Every NFL player will say their team is in with a chance of doing well coming into a new season, however given that the NFC East looks like being very strong again in 2011 and the fact that he is by no means certain to start this seems a bold statement to make; or is it?
Two seasons ago no one would really gave the Cincinnati Bengals a prayer in the AFC North and last season most (yourselves included gave the Chiefs no chance of taking the AFC West, so are the Redskins this seasons surprise team or has Rex had one too many blows to the head!
Currently most pundits have the Skins finishing 4th in the NFC East and many expect them to struggle to match last seasons 6-10 record. However a quick look at their results last season shows that six of those defeats came by 4 points or less and their schedule was pretty ugly with their non divisional games including games against Superbowl Champions Green Bay, NFL Championship runners up Chicago, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay. A line up many teams would have struggled with. The problem is that 2011 doesn’t look any easier with their opening 5 games all being against genuine playoff contenders plus they have the Jets & Patriots in December.
The Redskins have made some big changes in the off-season, disposing of Donovan McNabb, Albert Haynesworth and Clinton Portis, but have added extra firepower in the shape of Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney both competent receivers. With Santana Moss re-signing they finally have a decent threat out wide and adding Tim Hightower at Running Back will take some of the pressure off Ryan Torain as well as offering cover if he ends up hurt again. Torain missed 4 games in 2010 and that hurt the Skins especially given they had little to offer other than Moss in offense. They were a bit short on draft picks in 2010 but adding Trent Williams to the offensive line is an upgrade and he should suit the zone blocking scheme so loved by Mike Shanahan.
Their defense was hamstrung by Haynesworth’s reluctance to play out of position, however they should be more settled this time having added NY Giant DT Barry Cofield who is well suited to playing Nose Tackle and in our opinion a much under rated player. is an upgrade at nose tackle, the position Haynesworth refused to play. The Redskins also added talent at defensive end snapping up ex Dallas Cowboys starter Stephen Bowen and their secondary looks a little stronger with the addition of corner Josh Wilson and safety O.J. Atogwe.
Overall we think the Redskins are a better team than in 2010 at all positions except QB, and we are not convinced by Rex Grossman despite his 2006 Superbowl appearance with The Bears, and John Beck doesn’t look the answer to us either.
Overall the big problem Washington have is the fact that all their divisional rivals have gotten better too for 2011 and The Eagles in particular have got a whole lot better. Drop the Skins in the NFC West and they would probably win it, but with the best will in the world we cant see them taking the NFC East, however they could do a lot better than many expect and a winning season is not out of the question, despite their schedule.