Washington Redskins 2014 Virtual Program: Depth-Chart Analysis and More

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Washington Redskins 2014 Virtual Program: Depth-Chart Analysis and More
Larry French/Getty Images

Mike Shanahan is gone, but will it mean a better season for Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins? That question, specifically Griffin's part of it, is key to the 2014 campaign for Washington.

Ensuring Griffin delivers is the main task facing new head coach Jay Gruden. The former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator and noted quarterbacks coach was hired largely based on his perceived ability to improve Griffin.

The young passer is facing a dangerous crossroads in his career. But the implications of a wrong turn are not just his alone to bear.

Griffin's fortunes are so inextricably linked to the prospects of the whole franchise that if he falters, so will the Redskins. Gruden will hope a simplified offensive scheme and a host of dynamic new weapons will enable Griffin to produce.

The first-year head coach will also be banking on considerable defensive improvement from a unit that apparently has more freedom to attack offenses this season.

That freedom means defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has to produce his first genuinely fearsome defense since taking over in 2010. It won't happen if Haslett's best intentions are undermined by a wafer-thin secondary, lacking legitimate difference makers at safety.

With Shanahan out of the way, general manager Bruce Allen has taken on a bigger role. His efforts to fill out and rebuild the roster have also extended to the special teams.

A unit that was a weekly catastrophe in 2013 has been totally revamped by free-agent acquisitions and potentially invaluable draft picks. Gruden and Allen must hope their efforts translate to the kind of big plays in football's third phase all losing programs need to help turn things around.

With the new season just days away, here's a full preview of how things are shaping up in Washington. This includes examining the strengths of the depth charts, identifying the coaches who must deliver, which opponents will be the toughest and, finally, a prediction.


All statistics via NFL.com.

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