The Washington Redskins should be an improved football team in 2009. After finishing in last place in the NFC East with a record of 8-8 in 2008, the team should be hungry for improvement over the likes of division rivals Dallas and Philadelphia.
If everything breaks right for the Redskins this year, it wouldn't be unrealistic to believe that they could end up with a record of 10-6, with a firm spot in the NFL Playoffs.
However, more likely than not, the Redskins will experience much of the same—possibly slight regression—from their 2008 numbers. The Redskins did not do an adequate job at fulfilling most of their needs in the offseason.
Albert Haynesworth was the big-name add for the Redskins from free agency, and he instantly becomes the best player on the Washington Redskins defense. If he can dictate the interior defensive line's level of play, Haynesworth and Orakpo together should create one of the best defensive line combinations in the game for years to come.
Haynesworth should come in extremely handy for the Redskins in the NFC East, due to the quality and depth of the other running backs in the division.
Even though DeAngelo Hall had a nice run last season with the Redskins, the question still remains for most fans—is he going to keep up his high level of play, and can he keep his behavior in check?
Hall got a stunning six-year, $54 million deal from the Redskins in free agency, so they expect him to do so. If Hall somehow implodes, the Redskins will be in big trouble at the cornerback position, so Hall is a must-produce player if the Redskins want to experience success in 2009.
The Redskins had an average showing in the 2009 NFL Draft. While they addressed a top need at defensive end in the first round—selecting Brian Orakpo out of the University of Texas—the rest of their draft was not intriguing.
Kevin Barnes, a cornerback out of the University of Maryland, was selected in the third round to replace Shawn Springs. While he can be a playmaker and a big-hitter, he is likely too raw to step into the lineup immediately as anything more than a nickel defensive back.
The Redskins also addressed needs at outside linebacker, but failed to draft an offensive tackle: something that the team desperately needed to protect their quarterback, Jason Campbell. They signed former Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Mike Williams to a free agent deal, but he is hardly the answer at that position.
He did not start a single game for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
Even with the addition of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth from free agency, the Redskins still have too many holes and mediocre position players to be considered a serious contender to win the NFC East in 2009.
Most fans should temper their expectations and expect a slight regression for the Washington Redskins.