In my pre-preseason NFC East rankings, I had the Washington Redskins finishing third with the thinking at Robert Griffin III would either miss a couple games or come back so stiff that this offense would lose its ability to freeze defenses on the threat of quarterback runs.
However, encouraging updates throughout the month of August along with solid enough offensive displays this preseason without that run threat are jogging my memory; the Shanahans are two great offensive minds. The Redskins will lose a lot of what made their offense tick in 2012 but I trust that head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan can adapt in 2013.
This remains a difficult team to project given the fact that Griffin has yet to succeed as a consistent pocket passer at the NFL level and we’ll see this season if it occurs. RG3 is likely forced into this position following the knee reconstruction and he has the skills to do so; now it’s about doing it.
Speaking of injury risk, Pierre Garcon showed everyone that he’s among the league’s most electric players when healthy and this whole pocket-passing thing relies heavily on him and a cast of average-to-unproven-to-mediocre guys. Then there is Fred Davis, who’s also among the most talented at this position but had 2012 shortened by injury.
Jim Haslett deserves recognition for a masterclass in holding together a defense you can live with down the stretch last season, and faces many of the same questions again. The return of Brian Orakpo is crucial, though you wonder if he and Ryan Kerrigan can pressure the passer enough to make up for a miserable secondary. Washington is slated to face Peyton Manning, Eli Manning (2x), Tony Romo (2x), Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Colin Kaepernick this year. Eek.
Predicted Regular Season Record:10-6 (2nd in NFC East)
Predicted Finish: Miss postseason