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2018 Review: 7-9 (3rd in NFC East)
In the 2018 off season the Redskins finally let Kirk Cousins walk out the door, and they traded for Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith was coming into a team that was primed for another run at an NFC East Championship and for many was an upgrade at the QB position.
The Redskins also bolstered their Alabama DL by drafting Da’Ron Payne and taking a young exciting RB in Derrius Guice in the second round. It was all but written in ink that Guice would start at RB for the Redskins and many were excited. Sadly, Guice tore his ACL in the preseason and the Redskins signed Adrian Peterson.
The Redskins managed to get out to a 6-3 record in an NFC East that was up for grabs. Alex Smith was playing well, and so was Adrian Peterson at 33. Then in Week 11, one of the most awful injuries happened to Smith against the Houston Texans and everything went downhill from there. The Redskins lost that game and the next three. They only won one game out of their last seven without Alex Smith and with Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, and Colt McCoy playing QB.
That Smith injury completely screwed over the Redskins. Their offense sputtered only scoring over 20 points once in game Smith didn’t appear in. Overall their offense ended up being at the bottom of the NFL in PPG with only 17.6 which was good for 29th. Without Smith they had an abysmal pass offense and only threw for 188.8 yards per game but Peterson kept their run game afloat and they managed a decent 110.9 yards per game good for 17th in the league.
In fact, at 33 years old Peterson ran for 1,042 yards and 7 TDs, and caught another 20 balls for 208 yards and 1 TD. You wanna know the next highest rusher on this team? Chris Thompson. He played 10 games and had 178 yards rushing. Fucking sad. Receiving they were also awful. Jordan Reed played only 13 games and led this team in receiving with 558 yards. No player on this team had more than 2 receiving TDs. Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder both got hurt, Vernon Davis is too old, and Josh Doctson still hasn’t shown he was deserving of a first round pick.
The Redskins were also hit with a rash of injuries on the OL. Brandon Scherff (starter), Arie Kouandjuio, Tyler Catalina, Jonathan Cooper, and Geron Christian all suffered season ending injuries. Now not all of those guys are starters, but they had to because guys kept getting hurt. The Redskins have had some awful luck along the OL in the past few years when it comes to injuries.
Washington’s defense on the other hand was middle of the pack. They gave up 22.4 PPG which was 15th in the league, they gave up 116.3 yards rushing per game which was 17th in the league, and they gave up 237.1 yards passing per game which was 15th in the league. They were actually a +7 in the turnover differential with their defense getting 15 INTS and recovering 11 fumbles. Another highlight was being 7th in the league in sacks with 46.
Ryan Kerrigan who made a Pro Bowl led the team with 13.0 sacks, Jonathan Allen a first round pick a few years ago from Alabama had 8.0 sacks, Matthew Ioannidis had 7.5 sacks, first round pick Da’Ron Payne had 5.0 sacks and Preston Smith had 4.0 sacks. So they were very balance in their pass rush even after having a stud who ended up with double digits.
The Redskins also committed 115 penalties which was 8th highest in the league. You combine all those bad stats, and the Redskins losing record still comes down to the Alex Smith injury. Even with no play makers on offense, Jay Gruden and Alex Smith were still finding ways to win games. If Alex Smith could have stayed healthy and brought that offense up to at least the middle of the pack in the NFL, then this team could have competed for the NFC East title. Instead, it went all downhill from Week 11 on.
Key Off Season Acquisitions
S Landon Collins (6 years, $84 million)
There were a lot of Safeties available in free agency this year and the Redskins PAID Landon Collins big time. The Redskins were barren at safety after giving HaHa Clinton-Dix a try during the year, so everybody knew they were going to look at safeties in the off season. What people didn’t expect was the money they’d give one. 6 years and $84 million is a shit ton of money for a safety that isn’t regarded as the best in the league. I mean that’s the type of money you should be giving Ed Reed or Earl Thomas in their prime. Collins has had some good years for the Giants, he’s made the Pro Bowl the past three years but regressed some last year. In 2016 he recorded 5 INTS, 13 pass deflections, 4 sacks, 125 tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 5 QB hits. Since that year, he’s had a total of 2 INTs (0 last year), 10 pass deflections, 195 tackles, 8 TFL, and 4 QB hits.
So his stats have obviously gone down. Now you can attribute that to a worse Giants team, or you can give him the majority of the blame. Either way, the defense he’s going to be on in the Redskins isn’t going to be much better than than what he had in New York. I like Landon Collins, I wanted the Packers to go after him but I don’t think he’s worth that type of money.
Also of note, Collins apparently really wanted to be apart of the Redskins because his favorite player and safety Sean Taylor played for the Redskins.
Round 1 Pick #15 QB Dwayne Haskins
With Alex Smith pretty much done, the Redskins needed to take their QB of the future and they got Haskins to fall to them at 15. Haskins was arguable the most “ready” NFL QB out of the three guys that went in the first round. Haskins won’t be asked to start right away, but if Case Keenum doesn’t play well then Haskins is going to get thrown in.
