Washington Redskins 2012: Have 'Skins Upgraded Enough to Compete in NFC East?

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Washington Redskins 2012: Have 'Skins Upgraded Enough to Compete in NFC East?
Rob Carr/Getty Images

No.

Alright, perhaps the question requires a bit more thoughtful analysis. After all, the Washington Redskins landed Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL draft, a guy who has lit the fire in the 'Skins fanbase the moment his name hit the rumor mill.

Then they shelled out for Pierre Garcon to provide the kind of consistent deep threat that the aging Santana Moss is quickly losing. The potentially explosive Roy Helu has an impressive first year at running back under his belt.

They also have another year of maturation for standout homegrown talent Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan on the defensive side. They got rid of Dancing Queen LaRon Landry.

But the Redskins remain riddled with problems.

Where to start?

 

Quarterback

RGIII is a rookie QB. Now, sometimes a rookie QB can have a breakout first season, such as Cam Newton did last year. But he's the exception rather than the rule. More than likely, Griffin will require a couple of seasons to adequately mature. That's just how it is.

 

Running Back

Is the addition of RGIII and Pierre Garcon enough to make this team a contender?

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This position is a mess. It's the exact same situation as last year, with an oft-injured trio of Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Evan Royster, a group that put up a mere 1,614 yards last season—25th in the league.

With zero changes, expect zero improvement in this category. Or, you can cross your fingers and pray that Helu suddenly morphs into reincarnation of LaDainian Tomlinson.

 

Defense

This is supposed to be the team's strong point. Instead, last year Washington put up middle-of-the-road numbers after an abysmal 2010, allowing 22.2 points per game, good for 14th in the NFL. The Redskins dumped LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe and picked up Brandon Meriweather and Cedric Griffin, but other than that, things don't look that much different for this squad.

 

Wide Receiver

With a pretty thin free-agent market, Snyder and Co. decided against waiting a year for certain important rookies to mature and for better No. 1 receivers to become available, instead dumping a ton of salary on Indianapolis Colts cast-off Pierre Garcon.

Now, that's all fine and good if your last name is Steinbrenner and you operate in a league with no salary cap. But sadly, in the NFL, the Redskins are only allowed to spend the same amount of dough as anyone else—well, actually less, with the whole "uncapped year" debacle—which means that value for the dollar is essential to success.

Paying $42.5 million for five years of Peyton Manning's No. 2 guy is not value for the money. It means the Redskins are making sacrifices in other areas like, oh, I don't know...

 

Offensive Line

This is what, for the umpteenth straight year, ultimately dooms the Redskins to being a perennial cellar dweller. Last year, the 'Skins allowed 108 hits to the quarterback, third-most in the NFL. Of course, last year this line was crippled with injuries. Heck, right guard Chris Chester was the only guy to start all 16 games at the same position. This team needs depth at offensive line and guys who can stay healthy. That's not the case right now.

And then there's the little matter of the division the Redskins play in. Playing six games with a rookie quarterback and a porous offensive line against teams featuring the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Babin? What's not to love? As Heath Evans of NFL Network noted, "Every team in that division has two guys he's going to be running from [for] his life."

So yeah, expect more of the same this year from the 2012 Washington Redskins. At least RGIII will have ample opportunities to showcase his running abilities.

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