The Washington Redskins kick off their season this weekend, facing the New Orleans Saints. As of now, not a lot is expected of the Redskins–some doubt any growth at all–but they could easily be misled by seasons of the past. Who am I to judge? I have my own thoughts on the upcoming 2012 season. Here are ten of them.
- This team is built to win. They're like a hot light switch: waiting to be flipped on. The defense is predicated around stuffing the run and reaching the quarterback and the offense has one goal on it's mind; score. I think both units can accomplish their goal but the defense has a head start.
- That head start is London Fletcher, who's back with the Skins for his sixth season, as head of the defense. Robert Griffin III, or Bob, is still just a rookie. IF the Redskins can get an early lead, they can have a better season than many think; they are designed to play with a lead, we just haven't seen that scenario in a while.
- Bob has the daunting task of learning a new offense…and so on, and so forth–raise your hand if you've heard that before. Cam Newton and Andy Dalton had no offseason last year; one set rookie records (Cam), the other took his team to the playoffs. Griffin is a smart guy; the offense won't be a problem for him. If anything, the coaches will tweak it–which they've hinted at–to make it fit him.
- That said, a good portion of the tweaking will be extra's–not eliminating throws, but adding around them: options, end arounds, moving pockets and possibly a zone read or two. There isn't a throw RGIII can't make! There isn't a play he can't run! That's part of the reason his ceiling could be higher than Andrew Luck's.
- The secondary is more worrisome with Tarnard Jackson out of the picture and I'm pretty sure depth at corner is a widely held concern too. However, Raheem Morris's new coverage system was designed to mask problems the Skins have had in recent years. How well will it work? We'll see.
- I expect the turnover ratio to be in the Redskins favor this season. Rex Grossman has proven to be a liability with the ball in his hands; Robert Griffin has yet to throw an interception on the NFL level. He did have two fumbles in preseason action but I'd only be worried about those if this were his third or fourth year. From everything we've heard, he's a quick learner.
- Whatever Mike Shanahan was thinking with the kicker switch–Cundiff over Gano and Rackers–has continued to evade me. Games are won and lost by 50+ yard field goals with some regularity. Can touchbacks really be the reason they choose Billy Cundiff as their guy? Do they intend to be more aggressive in those situations, possibly keeping RGIII and company on the field? It's going to be interesting to see.
- Brandon Banks has to be one of the most hated and loved players on the team, by fans of course. He has always had the ability to create big plays by himself, mostly on kick returns, but now that his knee is fully recovered, the coaches want to create big plays for him. That's why they kept him as a "play-maker."
- Banks probably won't see the field too much this year, as a receiver anyway. Largely due to the receiving corps put together by management this offseason and last. Between the two, the Redskins have added their two outside starters (Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan), along with two other intriguing prospects from the 2011 draft (Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson). All together, the unit could be one of the most underrated in all of football.
- Win-Loss Prediction: 8-8, nothing spectacular, but they're facing a tough schedule this season. Notable out of division games: Saints, Falcons, Steelers, Ravens. I have the Skins at 5-4 heading into the bye and splitting the division. It would be hard to predict any more than three wins after the bye but that's why they play.
- Bonus one — It doesn't matter who gets a bulk of the Redskins carries this season. The back half of last year proved that we have at least two guys who can "get the job done." The third, Alfred Morris, is also expected to fit that mold.
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