Round 1 Pick #26 OLB Montez Sweat
Sweat dropped in the draft because of a heart condition called hypertrophy cardiomyopathy. Without that heart condition, Sweat goes in the top 15 as he was regarded by most as the second best past rusher in the draft behind Josh Allen. Sweat had 12 sacks and 14.5 TFL for Mississippi St last year. He’ll get every chance to start day one for the Redskins replacing Preston Smith.
Round 3 Pick #76 WR Terry McLaurin
Normally I wouldn’t say many third round picks are going to make huge impacts. But McLaurin went to Ohio State with Haskins, and he can be the guy to replace Jamison Crowder. The relationship with Haskins is huge because if Haskins does start at any point this year, he’s going to look at McLaurin often. McLaurin caught 35 balls last year for 701 yards and 11 TDs in 12 games. He ran a 4.35 40 yard dash at the combine.
Key Off Season Departures
OLB Preston Smith (via free agency to the Green Bay Packers)
Smith had 4.0 sacks for the Redskins last year and played opposite Ryan Kerrigan. He was a very solid player for the Skins racking up 24.5 sacks in his four years there but the Packers just offered too much money. In a draft that was full of pass rushers, and the fact that Smith was 5th on the team in sacks allowed them to let him walk a little bit easier.
WR Jamison Crowder (via free agency to the New York Jets)
Crowder has been a dependable slot guy for the Redskins in his four years there. He had years of 604 yds, 847 yds, and 789 yds and finished his tenure there with 14 TDs. He wasn’t a game breaker by any means but Jay Gruden could rely on him. The Redskins drafted two WRs in 2019 but didn’t bring anybody in as a free agent. Those rookies will have the chance to earn what would have been Crowders production in 2019.
The Redskins are slowly building this roster to be a contender again and I do think they can be pesky in 2019. The problem is, they don’t have any weapons on offense and the QB situation is murky.
They signed Case Keenum in the off season and the starting position will most likely be between him and Colt McCoy. If there’s one thing we know for sure though, it’s that these two guys are both backups and nothing more. At what point does this team allow Haskins to start. If he looks the best will Jay Gruden start him from Week 1? It feels like Gruden almost has to if he wants to save his job. One might look sitting Haskins a year could give Gruden another year, but if this team sucks how long until reports come out that Grudens losing the locker room.
The defense for the Redskins should be pretty solid. They’ll have some questions on the back end at CB and S opposite Landon Collins. But up front they have everything they need to stop the run, and rush the passer. Montez Sweat could be a steal and him and Kerrigan coming off the edge can be NASTY. So I”m not too worried about this defense. They’re going to have games where the give up a lot of points but for the most part they should be pretty solid.
The offense is just, blah. They don’t have a good QB situation, they have no play makers at WR, if Guice can’t stay healthy then they have a 34 old Adrian Peterson, who knows what Jordan Reed has left in the tank, and the Redskins best offensive lineman Trent Williams doesn’t want to play there any more. On top of that, they actually need the offensive line to stay healthy for once.
This team is pretty bland going into 2019. They have pieces on defense to compete for a NFC Title, but they don’t nearly have the pieces on offense. Dallas and Philly are both so far ahead of them on offense, as are the Giants actually. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Redskins finish last in this division because they can’t find ways to score.
The AFC East plays the NFC North and AFC East. Because the Redskins got third in their division they also get the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers.
The Redskins get two prime time games this year. Week 3 on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, and Week 8 at the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Honestly, I’m fucking shocked they didn’t get an NFC East match up in prime time. Also, thank god.
Banking on those NFC Match ups, they play each team in their division in the first four weeks of the season, then they end their year with three games in a row vs Philly, vs New York, and then at Dallas in Week 17.
Other than that, not really much to say about their schedule. They don’t have any long stretches of home or away games so lets talk abut the important things. We have three legit chances for snow games. December 8th at Green Bay, and then the next two weeks at home against Philly and New York. Give us some snow football please.
Their schedule isn’t too bad. It doesn’t help for them that the NFC North is probably the best division in the NFC, and Philly and Dallas should be playoff contenders. But this team does get the three teams in the AFC East, the Giants twice and San Francisco so there are a lot of winnable games on this schedule on paper.
Now having said that, this team could easily start out 0-5 or 1-4. They have to play four playoff teams from last year in the first five weeks of the season and play at the Giants. Not an easy start for the Redskins.
Fantasy Player You Want
Ahh.. o… uh…. Terry McLaurin as like the last pick in your draft? I mean if Guice is healthy I like him but who knows. AP is going to be 34, I doubt he can run for 1,000 yards again. Take a flyer on a guy with some upside.
Fantasy Player to Avoid
I’m gonna go with any other WRs but Terry McLaurin. McLaurin might not flash right away but I think he’s gonna end up being the best guy they got. I like Guice but he’s wait and see coming back from injury. I do like Jordan Reed as well at TE being that he’s healthy for the first time in forever going into a season and seems to be forgotten about. So I’d stay away from their WR core.
This team should be middle of the pack, maybe a bit better on defense but I just don’t know how they score. They have nobody that scares you on offense. For that, I don’t think they get over their win total from this year so I say 7 games.
If their offense really STINKS, Haskins gets thrown in early and isn’t ready. I can see this team only winning 4 games.