When it comes to defending a championship of any kind, there are questions and storylines to follow. There are questions about players and even coaching staff. The case is true with the Washington Redskins as well. The defending NFC East Champions do have some questions coming into the season. Here are five storylines to follow heading into 2016.
5. Who will replace Junior Galette?
Galette was signed in 2015 as a free agent after the New Orleans Saints released him. He proceeded to tear his left Achilles tendon during training camp. Galette then re-signed a one-year deal in 2016. He was said to be completely healthy. Then news struck again that he tore his right Achilles tendon. So now what will the Redskins do? Who will step up and replace the pass rush extraordinaire? Last season rookie Preston Smith came on strong. Could this be his opportunity to shine again? Stay tuned to this story line throughout camp and beyond.
4. Has Matt Jones solved his fumbling issue?
Matt Jones was drafted in 2015 to be the replacement for Alfred Morris. He is a big back out of the University of Florida with great hands. However, those hands failed in many cases last season. Jones put the ball on the ground five times in 2015. To be a staple in an offense, you must secure the football. Your offense cannot score with you always giving it to another team. Jones said towards the end of 2015 that he had fixed the issue. He studied film of Tiki Barber carrying the ball high and tight. If this is the case, he could be one of the top 10 backs in the NFL. Let’s keep tabs on this story.
3. Is Josh Norman a system cornerback?
It was said during free agency that Josh Norman was a system corner and that he could not cover man to man. We will see if this is the case. Though the Redskins played primarily zone in 2015 that may not be the case in 2016. Last season the Redskins had little choice but to play zone. They suffered too many injuries in the secondary. With the signing of Norman and Bashaud Breeland on the other side, the Washington Redskins secondary should be able to play more man coverage. We will get to see early if Norman can man up. Watch this with eagle eyes as camp progresses.
2. Can the Redskins take the next step?
The Washington Redskins are the 2015 NFC East Champions. Last season some say they won the division by default. It was a down year for the rest of the division. I think in 2015 you saw a young team grow-up and begin to gain confidence that it can be successful and win. You saw the maturation of a young QB. Now, in 2016, can this team take the next step? They need to not only get to the playoffs but win a playoff game. We will be talking about this all season long.
1. Does Kirk Cousins progress or regress?
2015 was magical for the QB of the Redskins. He was given full control of the team on August 15, 2015, and things started out rough. But, we do have to keep in mind that coming into the season, Cousins had only started a total of 9 games in the NFL. The game finally began to come to him during a week seven game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the team back from its largest deficit in history. From that point on he was one of the best QBs in the league. He broke several team records and finished the season completing 70% of his passes. This was best in the NFL. The story for 2016 will be, can he replicate the end of 2015? If so, the Redskins should be a team to watch all year-long.
The defending NFC East Champions are a young team on the rise. They will be ready to take on each and every opponent every single week. There will be no let up in this team. Keep your eyes on these story lines and others as training camp begins and the season progresses. You may be surprised at the outcome.
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