Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 24—Washington Redskins

Alex JohnsonCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

ASHBURN, VA - AUGUST 03:  Defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander #79 of the Washington Redskins hits a blocking sled while practicing during training camp August 3, 2009 in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

2008 Record: 8-8


2008 Season Review

With the exception of an opening day loss to the Giants, the Redskins got off to a hot start in 2008.

After five games, the 'Skins sat at 4-1. With the lowly Rams next on the schedule, it appeared as if Washington was going to continue on their winning streak.

However, against St. Louis, Washington committed their first three turnovers of the season and lost on a Josh Brown 49-yard field goal as time expired.

At the week 10 bye, they were a respectable 6-3.

But from there, the wheels fell off, and playoff hopes were crushed.

The 2-5 record over the last seven weeks dropped the 'Skins all the way to fourth in the NFC East and a disappointing 8-8 record.

Running back Clinton Portis compiled five straight 100-plus-yards rushing games in weeks four through eight. Due to wear and tear, Portis only reached 100 yards once in his final eight games.

Despite throwing just six interceptions all year, quarterback Jason Campbell and the pass attack were still just mediocre.

Early on it seemed as if Campbell was about to take the next step as an NFL quarterback. Instead, his progress was curtailed as he threw for just 13 touchdowns on the year.

With an average pass attack and a weak second-half rushing attack, the offense struggled to score points on a consistent basis. They ranked 28th in average points per game (16.6 PPG).

Defensively, the lack of a pass rush was the utmost of problems. They only tallied 24 sacks (fourth worst in the NFL).

Former Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor missed three games and only collected 3.5 sacks.

Other than their troubles rushing the passer, the defense was pretty solid overall.

The unit ranked eighth against the run and seventh in passing yards allowed.


Key Additions 

DT Albert Haynesworth, OG Derrick Dockery, OG Jeremy Bridges, DE Renaldo Wynn, DE/OLB Brian Orakpo (draft)


Key Losses 

OT Jon Jansen, CB Shawn Springs, DE Jason Taylor, LB Marcus Washington


2009 Preview

The Redskins made a big splash in free agency as they scooped up the biggest name off the market, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.

Over the last two seasons, Haynesworth was unquestionably the most dominant defensive player in the NFL.

Haynesworth joins a defensive line that struggled in 2008 to get penetration up the middle. Big Albert should create plenty of pressure. He will likely be used as a defensive end as well.

First round selection DE/OLB Brian Orakpo could see a starting job right away. He's very versatile, which is a huge advantage for the young Texas alumnus. Orakpo will likely be a strong-side linebacker on rushing downs and a defensive end in passing situations.

The secondary will have DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers manning the cornerback positions. 

Young playmaker LaRon Landry will be hitting hard at safety.

The 'Skins played with the idea of trading for disgruntled quarterback Jay Cutler from the Broncos. Then it appeared they might trade up in the 2009 NFL Draft to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. But in the end, neither scenario played out, and Jason Campbell remains the starting quarterback.

Campbell's premier weapons are tight end Chris Cooley and wide receivers Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, and young Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. A group of six more receivers, including recently signed D.J. Hackett, will also compete for a roster spot.

The Redskins are hoping Kelly and Thomas can begin to make a big impact on the offense. They will each see a significant role in '09.

Thomas is a big-play threat with size and speed. He's got the potential to excel at the "Z" (flanker) spot.

Kelly is more of a slot receiver. Washington is looking for him to emerge as a third-down weapon.

The rushing attack, led by Clinton Portis, will need to regain its early 2008 form if the offense is going to have much success. A strong rushing attack will allow Campbell and the passing game to have success.

The offensive line is one of the oldest in the NFL but has a chance to be very good. The addition of Derrick Dockery, who played for the 'Skins from 2003 through 2006, will be a slight upgrade over last year's starter Pete Kendall.

The effectiveness and performance of the O-line will depend on the health of Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas, who combine for 19 years of NFL experience. Third-year tackle Stephon Heyer will likely take over the starting right tackle position.


Bottom Line

Jim Zorn is already on the hot seat in Washington. He will need to wake up the offense and give the defense a kick in the behind to get moving. I expect between six and eight wins from the 'Skins. However, if all goes well, they've got the potential to rack up 11 victories.


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