The Washington Redskins are, no pun intended, the low guy on the totem pole. They’re in a division where they are looking down the barrel of a revolver by the Cowboys, feeling like a midget next to a Giant or staring up at an Eagles nest. Throughout history this has pretty much been their position in the NFC East, always the bride but never the groom.
Last season the Skins managed to win the division with a 9-7 record, but for all the hooping and hollering they were doing, it was still won by default. The Philadelphia Eagles were going through an organizational shift. New York was dealing with so many defensive injuries, so it’s a miracle they were able to field a complete roster. The Dallas Cowboys just had a complete meltdown due to injuries with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and the loss of NFL leading rusher, DeMarco Murray. Somebody had to take the division.
Enter Kirk Cousins, the new IT guy in the nation’s capital. Cousins came in, took the job away from, old IT guy RG3 and played inspired football. But, was Cousins that good or did he face defenses that were much worse? The Redskins played six teams (8 games) against teams ranked in the bottom half in passing yards allowed, and now Cousins is looked upon as the franchise savior, sounds familiar?
This was the same praise they gave to RG3 after his breakout first year, good luck with that Skins fans. Now, the Skins have a complete schedule reversal as half their schedule this season will be against teams in the top half of passing defense. All eyes will be on Cousins, but the rest of the team will need to step their game up as well.
The ground game took a hit with the loss of Alfred Morris. Much like with RG3 and Cousins the skins are taking a gamble on a player that has had minimal success at one of the most important positions. If Matt Jones struggles, that means more pressure on Cousins and with Jones carrying the ball only 144 times for 3.4 yards average facing some of the top rushing defenses in 2016, it’s not shaping up to be a repeat year for the Skins.
As for their receivers, DeSean Jackson still has the moxie to produce, only if he can shake the injury bug that plagued him last season. He and Pierre Garcon cannot continue to put up six and four TDs respectively and honestly believe they give the Skins a great chance at being successful.
The defense was horrible last season, ranking 5th in total yards given up but they figure, system CB, Josh Norman will bring his success from Carolina, but there is no Thomas Davis or Luke Kuechly here. The Redskins finished with 38 sacks in 2015 while playing a schedule that featured some of the happiest feet QBs the league has to offer. 2016 will be different with Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer on the schedule.
As previously stated, the Redskins did what any team with a slightly healthier roster was supposed to do; they took advantage of a weakened division. The Eagles no longer have the Chip Kelly noose around their necks, the Giants will have a healthy Victor Cruz and their defense ready to go, and if Dak Prescott can get protection this will not be a repeat season for the Skins.
They have talent, but not enough to handle a division that has come full circle, Mind you it’s not like they crushed their rivals, this was a 9-7 team, a team that if not in the East would’ve been home with the others during the playoffs. The Redskins are looking for lighting to strike again but for a team that has struggled with consistency, history tells us they will fall back into old patterns quick.