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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Washington Redskins 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record            4-12
Wins: Rams, Bucs, Broncos, Raiders
Losses: Giants (x2), Lions, Panthers, Chiefs, Eagles (x2), Falcons, Cowboys (x2), Saints, Chargers
Biggest Playmaker            Donovan McNabb
QB, Syracuse, Drafted #2, 12th Year
McNabb joined the Redskins and immediately surfaced as a leader.  He has been one of the most effective playmakers at the position during his career, evolving from a QB who tended to leave the pocket too soon to a very accurate pocket passer.  McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games in the last eight years, and people knock him for not winning the big games.  Just like people knocked John Elway when Mike Shanahan was coaching him…
Impact Player            London Fletcher
MLB, John Carroll, Undrafted, 13th Year
London Fletcher may be one of the most underrated players of the last decade.   Consider that he has made only one Pro Bowl in his career (2009).  Now consider that he has made over 115 tackles every year for the past ten seasons.  Not to mention his 15 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, 30 sacks and 60 passes defended…all impressive numbers for an inside backer, a guy who is supposed to stuff the run.
Biggest Offseason Addition            Donovan McNabb
QB, Syracuse, Drafted #2, 12th Year
Acquiring Donovan McNabb was definitely the best move the Redskins made with a draft pick.  Coming off a season in which he threw for 3,500 yards, 22 touchdowns and just ten interceptions, McNabb is poised to help lead the Redskins to an improved record.
Biggest Offseason Loss            Antwaan Randle El
WR, Indiana, Drafted #63, 8th Year
Normally, losing your starting QB would be the biggest offseason loss, but they upgraded at the position.  They also lost OT Chris Samuels (the 3rd overall pick in 2000) to retirement due to injury, but there was nothing they could do to help that.  Losing Antwaan Randle El was their biggest loss because of their lack of depth at the WR position in 2010.  Devin Thomas is a third year veteran from Michigan State who will need to step up to make the Redskins not regret releasing Randle El.
Biggest Draft Steal            Selvish Capers
OT, West Virginia, Drafted #231, Rookie
Selvish Capers is a guy who is a project, but has a lot of potential.  Drafting a guy who is relatively new to his position (Capers switched from TE to OT two years ago) is risky business, but Capers was picked to be drafted much higher.  The Redskins were looking to add depth at tackle in this draft, and Capers has big upside.
Biggest Draft Reach            None
The Redskins drafted OT Trent Williams with the 4th overall pick, and many questioned this, simply because he was not Russell Okung.  Trent Williams is physically gifted and will likely start as a rookie and for years to come, but that is what you should expect from a top 5 pick.  The Redskins did not pick again until the fourth and none were worthy of being considered a reach.
Offseason Grade            A-
The biggest move of the offseason was the addition of Mike Shanahan as their head coach.  Success of a team really comes from the top, and Shanahan is a proven leader and a winner.  Adding Donovan McNabb has a similar effect.  However, the Redskins also got a starter in OT Jammal Brown and added depth with QB Rex Grossman, RBs Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, DE Adam Karriker, DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu, CB Phillip Buchanon as well as starting punter Josh Bidwell. 
X-Factor            3-4 Transition
Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is never easy, especially when your $100 million defensive tackle is deadest against it.  Albert Haynesworth has since retracted his stance, but it will be interesting to see how now OLB’s Brian Orakpo (2009 Pro Bowler) and Andre Carter, both who had 11 sacks as a DE in 2009, adjust to the switch. 
Name You Should Know            London Fletcher
MLB, John Carroll, Undrafted, 13th Year
Still not sure how he is so underrated, and how he has always been so.  Because he’s undersized?  Get over it.  10 straight 115+ tackle seasons.  Fletcher was undrafted out of Division III John Carroll University, and is still not getting the respect he deserves!
Rising Star            Brian Orakpo
OLB, Texas, Drafted #13, 2nd Year
Brian Orakpo is an absolute animal.  I remember watching a game of his from Texas and seeing the special at halftime of him in the weight room.  He is huge, and just throws around weight in the weight room.  If the 2009 rookie pro bowler is not considered a star after his 11 sack rookie campaign, he will be in the next two years.
Offensive Outlook            B-
The addition of a leader like Donovan McNabb and two probable starting tackles helps their outlook, but the Redskins are still looking at three potentially washed up running backs to carry their rushing attack.  Larry Johnson was impressive in limited time last year with the Bengals, and Clinton Portis and Willie Parker hope to return to their 1,000 yard forms, but who knows if any of them can carry the load this season.  The running back position is a wild-card, and the ‘Skins need to establish a consistent number two receiving threat.  Having a healthy Chris Cooley is also vital to the offense.
Defensive Outlook            B-
The defense appears to be relatively strong, but they are currently faced with the uncertainty of switching to the 3-4.  A big sigh of relief is that Albert Haynesworth will report to camp.  Orakpo and Carter are proven pass rushers, but it will be interesting to see how they do out of a two point stance and in pass coverage.  The secondary is just decent, with DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers both needing to play well early, or they could see Phillip Buchanan take over.  LaRon landry is likely moving to strong safety where he should be more effective. 
Special Teams Outlook            C-
2nd year kicker Graham Gano is slated as the ‘Skins number one kicker after appearing in just one game in 2009.   Josh Bidwell missed all of 2009 with a hip injury so it will be interesting to see how he fares.  The kickoff and punt return games were poor for the Redskins in ’09, ranking 24th and 30th, respectively.
Projected 2010 Record            7-9
Yes, the Redskins were 4-12 last year.  And yes, they could have been much better.  The Redskins suffered from the inability to win the close games in 2009, losing five games by three points or less.  (If they had managed to win those five there are looking at a 9-7 finish!)  The Redskins improved drastically since last year, but are playing in a tough division in the NFC East, and I don’t see them going better than 2-4 against the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles.

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