Washington Redskins 2009 NFL Projection:
Last season Washington fielded a solid defense, ranked 4th in the league.
After eight games the 'Skins were on pace to make the playoffs at (6-2).
But their season fell apart shortly thereafter as Washington's offense
Clinton Portis' numbers flip flopped, and the Redskins lost a string of games against teams with top defenses such as;
Pittsburgh, Dallas, N.Y. Giants, and Baltimore... Lost in most analyses
was the sweeping of NFC runner up Philadelphia.
In 2009 the Redskins made quite a splash in free agency, landing
defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
In preseason week 3, fans got a taste of just how impacting his play can be
when he nearly caused Tom Brady serious injury to his right shoulder.
The Redskins figure to have a phenomenal defensive line with Haynesworth and Griffin in the middle, flanked by Carter and Daniels.
London Fletcher leads a solid linebacking group.
Add Washington's first round draft pick, Brian Orakpo out of Texas to the mix and the Redskins' front two units leave little to be desired.
The Redskins are also solid in their secondary with Rodgers, Smoot, Hall, and Horton.
If Washington fails to make the playoffs this season, it's hard to imagine the defense being at fault.
On offense, quarterback Jason Campbell has received much blame for Washington's offensive woes.
I'm not sure how fair that is. My biggest concern about Campbell is a failure to put enough air
under his deep ball. Otherwise, I like what he brings to the table. And it's important to keep in mind
just how tough the NFC East is defensively.
Washington's offensive line has a different look as LG Pete Kendall has been replaced by
Derrick Dockery of Buffalo. And RT Jon Jansen has been replaced by Stephon Heyer.
If Washington can get consistent play from their offensive line (of great importance is LT Chris Samuels' bothersome knee),
and one other receiver besides Santana Moss
can step up on a semi-regular basis (perhaps Malcolm Kelly), then people are probably going to forget they were questioning
Lastly, the 'Skins plan to use Betts on 3rd downs in an effort to keep Portis fresh for the entire season--
as opposed to overtaxing him like last season.
Washington has a mix of about 10 difficult games on paper, and 6 lighter games on paper.
Focusing on their first 7 games (before their bye week)
you can see the majority of the Redskins' easier games occur at the beginning of the season as four of their first seven
qualify (in bold);
If the Redskins can't do better than (4-3) in their first seven games, they will have a difficult time
making the playoffs-- as their second half schedule is much tougher with 7 of 9 games grading as difficult
Washington has to take care of business against their lesser opponents...
No slip ups like last season against the Rams.
Furthermore, they must take at least
1 of their 3 early season games against returning playoff teams; New York, Carolina, or Philly...
Perhaps even two.
Washington's defense looks strong enough on paper to make a playoff push, even if their
offense doesn't improve year over year.
However, we think Washington's offense will
perk up a bit in 2009. Overall we forecast a (10-6) mark for the Redskins in '09...
Warning-- there are so many good teams on paper in the NFC this season that (10-6)
may not be good enough to qualify for postseason play. Tie-breakers are likely to come into play.
At any rate, defense wins championships. And the Redskins certainly have a solid defense.
But we're now projecting a fourth place finish due to a slight upgrade to our opening
preseason record projection for the Cowboys.
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