2015 NFL Season Preview- Washington Redskins
Jay Gruden's first year as the head coach in Washington was as rough as it could be.
The quarterback situation is a mess. Robert Griffin III had his worst season to date as he missed six weeks with a dislocated ankle and then was benched in favor of third stringer Colt McCoy. Griffin hasn't developed into a pocket passer or proved he can fit Gruden's offense. McCoy played well and didn't take sacks or turn the ball over. Backup Kirk Cousins took over after Griffin first went down, but after a strong start, he committed 11 turnovers in six games. Gruden seemed to forget the fact he had a running game as Alfred Morris averaged less than four yards per carry in the final five games. The team has a talented receiving corps in wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon and tight end Jordan Reed, but they all have moody personalities.
Defensively the team is less than average. The defensive line doesn't have the right players for a 3-4 defense so I don't see them sticking with it. The secondary was a mess after losing DeAngelo Hall in week 3. The linebackers are the strength of this defense as Ryan Kerrigan finished second in the NFC with 13.5 sacks.
Other than a couple players, the rookie class really dint flash out. Linebacker Trent Murphy came on strong midway through the season and cornerback Bauhaud Breeland was confident and should be starting this upcoming season.
Redskins 2014 Rankings
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 11th
NFL Rank- 19th
NFL Rank- 24th
NFL Rank- 12th
NFL Rank- 13th
NFL Rank- 20th
Despite losing double digit games for the second straight year, there is a lot of promise going into 2015. Washington won one more game than 2013 and the team was actually able to win two against division rivals.
After the season ended, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett decided to leave the team. The team replaced him with Joe Barry who was the San Diego Chargers linebacker coach last season.
Notable Additions- DE Ricky Jean-Francois, CB Chris Culliver, FS Dashon Godson
Notable Departures- RB Roy Helu, OLB Brian Orakpo, CB Tracey Porter, S Ryan Clark, S Brandon Meriwether
Desean Jackson Highlights
2015 NFL Draft
The Redskins had the fifth overall pick in the draft, their first, first round pick since they traded for RGIII in 2012. The team needs to address position issues at offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and safety.
Other than left tackle Trent Williams, the offensive line allowed a ton of sacks. The team needs more consistent offensive linemen to protect the quarterback.
Free agent acquisition Jason Hatcher was a disappointment after setting career highs in sacks in 2013. Other than Sam Baker, there are no defensive linemen worth keeping long term.
Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriwether are no longer with the team. Phillip Thomas could be an answer, but Washington hasn't had good luck with getting consistency from the safety position.
The team ended up selecting Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff wit the fifth overall pick. Scherff was seen as the best downfield blocking tackle in the draft but has durability issues due to past injuries. The pick was the first surprise of the draft as many expected the team to draft USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams who was the highest rated prospect in the draft.
Washington also notably drafted Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith in the second round, Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder in the fourth round, Alabama guard Arie Kouandijo in the fourth, and Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer in the sixth. Smith was the top run defending defensive end in the draft but lacks the speed to beat tackles to the quarterback. Crowder left school as the ACC's all time leader in receptions but his undersized frame could hurt him at the pro level. Kouandijo was viewed as the best run blocking guard in the draft but has very poor technique. Spencer garnered national attention when he threw a touchdown in Ohio State's Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama but this rest of his college career is... meh?
Jamieson Crowder Highlights
What to Expect
Its going to take along time before Washington will be seen as respectable again. The good thing is that this is a young team ready to grow.
The Redskins have to figure out their quarterback situation. The way I see it, it's between RGIII and Colt McCoy. Jay Gruden has shown a lot of faith in McCoy as the starter as he fits the type of quarterback he needs in the offense. Going into camp, Griffin is the starter but if he struggles at any point, Gruden won't hesitate to put in McCoy. Kirk Cousins was one of the biggest trade bait quarterbacks last year, but his value has severely gone down after his disappointing play in 2014. Alfred Morris needs to be the workhorse of the offense if this team is going to go anywhere. Until the quarterback position is resolved, it's hard t see how the receivers and tight ends will fair. I'm also interested to see if Brandon Scherff will stay outside and play right tackle opposite Trent Williams, or move him inside to guard.
Defense is where is still see problem. The cornerback position will be healthy again but the team is still missing some pieces on the defensive line. Jason Hatcher is 32 and more than likely won't match the level of success he had in Dallas.
Due to the level of competition in the NFC East, it will be awhile before the team can match up and take the division crown. No quarterback, no team.
Best record they can hope for: 6-10