NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt on Tuesday released his 2012 preseason power rankings.
Where do the Redskins fit in this particular system?
At No. 26. Yep — 26th out of 32 teams.
I guess I can’t be too surprised that a 5-11 team from the year before would be ranked near the bottom of the list.
But the Redskins, by most accounts, are much improved from 2011. Not to mention the team was very, very close to being on the other end of several losses last year.
Here’s Brandt’s assessment of the Redskins as they head into 2012:
“Mike Shanahan has always done a fantastic job of developing quarterbacks. (Donovan McNabb should not count, as Shanahan didn’t get him in his formative stages.) Robert Griffin III is the real deal. The only question is whether he’ll be able to hold up in the long run. I don’t think he’ll have a Cam Newton-like impact in Year 1 — because who does? — but he’ll certainly be a productive player. The defense, however, is only middle of the pack.”
With Griffin III being considered by most to be an upgrade at quarterback for the Redskins in 2012 and moving forward, I think that alone should boost the team ahead of at least a couple other teams in the power rankings.
It’s yet to be seen how Griffin III will do in an NFL game, obviously, but the hope is that he’ll provide some stable quarterback play alongside a running game that had multiple players flourish at different times last season.
And I mostly disagree with Brandt on his assertion that the Redskins defense “is only middle of the pack.” I don’t know how one could make that assertion considering Washington finished 13th in total defense a year ago and returns most of its primary playmakers from that unit.
Edit (6-20-12): Yes, I should’ve been more clear here. I realize being the No. 13 defense would definitely be considered “middle of the pack.” What I should’ve said was the team finished 13th in total defense last year and returns most of its primary playmakers from that unit — many of whom (Ryan Kerrigan and Adam Carriker among them) have the chance to develop into Pro Bowl-type players, others (Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall) are already Pro Bowlers, while unknowns, like Jarvis Jenkins, could turn into gems for the Redskins’ defense. With another year under their belt in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s 3-4 scheme, there’s reason to believe the defense will improve.
The questions about the Redskins defense in 2012 one has heard so far have been about its secondary. But I think the addition and influence of defensive backs coach Raheem Morris — as well as a couple recent signings — will, for the most part, help clear up those issues.
I know the Redskins’ are gunning for a top-5 defense — if not better — in 2012. If the perception is really that they have a “middle of the pack” defense, however, maybe Washington can surprise some people this season.
I’ve said this with other lists, and I’ll continue to say it now: Take them with a grain of salt. As Brandt points out, it’s very difficult to predict how each team will perform in the NFL from one season to the next — especially in mid-June.
Brandt’s No. 1 and 2 teams on this list are the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, respectively.
When looking at the rest of the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles are at No. 3, the New York Giants are at No. 6 and the Dallas Cowboys are at No. 16.
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