By now you know all about the 2012 campaign where the Burgundy and Gold secured their first division title since the turn of the century.
While the season that was will go down as one of the most exciting in franchise history thanks in large part to the instant injection of highlight reel moments by rookie record-breakers Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, the team as a whole stepped up their “game” after the bye week and made those that told them it was time to consider the season a lost cause bite their tongues.
With the 2013 season fast approaching (OTAs start next week!) its time to look forward to what the campaign can bring to the DMV.
As I was browsing the Internet this morning I came across an article by Yahoo! Sports that states what they believe will be key to the Redskins making back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since they made it three straight years from 1990-1992. (Also, in the second year—the Redskins made the playoffs they won Super Bowl XXVI. Just sayin’.)
So lets take a look at what they believe will help the franchise make the 2013 playoffs.
According to Russell Baxter, the Washington Redskins will find themselves playing in January and beyond if…
“Washington stays committed to the running game. With a major assist from rookie running back Alfred (1,613), the Redskins totaled an NFL-high 2,709 yards rushing in 16 games last season (169.3 yards per game); totaling more than 1,100 yards than they did (1,614) in 2011. Combine that with the efficient passing of quarterback Robert Griffin III and it was little wonder that Shanahan’s team scored 436 points and totaled 46 offensive touchdowns, up considerably from the previous season (288 points, 27 offensive touchdowns).”
Not only do Morris and Griffin III have a season of professional experience under their belts, the running game and passing game for the matter, will benefit from the return of Roy Helu Jr. to the lineup. Helu Jr. spent the majority of the 2012 season on Injured Reserve after being plagued with lower bodies issues. In 2011, Helu Jr. tallied over 1,000 combined yards and his versatility will play dividends to the read-option attack.
The Redskins will also return to the playoffs if…
“Griffin III (7) as well as backup quarterback Kirk Cousins (3) continue to practice ball security. The two rookie signal-callers last season coughed up the ball a combined 10 times. Hence, the Redskins were guilty of an NFL-low 14 turnovers in 2012.”
The fact that Griffin III and Kirk Cousins were in their first seasons in the NFL and only turned it over is impressive and when you factor in that Morris only coughed up the pigskins three times on his 348 touches is just as amazing.
The one worry that Baxter has with the Redskins chances to be one of the last 12 teams standing, however, is how the defense will perform.
“If Washington’s defense doesn’t look a whole lot better than it did a year ago, the team’s reign as NFC East champions will be short-lived. Injuries to defensive end Adam Carriker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo in a Week 2 loss at St. Louis took their toll on the defense as it totaled only 32 sacks while allowing 31 touchdown passes. The Redskins also gave up 388 points, the most among the league’s 12 playoff teams in 2012.”
In 2011, Adam Carriker and Brian Orakp0 combined for 93 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and five passes defensed and will help bolster the unit’s threat to opposing quarterbacks with their pending returns. With newly signed cornerback E.J. Biggers and a fully healthy Brandon Meriweather in the secondary, passing touchdowns given up may be few and far between.
So Redskins Nation, what do YOU think will be vital for the Redskins to make a march into the 2013 playoffs?
Chime in here!
Tags: adam carriker, Alfred Morris, Brandon Meriweather, Brian Orakpo, EJ Biggers, Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III
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