With the 2010 NFL season just around the corner, here's an early look at predictions for players who will have the biggest impact for the Washington Redskins.
It's never too early for optimism, and Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have given Redskins fans a reason to be hopeful. Washington might be the biggest surprise in the league this year. These five players will play big roles in delivering a winning season.
Reed Doughty had a career high of 91 tackles last season, good for on the team behind London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh. Despite only starting seven games out of the 15 he played, his excellent performances did not go unnoticed. Imagine what he will do if he manages to win the starting job opposite Laron Landry this year.
Doughty is one of the most intelligent players on this team. He should be among the first to grasp the intricacies of Jim Haslett's defense. Doughty should turn out to be one of the leaders of the defense with his extreme toughness, discipline and excellent fundamental tackling.
Don't be surprised when he ends up with over 100 tackles and a handful of interceptions this year.
Trent Williams was drafted this year to fill the biggest void on the team, which is left tackle.
His athleticism is very impressive for a man of his stature, and he should be solid in protecting Donovan McNabb and in opening up running lanes for Clinton Portis.
His first start will be a major test when he faces off with Demarcus Ware, but it's a safe bet that he will hold his ground against many of the league's top pass rushers. Williams will be a major cornerstone in a successful offense.
Chris Cooley was very limited in 2009 because of injuries. He should come roaring back in 2010 since he is an extremely hard worker. Cooley should pick up on the nuances of the Shanahans' offense very quickly.
McNabb has a history of relying heavily on his tight ends, and Cooley will be no different. Cooley should be McNabb's go-to man all year, and it would not be shocking to see him end up with more than 70 receptions and double digit touchdowns.
After 2009's 11-sack, Pro Bowl performance, Brian Orakpo is already a feared pass rusher.
He has a rare combination of speed and strength, and he has an unstoppable motor. He will be hungry for more in 2010, and the new 3-4 defense should cater to his strengths.
Haslett has already promised to send him after the quarterback much more than he did last year, and that's bad news for opposing offenses. Orakpo is a perfect fit for the 3-4, and he should be poised for over 15 sacks this season.
No surprise here. Donovan McNabb is the No.1 impact player for the 2010 Redskins will be McNabb. He has already said he has no hard feelings toward the Philadelphia Eagles for trading him, but he lied. He is bitter about being put out after giving so many good years to Philadelphia, and now wants to prove to the Eagles and the rest of the league that he is still an upper-echelon quarterback.
McNabb still has plenty of gas left in his tank to take the Redskins to the playoffs. A quarterback of his caliber can do so much to elevate the play of everyone on an offense, and look for him to do the same for Washington.
McNabb will be ready to maximize the potential of an explosive Shanahan offense. Along with leading the Redskins to the playoffs in 2010, McNabb will end up with the best statistical season of his career, passing for 4000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns.