The Washington Redskins had become the fourth team in the 1991 season to win their third Super Bowl. However, since then the Redskins have only won their division twice. Once in 1999 and the other happened last year with a 10-6 record. Today I would like to take a preview of the 2013 Washington Redskins. Therefore, taking a closer look of some of the players taking the field and the direction of the team heading into the 2013 season.
When one speaks of the Redskins, two words come to mind, Robert Griffin. After recognizing the face of the franchise, today a third word pops up immediately and that is “health.” As long as Robert Griffin III is healthy, the potential for the Redskins could be limitless.
Griffin had a tremendous rookie year in 2012. He has opened the eyes of the football world and simultaneously confirmed to the football experts on how good he could potentially be. Griffin played in 15 games in 2012 throwing for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. Griffin finished the season with a 65.6 completion percentage, but that wasn’t the number that we all remembered.
Griffin broke the NFL rookie quarterback rating with 102.4, beating Ben Roethlisberger 98.1 passing rating in 2004. Duly noted, Russell Wilson finished with 100.0 passing rating in 2013 as well, but let’s face it. No one remembers second place. Griffin also brought to the table 815 rushing yards and took it to the house for seven rushing touchdowns.
Griffin also beat Cam Newton‘s 2011 rookie quarteback rushing title. Cam rushed for 706 yards in 2011 while Griffin beat that record in week 13 last year. Lastly and very obviously, Robert Griffin was the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Griffin most definitely held his own and set records along the way, all from a rookie quarterback that simply amazed us all.
There was another phenomenal rookie stud last year name Alfred Morris. Morris was a complete monster last year and he’s very well in for a great year in 2013. Morris had rushed for a total of 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. That was so exceptional and all I heard around the fantasy football leagues early on last year was, “Who is this Alfred Morris guy and more specifically, why is he not on my fantasy team?” Morris lit it up and raised the bar for not only running backs in Redskin jersey’s, but around the league.
My favorite stats about Morris is how strong he finished the 2012 season. In his last six regular season games, Morris rushed for the following each game 113/124/129/87/91/200 yards. Are you kidding me? Way to put a stamp on the end of your rookie season. Additionally, Morris contributed seven touchdowns in his last six games.
This year, Morris is looking to elevate his game in receptions while catching the ball out of the backfield. Head coach Mike Shanahan has recognized Morris’s offseason efforts in receiving and he will only be that much more of a threat in the 2013 season.
In regards to the wide receiver department, Redskin fans have to be pleased to hear that Pierre Garcon, their No. 1 wide receiver, is 100-percent healthy. Garcon suffered throughout the 2012 season with a toe injury that was definitely impacting his game. Additionally, Pierre had a shoulder surgery in the offseason to repair a torn labrum. Garcon is completely healthy and it has been seen in camp. It’s a very exciting year for Garcon to show the Redskin faithful and the NFL world what Griffin and himself can do together.
Garcon finished the 2012 season with 44 rec/633 yds/4TDs, but only playing in 10 games. However, the two previous years before 2012 season in Indy, Garcon has proven he is at least good for 65-70 recs and 750 yds and six touchdowns. Personally, I believe Garcon will have 70-80 receptionss with 1000 yards and eight-to-nine touchdowns — if not more in all categories.
As of now, Josh Morgan is listed as the No. 2 wide receiver for the Redskins. Morgan is 28 yrs old 6’1, 220-pound frame from Virginia Tech bringing six years of NFL experience. In 2012, Morgan brought 48 recs/510 yds/two touchdowns. In the slot and as a wide receiver No. 3, you have 34 year old Santana Moss playing in his 13th season. Moss will primarily be used as a third-down wide receiver. However, Moss still brought to the table 41 recs/573 yds/ 8 TDs. Even though Moss’s touchdowns will more than likely regress and go towards Garcon, I was very impressed on how Moss found the end zone 8 times.
