The Washington Redskins have made steady progress over the last three years, moving away from the era of poor Dan Snyder decisions. Under head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen, the Redskins have built steadily through free agency and the NFL Draft.
With Robert Griffin III expected to be the new quarterback next year, here are three players fans can look to have a big year next season.
Roy Helu showcased impressive skills last season, despite a crowded backfield. Helu was able to average over four yards per carry on only 151 carries. While Helu was only able to record two touchdowns, expect that number to be much higher next season. Helu became the clear No. 1 running back for the Redskins as the season came to a close, with over 20 carries in four out of the last five games.
Not only will Helu see an increase in carries next season, but there should be fewer defenders in his way. With the addition of RG3 or Andrew Luck, the Redskins will have a much improved passing game that defenses will need to respect.
With fewer defenders in the box and chances to touch the ball, look for Helu to break the 1,000-yard mark with seven or more touchdowns.
In what some people are calling a "classic Redskins move," the Washington Redskins signed free-agent wide receiver Pierre Garcon to a five-year, $42.5 million contract. While this may have been a high price tag, this was not a "classic Redskins move" as Garcon fits exactly what the Redskins are trying to build.
Santana Moss has been an effective receiver that is able to stretch the defense at times, but is inconsistent. Garcon has elite vertical speed to be able to slip behind defenders and haul in touchdowns.
Last season without Peyton Manning, Garcon caught 70 passes for six touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards. By bringing in Robert Griffin III, Garcon will simply play the role of Kendall Wright in Griffin's mind. Expect Garcon to blow approach 1,200 yards and eight to 10 touchdowns next season.
Chris Cooley has been riddled with injuries and last season Fred Davis emerged as the No. 1 tight end for the Washington Redskins. The addition of a new quarterback will only further Davis' growth and help make his case as an elite NFL tight end.
Despite the Rex Grossman/John Beck merry-go-round last season, Davis was able to catch 59 passes for nearly 800 yards. With such a high yard per catch average, the only thing missing from Davis' numbers are touchdowns (just three last year).
Expect RG3 to look Davis' way quite a bit next season and boost his production. Davis could see as many as 80 catches for over 1,000 yards next season.