The 2013 NFL season of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III brought much concern to Redskins fans. It has been well documented that RG3 didn’t play anywhere near his 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year form. Washington slogged through a miserable 3-13 campaign that preceded the exit of head coach Mike Shanahan and many of his staff members.
The Redskins made a concerted effort to retool their offense in 2014. Change was in order after Washington’s points per game average dropped from over 27 points in 2012 to 21 points last season. First year head coach Jay Gruden and first year offensive coordinator Sean McVay were brought to Washington to infuse new life into the offense. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts also joined the Redskins in an effort to provide two speedy targets to solidify RG3’s efficiency in the deep passing game. Gruden, McVay, Jackson and Roberts should provide some interest for a franchise that severely lacked some in 2013.
It’s unclear if Washington will become better (or interesting) in 2014. Gruden and McVay will need to quickly establish credibility with franchise quarterback RG3. Griffin seemingly clashed with Shanahan and former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan during his two-year NFL career in Washington. Lingering concerns about RG3’s health could give an impression that the quarterback could be damaged goods. If that’s true, Redskins fans could be calling for reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins early, and often.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon was Washington’s only consistent performer in the passing game, leading the NFL in receptions last season with 113. The arrival of Jackson and Roberts should provide more opportunities for Garcon, even if his reception total decreases dramatically in 2014. Jackson will undoubtedly assume the team’s primary receiver. If the Redskins get off to a fast start in 2014 because of Jackson, things should be fine. But if the apparently mercurial Jackson struggles, and the Redskins start slowly, there could be a lot of finger pointing. And that’s the type of situation that a fragile Redskins franchise with a rookie head coach can ill afford.
The final question mark focuses on Washington’s offensive line. The underwhelming unit from last season has been somewhat revamped. Free agent signee Shawn Lauvao is penciled in to start at left guard, replacing 2013 starter Kory Lichtensteiger, who moves to center. Washington’s bread and butter is its running game. Lauvao brings a toughness that the Redskins’ relatively small offensive line lacked last season.
He will need to gel with his new teammates in an effort to create holes for running back Alfred Morris to run through. As the Redskins’ new center in 2014, Lichtensteiger will have the responsibility of calling out offensive line assignments for his teammates. This is an underrated, yet valuable task for any NFL offense, particularly a Redskins offensive line that allowed RG3 and Cousins to get hit constantly last season.
Washington’s revamped offense will need to gel quickly, or 2014 will provide the backdrop of yet another disappointing season for Redskins fans.