Lastly, the Redskins are waiting on wide receiver Leonard Hankerson to take that next step. Hankerson is 24 yrs old 6’2 and 205 lbs out of Miami. Hankerson had 38 recs/ 543 yds/ 3 TDs, but still looks inconsistent in blocking and catching as well. The Redskins are hopeful this is his year to emerge.
It was a blow last year when the Redskins lost their tight end Fred Davis to a ruptured Achilles. That being said for the 27-year old, Davis looks 100-percent healthy and is eyeballing to start in Week 1. Last year the six-year pro had 24 recs/325 yds/and 0 touchdowns, but only played in seven games. However, Davis played in 12 games in 2011 with 59 recs/796 yds/ 3 TDs under a quarterback named Rex Grossman.
Obviously there is a major upgrade at the quarterback position from Grossman to Griffin in every category. Additionally, we saw Fred Davis’s potential in Week 3 last year vs. the Bengals where he caught seven passes for 90 yds. Ex-USC Fred Davis is hoping to emerge as Griffin’s No. 1 option, and even though Davis is a TE2 in fantasy, I believe he is looking for a breakout year.
Lastly, the Redskins drafted tight end Jordan Reed out of Florida with their third pick. Both Reed and Davis have the capabilities of putting up big yards after the catch (YAC). Reed is a good all around tight end with his blocking and versatility. Reed is primarily an investment backup to Davis, but it will be interesting if the Shanahan’s could find a way for both tight ends to play on the field at the same time.
On defense, the Redskins finished 28th overall, but fifth best vs the rush and 30th vs the pass. Brian Orakpo looks to headline that defense, especially since he has finished his last two seasons early both times with torn pectorals. However, Orakpo is simply a beast at 6’4 and 260 lbs out of Texas. Orakpo is a nasty pass rusher has proven it the last four years with sacks of 1/9/8.5/11.
Obviously, his season ended early last year, but case in point, Orakpo has 30 sacks in his last 49 games. If I was the quarterback playing vs Orakpo this year — and really any year — I would find out where #98 is at all times.
Ryan Kerrigan had a great year in the absence of Orakpo by leading all 3-4 LB’s with 50 hurries vs opposing quarterbacks. Kerrigan finished the year with 8.5 sacks/54 tackles/ one interception. The leader of the defense was 38-year-old linebacker London Fletcher. Even though Fletcher’s tackles were a bit down with 141 tackles, that is still exceptional and he led the team in interceptions with five.
Since 1999, Fletcher has played all 16 games over those 14 years. This might be Fletcher’s last year, but the team definitely wanted him back for his leadership. And let’s be honest, he is still producing.
Upfront, the Redskins obviously held their own by being fifth-best vs the rush. The Redskins will miss Jarvis Jenkins for the first four games due to a suspension. Kedric Golston will replace him with the help of Cofield and Bowen. Secondary is where the Redskins need the most help. They have cornerback DeAngelo Hall returning as well as safety Meriweather and cornerback Josh Wilson returning from injury.
They drafted cornerback David Amerson with their first pick out of the second round from NC State to help play in nickel packages. Even though Amerson needs some coaching, the experts are saying he could be the top starting corner for the Redskins in the next two-to-three years.
With a year under the rookie of the year Robert Griffin’s belt where he has a year of maturity. Griffin can build off those numbers for last year and continue to perfect his game. Morris will build on his spectacular rushing numbers with his new and improved receiving attack. The Redskins offense was fifth overall in rushing, but 20th overall in passing. My prediction is wide receiver Pierre Garcon and tight end Fred Davis to be both potential 1,000 yd receivers providing Griffin with targets and offensive weapons since everyone is healthy.
Lastly, knowing that Orakpo wants to the be the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) and seeing his production, I feel the Redskins will win their division. With an even better record at 11-5, the Redskins will once again win the 2013 NFC East division for a third time, since 1991. In fact, one could say, the NFC East could be the Redskins division for many years to come.