Washington Redskins: 5 Reasons Not to Panic About the 2011 Season
The outlook for the Washington Redskins in 2011 is bleak, according to most experts in the field. However, there are still some of us who believe that the Redskins situation isn't that bad.
While I know the preseason doesn't matter much, Washington has impressed in two games against playoff teams from a year ago.
There are undeniably weak spots on the roster and reasonable causes for concern. But at the same time, there are reasons to think that the 2011 season won't destroy your faith in the team (and mankind in general).
Without further ado, here are the five biggest reasons you Washington Redskins fans shouldn't panic with regards to the fast-approaching regular season.
The Quarterback Situation Isn't That Bad
Most of the rationale offered for the many prognosticator's glum predictions for the Washington Redskins' season has been based on the quarterback situation.
It has almost been taken for granted that the Redskins will have very poor production from whoever is anointed the starter under center.
But I don't think it'll be that bad. John Beck looked solid in his preseason debut. He was confident, he made good decisions and his passing looked sharp.
As long as Mike Shanahan and his son (offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) continue to utilize him in the best way possible, with short throws and a lot of rollouts and bootlegs, I think he could do well.
And if Rex Grossman becomes the guy, I don't think it'll kill the Redskins, either. Grossman has thrown a lot of interceptions in his career, but let's not forget he led the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl in his one full year as the starter, and he looked pretty good in limited action last season.
Donovan McNabb's 2010 season was not stellar by any means. He had one more interception than touchdowns, and a passer rating of only 77.1. There shouldn't be too much of a drop off with regards to quarterback play this year.
The Chemistry Will Be Better
The 2010 Washington Redskins season was marred by controversy and team dissension. Between the Albert Haynesworth saga, and the Donovan McNabb dilemma, it seemed like more news was made off the field than on it last year.
If the coaches pick a quarterback and stick with him, this year's Redskins team should have a much better rapport.
Organizations with good team chemistry do well. Good players are a necessity, but the players also have to get along. The Washington Redskins will have much better chemistry in 2011.
There's Some Padding in the Schedule
Washington undoubtedly plays in one of the toughest divisions in football. The Philadelphia Eagles are a trendy Super Bowl pick, the New York Giants underachieved at 10-6 last season and the Dallas Cowboys are loaded with talent.
The Redskins of course also have to play the AFC East, and therefore, the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
However, even with all the hard games, there are still several opportunities in the schedule for the Redskins to pick up W's. They are fortunate enough to play the NFC West, which was far and away the worst conference in the NFL last season.
The result is sort of a mixed bag for the Redskins. They have eight or nine tough games, but a handful of matchups with weak opponents.
Percentage-wise, they have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL (based on 2010 records). This might be skewed since the NFC West teams, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys should all be better, but the fact of the matter is there are a good amount of winnable games on the schedule.
It's a Rebuilding Season
Most of us know that the phrase "rebuilding season" is often code for "we're not gonna be any good this year."
Every time a team cannot compete, it's deemed a "rebuilding season" by someone within the organization or fanbase. I swear I've heard University of Virginia football fans call every season a rebuilding one since about 2004.
At the same time, it is valid to use the cliched phrase if there is some actual rebuilding that takes place.
The Washington Redskins have undeniably been doing some maintenance on their team. With a lot of holes needing to be filled, the Redskins were obviously not going to patch them all up in one year.
The majority of work was done with the defense. Draftee Ryan Kerrigan should have a long, lucrative career at linebacker. Defensive tackle Barry Cofield was an excellent addition, as was seasoned safety O.J. Atogwe.
On offense, there are some young players who could be future stars for the Redskins. Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson could grow into a solid player, as could running back Roy Helu, Jr. (he's looked good in the preseason).
While the pieces aren't all in place in 2011, the 3-4 defense finally is getting the right parts and should be primed for a solid next few years, and the offense will have opportunities to groom some young players.
If the Redskins Really Are Terrible, They'll Have a Shot at Andrew Luck
I'm not usually a glass half full kind of guy, but one of the obvious benefits of the Washington Redskins tanking hard in 2011 is the prize of the 2012 NFL Draft, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
While I don't think the Redskins will be 2-14 like some have predicted, I'm also not sure that being the worst team in the league wouldn't be the best thing for the organization in the long run.
Andrew Luck is one of the most highly touted quarterbacks of the last decade. He has been favorably compared to the likes of Peyton Manning.
In essence, the Redskins can sort of hedge their bets with regards to this season. If John Beck is the guy and the Redskins improve to around .500 or above, great.
If they're horrible and Beck (and/or Rex Grossman) fails, then they can make a play for a fantastic player who could be their franchise quarterback for the next decade or so.