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This is the final article in a three-part series discussing what the Washington Redskins must accomplish in 2010 to contend for a Super Bowl. The first article focused on the health of Donovan McNabb and the new-look offensive line while the second previewed the new 3-4 base defense.
Consistency at Wide Receiver
Since 2005, Santana Moss is the only Redskins
receiver who has hauled in over 1,000 yards in a single season (he has done it twice in that time frame).
Aside from Moss, not one other wide out has emerged as a consistent threat for the past ten years. Antwaan Randle El is the only other wide receiver on the team since 2005 to have over 700 yards receiving in a season, which has left Moss subject to constant double teams.
Moss isn't getting any younger, and as of now he still remains the Redskins best receiver. Washington is once again depending on the combination of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to break out.
Thomas had one huge game against New Orleans
last season, but other than that he was simply average, catching 25 balls for 325 yards and three TDs
in 10 starts. He has shown signs of developing into a solid number two WR,
and if he can overcome nagging hamstring issues, then he could be the answer.
Kelly, on the other hand, has been a huge disappointment. Given his 6-4 frame, the Redskins have long hoped he would become a red zone threat, but Kelly has never been able to create separation from defenders.
Kelly has good hands and an ability to make catches over the middle, but his lack of speed and overall failure to show signs of progress has many wondering if he will ever live up to his second-round draft status in 2008.
Thomas and Kelly are the only legitimate hopes to make an impact as secondary targets for McNabb. The remainder of the receivers on the roster range from ancient vets (Joey Galloway) to young hopefuls (Anthony Armstrong).
Its not a pretty situation at receiver, which is why the Redskins' name has popped up in the Vincent Jackson sweepstakes, but having McNabb and a pair of Pro Bowl caliber tight ends in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis will certainly help mask any deficiencies the 'Skins have at WR.
A United Locker Room
Under Jim Zorn, the Redskins were split up into small factions that all had different agendas and goals.
Now with Mike Shanahan, the Redskins have no choice but to unite or receive the boot. Shanahan is changing the mentality at Redskins Park, and little by little everyone is falling in line.
Carlos Rogers reconciled with the team after talking out his concerns with Shanahan; Clinton Portis
has kept his mouth shut since bashing former starting QB Jason Campbell; and even Haynesworth has announced he'll come to camp.
There are plenty of egos on the roster and so Shanahan will have to work hard to maintain the level of control he has at the moment. The team is relatively happy as of now, but if the losses start to pile up, things won't be pretty.
There's a delicate balance Shanahan has to sustain. The crowded backfield featuring Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker will all demand their fair share of touches; Moss may have to deal with a suspension for his involvement in an HGH case; and of course there's no telling what will happen with Haynesworth.
Shanahan has to deal with all this on top of preparing a team for 16 weeks of football. That's a tall order for anyone.
The Haynesworth decision is undoubtedly the toughest move Shanahan will have in 2010. Keeping him would improve the defense immensely, but it could also leave the rest of the locker room with a bad taste in their mouths.
It's a fine line that must be walked if you have "Super" dreams. Shanahan will have to be right on point if the 'Skins want to even remotely sniff success.