Washington Redskins Preview: Someone Has To Finish Last in the NFC East
True story from last year.
I was in a big-money fantasy football league. The league made the mistake of having its Super Bowl in Week 17. I was lucky enough to make the Super Bowl.
Now, nobody plays in Week 17 (unless you play for the Giants). This caused both the guy I was up against and myself to drop half our roster and pick up a bunch of no-name replacements.
I ended up starting Todd Collins at quarterback. For a few minutes, it looked like he had led me to a miraculous victory.
Then, a little-known running back in New Orleans named Pierre Thomas rushed for 100 yards, received for 100 yards, and took $500 out of my pocket.
Thomas had 151 receiving yards ALL SEASON, and 121 of them came against me in Week 17.
Of course, this has nothing to do with the 2008 Washington Redskins, because Todd Collins is back in his familiar backup role, but every time I look at the Redskins’ depth chart, I’m reminded of that farce that was Week 17 last season.
Also, I hate Pierre bleeping Thomas.
Todd Collins was starting because Jason Campbell got hurt. Campbell ended up riding the bench on my fantasy team most of last season, so I kept a close eye on him.
I’m a little mixed on Campbell. On the one hand, I see signs that he can become a pretty good quarterback. On the other hand, the offense looked much better with Todd Collins running the show.
The Redskins are counting on first-year Head Coach Jim Zorn to mold him into the quarterback his talent says he can become.
I really, really like Clinton Portis. He’s an exciting player who busts his butt on every play. Ladell Betts was unimpressive last season, but he’s still there backing up Portis. In a pinch, he can get the job done.
Santana Moss is a fantastic wide recei...oh crap, he just pulled a hammy.
Antwan Randle El figures to be the No. 2 receiver during the few games where Santana Moss is actually healthy. James Thrash is the third receiver. He’s an underrated guy, who, for reasons I can’t effectively put into words, I’ve always liked.
Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly were both drafted to add depth, but Kelly is hurt and Thomas hasn’t figured out the playbook enough to be a factor yet.
Chris Cooley is a tremendous weapon in the passing game.
I like Washington's offensive line.
Chris Samuels is a beast of a run blocker. Pete Kendall hates the Jets as much as I do. He’s also a pretty good guard. Casey Rabach isn’t noticeable during most games, which is good when you’re an offensive lineman. Randy Thomas run blocks better than he pass blocks, but he run blocks really well.
Right tackle is the only real problem. Jon Jansen looks like he’s done. Stephen Heyer won the job in the preseason, but he’s still kind of raw. If there’s going to be a weak spot on this offensive line, that’s probably where it is.
The defense is expected to be pretty good.
The addition of Jason Taylor gives them a sack machine at left end. Andre Carter looks like he’s finally starting to live up to his potential.
The tackles are a question mark.
Cornelius Griffin looks old and slow at times. Kedric Golston beat out the injured Anthony Montgomery for the starting job, but neither player will light the world on fire.
I like the linebackers.
Marcus Washington is a pretty good player on the strong side. London Fletcher is one of the most productive defensive players in the NFL. Rocky McIntosh is above average and getting better. H.B. Blades will see some time spelling Fletcher and Washington. He’s as good a backup as you’ll find.
Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, and Fred Smoot are as good a trio of cornerbacks as you’ll find in the NFL. The Redskins just need to keep them healthy. LaRon Landry has the tools to become one of the best safeties in the NFL. Reed Doughty is the other safety, until they find someone better.
The Redskins did a fantastic job of overcoming adversity to shock everyone and make the playoffs last season. But in their division, which is the second toughest in the NFL, they may have trouble doing it again.
I look at it this way: Santana Moss is fragile. The Redskins aren’t deep at wide receiver. And he’s further along than Malcolm Kelly.
Fighting for draft picks, fighting for the playoffs, or contending for the Super Bowl?
The Redskins will be fighting for the playoffs.
The Redskins have a first-year head coach and they play in the second-toughest division in football. That spells 8-8. If they were in an easier division, like say the NFC West, they’d be a playoff team for sure. But someone has to finish last in the NFC East.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at email@example.com. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
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