Washington Redskins: 10 Predictions for 2012
The Washington Redskins haven't won a playoff game since 2005 and haven't had a winning record since 2007. But after trading away four top-tier draft picks, Babe Ruth, Herschel Walker and 3,000 square feet of West Wing property for Robert Lee Griffin III, there's light at the end of tunnel.
I get the feeling my 10 predictions for the 2013 Redskins will be much more exciting than what I'm prognosticating for the 2012 edition, but these will sure beat whatever I would have given you a year ago.
Trent Williams Will Become a Pro Bowl Left Tackle
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The fourth overall pick of the 2010 draft really came into his own before a suspension cost him the final quarter of 2011, but he's been absolutely dominating this summer and should be on the verge of a massive season protecting RG3's blind side in his third year.
The Redskins have a lot of question marks along the offensive line, so it's nice to know that they're secure in the most important spot.
Evan Royster Will Lead the Team in Rushing
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I'm not suggesting that fantasy players start grabbing the second-year back in Round 1, but Royster is probably the most reliable back on the Redskins roster.
I do believe rookie Alfred Morris will play a major role this year too, which is why this is a fantasy nightmare, but I don't think Morris has the home run-hitting ability that Royster possesses. We're talking about a guy who averaged 5.9 yards per carry last season.
I'm not convinced Roy Helu can become a consistent enough contributor, so I'm expecting Royster and Morris to become a nice 1-2 punch this year in D.C.
Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan Will Combine for 25 Sacks
The dynamic young pass-rushing duo combined for 16.5 sacks last season as the Redskins' pass-rush improved dramatically. That trend should continue as Orakpo enters his prime and Kerrigan preps to take a step forward following his first full offseason.
They actually got a lot more pressure than the sack numbers would indicate last year, and Kerrigan has shown better technique thus far in 2012. It's gonna be a big year for both.
Richard Crawford Will Finish the Season in a Starting Role
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At the very least, the rookie seventh-round pick should earn a full-time nickel corner role by the time December and January roll around. He's got a knack for making plays and is versatile enough to play all over the secondary, and the Redskins simply won't get consistent efforts out of Cedric Griffin.
Griffin and DeAngelo Hall both struggled this preseason, so there's a clear opening for Crawford to emerge.
There Will Once Again Be a Revolving Door at Right Tackle
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I'm not as concerned as others about the Redskins offensive line because I think Williams will be great and Kory Lichtensteiger's return will help immensely. That said, the right tackle spot continues to be the weakest position on the line, and maybe even the team.
Tyler Polumbus starts the season in place of the injured Jammal Brown, which is sort of like replacing a 1987 Chevette with a 1986 Chevette. Expect both players to struggle throughout the year.
Fred Davis Will Go over 1,000 Yards
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The 25-year-old tight end probably would have hit the 1,000-yard mark last year had he not been suspended for the final four games of the year. This season, though, he'll be relied upon even more as the Redskins tailor the offense to make things as easy as possible for Griffin.
With that in mind, there's little to reason to believe Davis won't officially become a star in 2012.
The Secondary Will Continue to Struggle
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They couldn't force turnovers and gave up too many big plays in 2011, and I don't see much changing with the defensive backfield in 2012.
I like new defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, but there's only so much Morris can do with a lackluster unit like this one. Brandon Meriweather has no business starting anywhere, and Cedric Griffin, DeAngelo Hall and Madieu Williams are past their prime.
It Will Be Rex Grossman's Final NFL Season
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Sad, I know. The 'Skins are keeping Grossman on the roster because they feel they need a veteran presence behind RG3 and Kirk Cousins, but Cousins should prove this season that he can carry the load as Griffin's primary backup going forward.
I'd be shocked if a 33-year-old Grossman got another sniff after 2012.
Robert Griffin III Will Be the Offensive Rookie of the Year
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I like what I've seen from Andrew Luck, and Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon will surely be factors, but Griffin has everything going his way right now. He's displaying great maturity and appears to be ready to make an impact right off the bat.
But more importantly, he's got the support that Luck, Richardson and Blackmon don't. Williams at left tackle. Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis as receiving weapons. Good running game. Good defensive pass rush.
I don't know who will have a better career between Luck and Griffin, but I think RG3 will get off to a faster start.
The Redskins Will Finish with a .500 Record
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After winning an average of five games over the last three years, that's the kind of progress you hope for with a rookie quarterback running the show. If indeed it can win eight games this year, Washington will be a true contender in the NFC East in 2013.
Predicted outcome: 8-8 (tied for third in the NFC East)