2019 NFL Season Preview- Washington Redskins
The Redskins began the year on a promising note, but fell into mediocrity down the stretch.
By midseason Washington was 6-3 and was in first place in the NFC East but of string of injuries, including a league high 23 players on injured reserve, led to a 1-6 record to finish the season.
The offense was mildly disappointing all season and finished as the lowest scoring offense in the league. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg in Week 11 on the 33rd anniversary of former Redskins QB Joe Theismann breaking his leg. His status going forward is unknown after an infection set in after surgery. Colt McCoy broke his leg two weeks later, but his was far less serious. Mark Sanchez was signed and started just one game before being replaced by Josh Johnson who brought some spark to the offense over the final three games. The team signed running back Adrian Peterson just before the season and showed he could still get it done with 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. Chris Thompson was productive when healthy, but a rib injury limited him to 10 games. Rob Kelley was on injured reserve by Week 2 with a bum toe. Tight end Jordan Reed ended the year on injured reserve again with a toe injury and hasn't come close to repeating his Pro Bowl year in 2015, but still led the team in receptions and receiving yards. Vernon Davis saw his catch numbers drop but did have two touchdowns. Jeremy Sprinkle played in every game as a blocker but was rarely used in the passing games. Wide receiver Josh Doctson was healthy for the most part, but still hasn't validated his first round status. Paul Richardson was signed in the offseason and only made it to midseason before a bad shoulder finally ended his year. Jamison Crowder missed seven games with an ankle injury and his numbers were far from his norm. Injuries destroyed what was supposed to be the team's strongest unit in the offensive line. Right guard Brandon Scherff tore his pectoral muscle in Week 9 and left guard Shawn Lauvao only made it four games before tearing his biceps.
The defense showed some improvement in all areas but still was only good enough to finish just below average across the league. The defensive line was the only group to avoid the injury bug. Jonathan Allen stayed healthy and finished with eight sacks. Outside linebacker Preston Smith was a disappointment with just four sacks and Pernell McPhee was a non factor after signing as a free agent. Mason Foster led the team with 131 tackles, but Zach Brown was benched late in the season after feuding with the coaching staff. Cornerback Josh Norman had a bounce back year with three interceptions and three forced fumbles. The secondary was forced to go young at corner after Quinton Dunbar suffered a nerve injury in his leg. Safety DJ Swearinger had repeated clashes with coaches and was cut in December. Montae Nicholson was the starter at the beginning of the year, but fell out of favor midseason and the team traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins missed just three field goals just one extra point. Punter Tress Way had a great year with 41 punts placed inside the 20 yard line. Long snapper Nick Sundberg has been with the team for nine years but went on injured reserve with a back injury in December. The return game was almost nonexistent.
The team had two Pro Bowlers in Left tackle Trent Williams and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Williams made his seventh Pro Bowl despite being limited to 13 games and enduring knee and thumb surgeries. Kerrigan made his fourth Pro Bowl after leading the team with 13 sacks.
The rookie class looks promising. Nose tackle Daron Payne was a perfect complement to his Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen. Running back Derrius Guice was on his way to being the starter before tearing his ACL in the preseason. Safety Troy Apke made little impact before landing on injured reserve. Nose tackle Tim Settle played in every game as a reserve. Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton became a starter after Zach Brown was benched. Cornerback Greg Stroman was thrown into the fire due to offseason changes at corner. Wide receiver Trey Quinn showed promise as a slot receiver despite two stints on injured reserve.
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
With a second consecutive 7-9 record, the Redskins have to wonder if head coach Jay Gruden is capable of making a deep playoff run. Having two years left on his contract, Gruden has to make some serious strides if he expects to make it to the 2020 season.
After offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh was demoted to senior offensive assistant, the team promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell to offensive coordinator.
Notable Additions- QB Case Keenum, T Ereck Flowers, LB Jon Bostic, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Landon Collins
Notable Departures- QB Mark Sanchez, QB Josh Johnson, WR Michael Floyd, WR Jamison Crowder, LB Zach Brown, LB Preston Smith, LB Zach Vigil, LB Pernell McPhee, LB Mason Foster, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Redskins 2018 Highlights
2019 NFL Draft
The Redskins held the 14th overall pick in the draft with the need to add help at key spots. Primarily at quarterback, middle linebacker, and safety.
Alex Smith's future is in doubt and Colt McCoy is nothing more than a backup. Given Case Keenum's bad 2018, adding a young quarterback would be ideal.
The team released Zach Brown and Mason Foster just turned 30. Jon Bostic was signed, but this will be his sixth team in as many years.
Landon Collins helps at strong safety, but after DJ Swearinger was cut, there remains a void at free safety.
On draft day, Washington ended up selecting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 14th overall pick. Haskins was praised for his accuracy and cannon arm, but played just one season as a starter. The Redskins also traded back into the first round with the Indianapolis Colts to select Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat with the 26th overall pick. Sweat was seen as the most explosive defensive end prospect in the draft, but relies more on athleticism than actual technique.
Other Notable Draft Picks:
Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State- Great smarts and awareness, jack of all trades but master of none
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford- Electrifying speed, long injury history
Wes Martin, G, Indiana- Strong upper body, heavy feet
Ross Pierschbacher, C, Alabama- Top pulling and trapping center, limited flexibility
Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina- Good range and awareness, lacks aggression
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State- Good on back shoulder and high passes, struggles to find holes in the secondary
Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison- Quick with good ball skills, severely undersized
Jordan Brailford, DE, Oklahoma State-Quick twitch athlete, tweener frame
Dwayne Haskins Highlights
What To Expect
Even with the depth added, 2019 doesn't look to promising for the Redskins.
Alex Smith will likely be out for the whole season which leaves Colt McCoy and Case Keenum as the veterans who will compete to start, but the hope is Dwayne Haskins can learn under the three vets and be capable of starting in the near future. The team signed Adrian Peterson to an extension but the hope is Derrius Guide will bounce back from his torn ACL and be the long term solution. Their still are questions with the receiving corps as Josh Doctson has failed to prove himself, Paul Richardson and Jordan Reed are coming off injuries, and Vernon Davis is 35. Hopefully Terry MaLaurin and Kelvin Harmon can make some impact. The offensive line should be back on track with Brandon Scherff and Shaun Lauvao back healthy.
The defensive should remain a strong point with nice depth an Daron Payne and Tim Settle entering year two. Montez Sweat is an upgrade pass rushing partner for Ryan Kerrigan while Cole Holcomb and Shaun Dion Hamilton man the inside. Quinton Dunbar is a solid number two to Josh Norman and the younger corners add nice depth on nickel and dime packages. Landon Collins is an upgrade at strong safety over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix but there is still a noticeable hole ate free safety.
Given the questions at quarterback and having one of the toughest schedules in the league, Washington will be fighting for third place with the Giants in the NFC East.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 6-10