5 Reasons Why The Redskins Will Compete For 1st In The NFC East

James Gray IICorrespondent IJuly 15, 2008

Once again the Redskins are picked to finish last in the NFC East and I'm not surprised.  Despite last seasons' appearance to the the playoffs, analysts still believe Washington is the weakest team in the division.  Here is a breakdown of five reasons why the Redskins will be a better team and not end up in last place.

1.  Coach Jim Zorn and the west coast offense he brings to D.C. is number one.  The past few seasons the Redskins offense has been decent, but that is about it.  Redskin fans know what I am talking about--remember the first time they played the Giants and lost the game on a 4th and goal?  Times like that make Skins' fans sit back and wonder whether it is the play calling, the offensive line, or is the other team's defense really just that good? 

Offensive consistency is what nation's capital has been yearning for.  A young QB who seems to have all the tools to be more than a solid QB in the league seems not to be blossoming quickly under the current offense. 

The reason why I have the west coast offense as number one is because this is the offense that Jason Campbell ran so effectively at Auburn. Can you say bringing back comfort to the QB who led his team to 13-0 in the SEC? 

He already has made huge strides in preseason workouts with the new offense and should have it down by the end of training camp.  With a fresh start from a new coach who made Matt Hasselbeck who he is today, this offense could thrive to be something serious to reckon with.

2.  It is Clinton Portis' time to shine. There is no doubting his overall skills and body strength has made Portis one of the premier backs in the NFL, but his lack of focus might have been preventing him from being a top 3 back. 

This offseason was different for Portis though. Instead of partying the summer away in Miami he spent his off season in D.C., where the Redskins met with Portis and asked him to be the face and leader of the Redskins franchise-- which carries far more responsibilities off and on the field. 

He was in attendance for all the mini camps, voluntary workouts, and is a mentor to the rookies.  I'm sure he can still kick it with the best in South Beach, but now he has his head right and has his eye on the prize.  The west coast offense also allows Portis to get into the open field and make defenders miss, which is his greatest attribute.  So watch for this Miami boy to put up career numbers and open the passing game for Campbell.

3.  A solid defense is what kept this team together despite the inconsistencies on offense.  After losing Sean Taylor, Carlos Rogers and Rocky McIntosh, many predicted a huge collapse. But that didn't happen because rookies Landry, Doughty, and Heyer proved they belonged in the NFL and held together to win the last four games of the season. 

With a perfect mixture of veterans and rookies, this could be one of the better Redskin defenses in the last decade--deep is the best way to describe the squad.  One other note, many overlook the newly signed defensive end Erasmus James, who had his best season his rookie year then was plagued by injuries.  With a fresh start and being reunited with his college defensive coach this former first round pick in the '05 draft hopefully will find his swag again.

4.  I don't think the Redskins could have had a better first two draft picks.  If you are like me and wonder how a wide open Santana Moss or Randel El gets the ball thrown 5 feet over them on a 3rd down, you are just excited as me about Kelly and Thomas. 

Not only did they get the best WR in the second round they were able to get the second best WR in the draft.  With a 6'3 and a 6'2 receiver the Redskins now have a well balanced attack that could be scary.  With Randle El in the slot, who knows what can happen? Look at Wes Welker. 

These draft picks have the potential to change the outlook of the whole offense and can be the X factors in getting Santana open, not to mention their size being a threat in the end zone.

5.  The last reason doesn't have to do with a new coach, a new offense, a star player, or some key draft picks—it has to do with being a tight unit.  The death of Sean Taylor brought great sorrow to the organization but it also brought unity among players, fans, and a city.  If you would have told me that they would win the last four games with a backup QB to limp into the playoffs I probably would've said, "Told you so," but it was highly unlikely. 

Look at the opponents: the Bears, at Giants, at Vikings, then the Cowboys. It was an amazing run that not only had to do with their heart, determination and skill but something from above. From the day Sean passed was the same day that "I” passed too, as a family they moved on, knowing Sean is there with them in spirit.  

There are too many coincidences that came up involving his number. In the must-win game against Dallas the Redskins won by 21, in their next game a playoff loss to the Seahawks the Redskins lost by 21, following that the Redskins 1st round draft pick was non other then 21. 

At first it seemed “fitting,” but now there are too many 21's to ignore. This is a team that is a family and with leaders like Moss and Portis who know now that life isn't granted they are focused and ready to battle anyone who gets in their way. 

This season, don't underestimate the word TEAM.