The 2019 NFL offseason has been a roller coaster for the Washington Redskins, their players and their fans. Things were looking up after Landon Collins was signed to his massive deal in March, but it seems as though everything is spinning out of control recently. With Trent Williams holding out, the Redskins have a huge gap to fill on the offensive line. This has put a pin in Washington’s hopes of establishing a solid line for their new centerpiece: Dwayne Haskins.
Despite the rabid media attention Williams has been getting, the Redskins – believe it or not – still have other players. In fact, most of these players have been showing out thus far at training camp. Don’t let the negative light block out the positives, because this new Redskins team has plenty of upside.
The Meanest, Youngest Front 7 in the NFL
Even though the offensive side of the ball gets most of the attention, Washington has built an incredibly tough defensive front in recent years. Ryan Kerrigan was the first piece of the puzzle, shortly followed by Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and now Montez Sweat. Before adding Sweat, this front seven was already one of the best in the league. With other big bodies, like Caleb Brantley and Tim Settle, Washington’s defensive line will be very scary to play against.
On the other hand, the Redskins’ linebacker core has been scarce for quite some time. Ever since London Fletcher retired after the 2013 season, Washington has had a frenzy of players try to fill the position. Unfortunately, no one has really gotten the job done, so they’ve turned to veteran linebacker Jon Bostic. Recently, Washington cut Mason Foster after being the team’s leading tackler in 2018. This move says a lot about their hopes for Bostic, as well as their younger, more unproven linebackers. Losing Foster could easily be seen as a downgrade, but the light in the situation is that Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton can get playing time and improve. This also entails that Washington might be looking to grab another linebacker in the 2020 draft.
On a team that can be so volatile, having a solid defensive front extinguishes some of the fire. If healthy, this front seven will cause nightmares for all opposing offenses.
An Improving Secondary
After signing Josh Norman to a 5 year, $75 million deal in 2016, the Redskins have since had a lackluster secondary. Norman hasn’t fully lived up to the hype, as well as some of their other, younger defensive backs. However, the newly-signed Landon Collins adds some much-needed stability to this group. Though Collins isn’t much of a coverage safety, his presence in the box alone will be enough to help their cause in the run game. Other defensive backs, like Jimmy Moreland and Fabien Moreau, should thrive in the nickel and fare well in the passing game.
In addition to their younger talent, Washington signed veteran corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a one year deal. DRC will be joining an influx of secondary talent and likely won’t be asked to do much. However, the veteran should bring a lot to the table in regards to the mental side of the game. His experience in the league can easily rub off on the younger guys, which will hopefully help them develop into more sound players. Also, DRC has a noticeable synergy with Landon Collins since the two have a brief history together. Nonetheless, Washington’s secondary should be on the rise this season.
A Fast-Developing Offense
As many know, the Washington Redskins have been utterly terrible on the offensive side of the ball. Both RG3 and Kirk Cousins have shed slivers of light onto the barren wasteland of Redskins football, but even they couldn’t get the job done. There’s obviously no real sign of change at this point, however, that doesn’t mean the narrative will stay the same this season.
The quarterback competition in Washington has undoubtedly been the talk of the town this offseason. Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are obviously the safe options at this point, but many believe that Dwayne Haskins will be the guy to kick things off in Week 1. It seems clear that the arm talent is there, however, the mental aspect of the offense still needs to click. This has kept Haskins among the third-stringers in training camp, which was expected initially. As training camp transforms into the pre-season, the Redskins should get a solid idea of how Haskins handles NFL defenses, so it won’t be a matter of who they choose to lead the offense, but a matter of when.
On top of the speculation at quarterback, the Redskins have a stacked group of talent in regards to their skilled positions. With Derrius Guice returning from injury, Adrian Peterson’s load management should be managed properly, as well as Chris Thompson’s. This three-headed serpent in the backfield could be lethal if healthy, on top of their new core of receivers. Washington recently drafted Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon to make up for their lack of play-makers in the receiving department. These two run routes exceptionally, have great hands and can be reliable in many different downs and situations. Also, Trey Quinn has reportedly ‘locked up’ the slot position, so it seems as though things are working themselves out. Though nothing is set in stone, Washington should now have a better sense of comfort on offense.
Put on the Blinders and Wait Until Week 1
It’s so easy to get caught up in all the negative aspects of Washington football, that sometimes the season looks finished before it begins. Instead of worrying about the now, Redskins fans should be hopeful for the future. There’s a young and talented core of players that are waiting to prove themselves, so just sit back and watch.
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