Special Teams Improvement Key to Washington Redskins Returning to Playoffs

By Justin Byram
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins featured the worst special teams unit in the NFL in 2013, and if the team has any hopes of returning to the postseason they must improve that area. The Redskins lacked any consistent return game and had awful punt and kickoff teams in 2013.

The Redskins have made special teams a priority this offseason through free-agency and through the draft. The team also replaced former special teams coach Keith Burns, who was fired after the 2013 season, with Ben Kotwica. With the two year cap penalties now behind them, the Redskins had the cap space to add depth to the roster with much of that helping the special teams unit. The special teams unit arguably suffered the most from the cap penalty, and the Redskins hope it will improve the most now that the penalty has been lifted.

The Redskins will get a few special teams players back that were lost to injury in 2013, including Keenan Robinson and Richard Crawford Jr. The Redskins also added Akeem JordanDarryl Sharpton and Adam Hayward in free-agency that should help bolster the special teams. The Redskins also added receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts who both have the ability to make an impact in the return game.

Special teams was addressed through the draft as well. Top pick Trent Murphy should see time on special teams. Bashaud Breeland and Ted Bolser were special teams standouts at college, and sixth-round pick Lache Seastrunk has already voiced his desire to make an impact in the return game. The Redskins also opted to draft Zach Hocker, a big-legged kicker who should help the Redskins’ kickoff team that had the fewest touchbacks in the NFL last season.

Even the Redskins’ undrafted free-agents have shown special teams ability. Receiver Cody Hoffman will be an interesting prospect to watch due to hist ability in the return game.

If the Redskins have any hopes of returning to the playoffs in 2014, an improved special teams will be essential to their success.

Justin Byram is a Washington Redskins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Justin_Byram, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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