The Washington Redskins won the NFC East division for the first time since 1999 this season. It wasn’t an easy task, as they were 3-6 through nine games. They bounced back by winning seven in a row, won the division, and made the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
In a nutshell, that sums up the Redskins 2012 season. There were many positive signs throughout those 16 games that make you start to wonder how good this team could really become. They were playing with a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III, who won the NFL‘s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. They also had a rookie running back in Alfred Morris, and a young collection of talent at multiple positions.
As this team starts to grow together, they have no choice but to strengthen their chemistry. In the NFL, once a team starts to develop that mentality that “we are supposed to win” it’s difficult to break it. Take a look at the New England Patriots, today’s most consistent NFL franchise, no matter the players–they find a way to win. Yes, a lot of it has to do with the great coaching by Bill Belichick, but it also has a lot to do with the winning mindset the team has going into each and every season. They expect greatness.
With Super Bowl winning Mike Shanahan at the helm, and a productive young quarterback (which we’ll remain optimistic that he’ll be back healthy), the Redskins are set to become a consistent franchise. Once the quarterback position is properly filled, the rest of the pieces have no choice but to fall into place.
Not only are the Redskins young, but the other NFC East teams are declining. The New York Giants‘ run may be starting to come to an end. I’m uncertain if they’ll be able to continue their “sneak into the playoffs” tactic. Eli Manning is 32-years-old and didn’t live up to the “elite” hype this past season. The Dallas Cowboys just seem as if they’ll never get over the hump, and also have an aging quarterback in Tony Romo. Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe the most talented team in the division from top to bottom, but just can’t put it altogether. Maybe a coaching chance will be the answer for them, or maybe not. Also, they have no idea who’ll be their starting quarterback next season.
Washington was 5-1 in division games this past year. Their one loss came to the Giants on a last minute Hail Mary pass from Manning to Victor Cruz.
So the Redskins seem to be the favorite to win the division in 2013. Of course, a lot is pending on whether RGIII will be ready to play come the season opener. That remains in question, but the Redskins set the tone in 2012 that they’ll be the team to beat in the NFC East moving forward.
Josiah Turner/Redskins columnist