Washington Redskins: Best-Case Scenarios for the 2012 Season
"Excitement" and "optimism" don't even begin to describe how Redskins Nation feels about the 2012 season, even though a lot of people are attempting to downplay the arrival of Robert Griffin III.
We're going to ignore that right now and see what possible scenarios could fall in to place; scenarios that would not only make the first year in the Griffin era successful, but may also feature a playoff berth.
Scenario One: Robert Griffin III
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Rex Grossman had 3,151 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions last year. Not a lot of fun to watch.
For Griffin to get into the top half of the quarterback echelon within his first year (which is what is expected out of a player that carried such a hefty trading price), he is expected to have about 3,600 yards with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
That doesn't even include the rushing totals that could be comparable to most teams' running backs.
We're not looking at expected scenarios here, though. We are looking for best-case scenarios.
The best case here is a season that would be about identical to Cam Newton's rookie campaign which would call for an estimated 4,000 yards along with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Then the rushing fun begins with 600 more yards and 10 to 15 more touchdowns on the ground.
Even though it is the best possible thing that could happen, it is not outlandish to think it could happen.
Alternate best-case scenario: Rex Grossman gets lost on the way to the stadium each week.
Scenario Two: Shanahan Finally Finds a Running Back
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We don't care who it is.
Just pick one. Roll with it. Let him get his yards and carries—and don't change it.
Every time the Redskins have had a feature back, it has brought pretty good success (Clinton Portis, Stephen Davis, Terry Allen, John Riggins, etc.).
Take out the teams that had quarterbacks with a ton of rushing yards and the list of the best running corps in 2011 looks likes this: Houston, Minnesota, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore.
Of all of those, only New Orleans had a true running back by committee standard.
The Redskins ranked way back in 25th in rushing for the 2011 season.
We know when Shanahan sticks to a guy, they can have amazing success. That's why if a feature back emerges, it could be a big year for the runners.
Not to mention, it would make fantasy owners not hate the Redskins anymore.
Scenario Three: Garcon Is Worth Every Penny
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We've only seen him play one game, but it appears that Garcon will be Robert Griffin's go-to guy for the 2012 season.
If Garcon can earn the "premier receiver" money that was given to him in the offseason, it could spell huge things for Griffin—as in making the development process that much easier.
Garcon never looked like the No. 1 receiver in his days in Indianapolis, since he was being overshadowed by Reggie Wayne (and then lost to Payton Manning for the 2011 season). But now he has a real chance.
In this scenario, I can imagine him getting the 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns that it looks like Griffin is more than willing to give him.
Scenario Four: Chris Cooley Bounces Back
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Fred Davis is good enough to be a premier tight end, but we've seen that he can get himself into trouble from time to time.
If he can stay healthy and be the productive Cooley that every Redskins fan wants him to be, then that will add another unexpected target for Griffin. That could get the veteran tight end/fullback back in great terms with the coaching staff for future seasons.
Best-case scenario in terms of stats would be in the neighborhood of 700 yards and six touchdowns.
Scenario Five: The Offense Line Doesn't Get Hurt
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Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Jammal Brown, etc., etc...
The injuries to the offensive line in 2011 were devastating.
Once the offensive line gets injured, then the running backs and quarterbacks get injured. That was fine and dandy when the Redskins weren't in playoff contention, and Rex Grossman was running the show.
Now that Griffin has filled that huge opening, it is imperative to keep him well protected. They allowed 41 sacks last year which was 11th-worst in the league.
Best-case scenario is that the line only suffers one injury (not Trent Williams) at most and contains defenses to about 25 to 30 sacks.
Scenario Six: Jarvis Jenkins Emerges
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I've read the Robert Griffin hype ad nauseam to this point, and I have focused my attention to Jarvis Jenkins.
There was a lot that was made about the prospect from Clemson after he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but a preseason injury kept him sidelined for every game.
The defensive line is lacking star power right now with Adam Carriker, Barry Cofield, and Stephen Bowen being the Redskins projected starters according to their official website.
It's tough for a 3-4 defensive end to stand out, but not impossible. Just an improvement over Bowen or Carriker would be an outstanding scenario, but best case would be around nine sacks and 50 tackles.
Scenario Seven: The Linebacking Corps Becomes NFL's Best
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Best-case scenario for London Fletcher is that he doesn't change a thing.
He's already playing out of his mind for someone this late in their career, especially at his position.
Perry Riley doesn't have to be amazing, and a dream scenario for him would be to prove himself as a worthy future replacement for the beloved Fletcher.
Now on to Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. We've seen glimpses of what these athletic freaks of nature can do already in their young careers, but now it is time to go to the next level.
They combined for 16.5 sacks in the 2011 season and seven forced fumbles.
With the secondary being a big question mark it will be of the utmost importance for these two to become the all-pros they are expected to be and amass a combined 28 sacks and 10 forced fumbles for 2012.
This will take the pressure of the rest of the defense and no matter how long it takes for Griffin to develop, it's hard to lose games when you don't give up yards or points.
Scenario Eight: Interceptions, Please
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They don't have the ability to get 31 interceptions in a season like the Packers did in 2011, but it would be nice to have more than 13.
DeAngelo Hall appears to be the only one that can get his hands on the ball once in a while, and that needs to change. Even 20 to 22 interceptions in the 2012 season would be a huge improvement, and yes, that is—sadly—the best-case scenario.
Adding to that, it would also be a miracle if Brandon Meriweather can go the entire 2012 campaign without getting flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit, although that may be asking for too much.
To sum it all up, this best-case scenario is more of just damage control (a.k.a. don't be terrible).