According to a fan vote on NFL Network, the Washington Redskins are the NFC’s most likely to go from the bottom of their division to the very top. The fan vote, and I repeat, fan vote was won by a small margin – beating out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by only 1 point.
The St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings were the least likely, and NFL Network’s Total Access crew collectively agreed to that notion. However, in their typical fashion, both Warren Sapp and Wille McGinest disagreed with the fan vote. They believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a better shot at going from the bottom of their division, to the very top.
Not that I don’t agree – I mean, the NFC South is known for teams going from worst to first. What I don’t understand is McGinest and Sapp’s reasoning on declaring the Bucs most likely to take that great leap. The Buccaneers dominated free agency this year by signing the cream of the market. The additions of Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks has the town buzzing, but NFL history proves that signing a bunch of big name free agents to lucrative deals doesn’t equate to winning games. The Redskins organization has learned from making that mistake, and the Philadelphia Eagles suffered last year for trying to orchestrate, the “dream team.”
Often times, it doesn’t work. Sapp and McGinest knows this – they consistently bash the Redskins for attempting to “buy a championship.” So why the double standard?
Not that I’m trying to be bias, but when I saw the headline I figured Washington would win the poll. Tampa is entering 2012 with a new coach, Greg Schiano, and a team that won 4 games last season. Let’s not forget that Greg Schiano is a rookie NFL head coach. He’s a guy coming from the collegiate level, and often times, that’s a very tough transition to make. Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll are two coaches that have had success coming out of the college ranks, but both had more experience on the professional football level and both accomplished more coaching collegiate football. So, to basically say Greg Schiano will have a Jim Harbaugh esque mark on his football team year one is far fetched.
Greg Schiano is entering a situation where his QB didn’t play well last season, and in most cases – you only go as far as your quarterback can take you. Yes, Schiano is changing the atmosphere in Tampa, with the goal of implementing a physical run heavy offense. However, if you’re going to play physical, run heavy football, you better have a physical defense. The Bucs helped themselves in that sector by selecting Mark Barron in the 2012 NFL Draft. A run game alone doesn’t win you “regular season” football anymore. It helps, but Josh Freeman has to develop into a more accurate thrower and better decision maker in order for the Bucs to win games. Will that happen? I don’t think so, but it definitely could.
The Washington Redskins are in a totally different situation. They have an established defense, that’s young and has only scratched the surface of their potential. A revamped offense, that’s been rejuvenated by the arrival of Robert Griffin III. Not to mention, their headed into the 3rd year in the same scheme – which has rarely occurred in Washington.
As much as people want to bash Kyle Shanahan, he along with Mike are finally able to implement the offensive scheme he’s wanted to use since being in Washington. That being, a New Orleans Saints/Green Bay Packers style passing game. Spreading the football around is Robert Griffin III’s strength, and with the many roll-outs Washington plans to use, Tim Hightower and Roy Helu will have major success in the “pitch out” boundary run plays.
The list (Rams, Vikings, and Buccaneers) can easily be narrowed down to Tampa and Washington. The Vikings have a major issue in Aaron Rodgers and the 49ers have taken over the NFC West – though I wouldn’t sleep on the Seattle Seahawks either.
Of course, Washington plays in the NFL’s toughest division – NFC East. I’m not saying they’ll make that tremendous leap from the pits to paradise, but when you look at the list I don’t think it’s an astronomical forecast when saying Washington has the best chance.
If you enjoy talking Washington Redskins and all things NFL follow Rantsports.com Redskins columnist, Emmanual Benton on Twitter: Follow @Roccoskins