stop unit surrendered 27.4 points per game, as the defensive backfield constantly allowed big play after big play. The Redskins made some moves to improve this area, but they definitely didn’t do nearly enough. In fact, some of their transactions are doomed to fail. For example, they traded for Dashon Goldson, which will prove to be a huge mistake. The Redskins didn’t give up much for Goldson, but he’s a horrible player to have in the locker room because of his lackadaisical attitude. If things begin to go south – and they will – Goldson will poison the team. He also won’t play well on the field; he struggled mightily for the Buccaneers. It’s unclear who will start next to Goldson at this time, but there aren’t any promising candidates. Possible options include Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Trenton Robinson and sixth-round rookie Kyshoen Jarrett.
2015 Season Outlook: A better transaction was when the Redskins paid Chris Culliver $32 million over four years. The former 49er missed all of 2013 with an ACL tear, but managed to play well this past season, surrendering a 50.7 completion percentage to opposing receivers. He’ll be the No. 1 corner, but it’s unclear who the starter across from him will be. DeAngelo Hall would be the favorite if he weren’t coming off a torn Achilles, so that would leave Bashaud Breeland, who was inconsistent last year. However, Breeland was just a fourth-round rookie, so he figures to improve.
Of course, the biggest player Washington brought in (literally) was Terrance Knighton, formerly of the Broncos. Knighton generated scant interest on the market despite his strong play because of weight concerns. The Redskins gave Knighton a 1-year “prove it” contract, so they should be getting his best effort if he wants to get paid what his talent is worth next off-season. As long as Knighton doesn’t slack off, he’ll be a monstrous upgrade at nose tackle next to Jason Hatcher, who was terrific this past season. The other starter up front is also new, as Stephen Paea, formerly of the Bears, was signed to a 4-year, $21 million contract. Paea is coming off a career year, but he’s a very questionable fit in the 3-4. He might be abused in run support.
Excluding the Cowboys, Washington will battle just two teams (Patriots, Panthers) who qualified for the playoffs last year, so they don’t have a difficult schedule.The Redskins have an awesome fan base, which makes it strange that they are just 17-32 as hosts the past six years. They were just 5-4 in 2012 when they were competitive, compared to 5-3 on the road. Jay Gruden failed to fix Washington’s woeful special teams. The squad was outgained on both punt and kickoff returns, and it surrendered two touchdowns to the opposition while scoring none itself. The Redskins at least had a punter who was decent at his job. Tress Way ranked 10th in net yardage. Kicker Kai Forbath also did a good job. He converted on 24-of-27 of his tries, though he didn’t connect on a 50-yarder, failing at his only attempt.