With three days until the start of training camp in Richmond, Va., here is a complete season preview of the Washington Redskins with strengths, weakness and an overall outlook courtesy of ProFootballTalk.
The Redskins were one of only 12 teams left standing in January last year and, after another successful offseason; check in at No. 11 on the preseason power rankings.
As you know, the Washington Redskins 2012 season was a tale of two teams.
Up until the Bye Week, the team maintained peak competitive level in every single game, but found themselves at the bottom of the NFC East with a 3-6 record. Of course the rest is history as the L column remained at six and an epic seven-game winning streak vaulted the team into the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Fantastic season that will never, ever be forgotten? Check.
Remembering that amazing feeling when your friends who root for the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants had to pick another team to root for during the playoffs? Check.
Winning back-to-back NFC East championships for the first time since 1983-84? Remains to be seen.
For starters, the Redskins must build off their powerful offense and have the defense, reenergized by the return of Brian Orakpo, follow the lead of a Pro Bowl-laden linebacker core.
Now don’t let this come as too much of a shock to you, but said potent offense starts with field general Robert Griffin III.
–The dual-threat ability of the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
–Having a “capable” backup in Kirk Cousins.
–Running back Alfred Morris as the compliment to Griffin III in the read-option.
–An “above-average” outside linebacker unit headlined by Pro Bowlers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.
–The brain behind it all—head coach Mike Shanahan and his 18 seasons as an NFL coach.
–A defense that ranked near the bottom is some statistical categories last season.
–The return of a plethora of big names from injury to include Griffin III, Orakpo, Fred Davis and Brandon Meriweather.
–Third down struggles on both sides of the ball. Opponents converted nearly 45 percent of their third down attempts while the offense finished 24th in the league in the same category.
–The signing of free agents E.J. Biggers, Jeremy Trueblood, Darryl Tapp and Tony Pashos.
–2012 Pro Bowler and special teams ace Lorenzo Alexander is now with the Arizona Cardinals.
–A draft class that includes three defensive backs, two running backs, a linebacker/defensive end hybrid and a tight end.
–Both safeties positions are “unsettled”.
–Who returns kicks? Could it be Richard Crawford or Niles Paul?
–The fight for playing time behind Morris.
“Griffin [III] is skilled, and he will he adapt as defenses adapt. If he’s at full strength in 2013, that’s what will be fun to watch — not whether defenses short-circuit Washington’s offense, but the counter-punching between both sides. We suspect Washington will, at the very least, give as good as it gets, especially if Griffin [III] is close to top form. And if the Redskins can get just enough stops on defense, they are going to have a real shot at a second-straight East crown.”
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