Head Coach: Jay Gruden
2014 record: 4-12 overall, 2-4 NFC East
2014 Postseason results: None
Odds to win Super Bowl 50: 250/1
Odds to win NFC Championship: 70/1
Odds to win NFC East Division: 15/1
Regular season wins: under 6.5 -150 / over 6.5 +120
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The Washington Redskins have won 7 total games in the last two seasons. Last year, Washington went 4-12, under first year coach Jay Gruden. However, two of those wins came over the rival Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Those two wins kept the Cowboys from home field advantage in the playoffs, and the Eagles out of the playoffs. Yes, that is what it has come down to for the Redskins, playing spoiler for division rivals.
Washington looks to improve in 2015 or at the very least finish ahead of the New York Giants in the NFC East. Still Washington is predicted to be one of the worst teams in the NFC ahead of only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Washington averaged 359 yards per game including 253 passing and 106 rushing yards. Those numbers aren’t terrible, but the Redskins averaged only 19 points a game. This is mainly because Washington was -12 in turnovers and the offensive line allowed 58 sacks last year. Sean McVay is back as the offensive coordinator.
Washington used three quarterbacks last year, and none were very good. Robert Griffin III began the season as the starter but suffered a dislocated ankle in the second game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He would not return until November and would only play in 7 games for the rest of the season. Kirk Cousins would play in six games for the injured Griffin. After a 44-17 rout of Jacksonville, Washington would lose 4 straight games He was terrible though and benched at halftime of the Tennessee Titans game in favor of Colt McCoy. McCoy would lead a 19-17 win in that game and also engineered a 20-17 overtime upset over the Cowboys on the road on Monday Night football. Griffin would return from injury the next week. McCoy would play in three more games late in the season.
Cousins threw for 1,710 yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Griffin threw for 1,694 yards with 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and had 38 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown. McCoy threw for 1,057 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and rushed for 66 yards with a touchdown. The Redskins announced Griffin will be the starter in 2015. Cousins and McCoy will compete for the back-up spot. Griffin could be on a short leash though if he struggles early or gets injured again. Staying healthy has been the biggest issue for Griffin after tearing his ACL during a playoff game after a brilliant rookie season.
Running back Alfred Morris had 265 carries for 1,074 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 155 yards. Last year’s back up Roy Helu is now with the Oakland Raiders after rushing for 216 yards on 40 carries with a touchdown, and making 42 catches for 477 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rookie Matt Jones, a third round pick out of Florida will get the back-up carries. Fullback Darrell Young had only 9 carries but 3 rushing touchdowns, and also had 11 catches for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. The quarterbacks will also get some carries especially Griffin and McCoy.
DeSean Jackson had 56 catches for 1,169 yards and 6 touchdowns. He will miss the rest of the pre-season with a shoulder injury, but is probable for week one of the regular season. Pierre Garcon had 68 catches for 752 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Niles Paul is out for the season with a dislocated left ankle. He had 39 catches for 507 yards with a touchdown last year. Tight end Jordan Reed had 50 catches for 465 yards. Andre Roberts had 36 catches for 453 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Grant and rookie Jamison Crowder will also get some targets. Crowder was a fourth round pick out of Duke. For the first time since the 2004 season, receiver Santana Moss is not on the roster. He was released and hasn’t been picked up by another team yet.
The offensive line struggled badly last year, and needs to improve drastically or it will be another long season. The Redskins drafted tackle Brandon Scherff in the first round out of Iowa. He will start at right tackle immediately. Left tackle Trent Williams has had a very good career in the NFL. Washington hired Bill Callahan away from the rival Cowboys to coach the line.
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Washington gave up 357 yards per game on defense including 249 passing and 108 rushing. The Redskins gave up 27 points a game, and only the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders were worse.
Washington fired defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and hired San Diego Chargers linebackers coach Jon Barry as the new coordinator. The defense has undergone a complete overhaul in all three units. In fact, the Redskins could have as many as six new starters.
Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins is now with the Chicago Bears. The Redskins signed free agents Ricky Jean-Francois (Colts), Terrance Knighton (Broncos) and Stephen Paea (Bears) in order to bolster the line. Jason Hatcher returns at one end after recording 5.5 sacks last year. Jean-Francois will back him up but Knighton and Paea will start.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo is now with the Titans. Ryan Kerrigan headlines the linebackers again after recording 13.5 sacks and forcing 5 fumbles. Trent Murphy will start at the other outside position. Inside linebackers Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley, Jr. combined for over 200 tackles last year. Both return in 2015. The Redskins also drafted linebackers Preston Smith (2nd round, Mississippi State) and Martell Spaight (5th round, Arkansas). Both could see significant time in the rotation.
Cornerback E.J. Biggers is now with the Eagles. Safety Ryan Clark has retired and is now working as an analyst for ESPN. The Redskins signed free agents Chris Culliver (49ers) and safeties Dashon Goldson (Buccaneers) & Jeron Johnson (Seahawks). Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is the only returning starter, but he will be suspended for the regular season opener. The three new free agents will start as well.
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Kicker Kai Forbath is back after converting 24/27 field goals. Punter Tress Way averaged 40 net yards per punt with 22 inside the 20. The kick and punt return coverage teams were awful though. Roberts will return kicks and punts again. However, Crowder could also return some kicks and punts as well.
The Redskins open the season at home against the Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Rams. Then comes a trip to the Giants on a Thursday night. October brings home games against the Eagles and Buccaneers, and road games at the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. The Redskins have their bye in week eight. November brings road games at the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, plus home games against the New Orleans Saints and Giants. In December, Washington hosts Dallas on a Monday night and the Buffalo Bills, while traveling to the Bears and Eagles on a Saturday night. Washington closes the season at the Cowboys January 3.
The Redskins should be better, but there are a lot of health concerns especially at quarterback. The defense will take some time to gel with so many new faces. This team might win 6 games, but anything more than that would be a huge surprise.
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