Odds to win the NFC East +1800
Odds to win the NFC +5000
Odds to win the Super Bowl +10000
Win Total 6
Before the start of the 2010 season, some football experts were calling Washington the team to beat in the NFC East with DL Albert Haynesworth anchoring the defense and Donovan McNabb the new signal-caller on offense, but the reality of the season ended up far different from the preseason hype. Haynesworth got off to a slow start that progressed to a complete stop, and McNabb’s early season heroics gave way to a late-season benching and a ticket out the door. So much for Mike Shanahan’s triumphant return to coaching, as the Redskins stumbled their way to a 6-10 record and a last-place finish in the division.
This season, Shanahan is taking a much different approach to building this team. He has shipped out most of the over-priced veterans, whose performance never came close to matching their contracts, and has opted for a more youthful group of players that he believes can molded into a group of winners. This change in philosophy will most likely yield some positive dividends down the road, but it does not bode well for competing in the ramped-up NFC East this season.
It looks like John Beck will get the starting nod at quarterback when Washington opens its regular season on the road against the Giants. Rex Grossman took over for McNabb at the end of last season, and will remain the backup for now. Beck’s primary targets in the passing game will be once again be WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooley, but look for third-round draft pick Leonard Hankerson and sixth-round pick Aldrick Robinson to work their way into the mix as the season progresses. The same will be true with the running game as fourth-rounder Roy Helu will look to push veteran backs Ryan Torain and the newly acquired Tim Hightower for more playing time in the backfield.
There will be a number of new faces on the defensive side of the ball as well. The Haynesworth debacle is over and the Redskins used their first two picks of the draft to select defensive linemen Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins. They also added DB’s Dejon Gomes and Brandyn Thompson in the later rounds. Washington remained fairly quiet throughout the recent free agency frenzy, but it did sign Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to fill some immediate holes up front and CB Josh Wilson to add some depth to the secondary.
All of these moves add up to a very pedestrian team that will end up being penciled-in as a W on a number of opposing team’s schedules. Beck is an unproven commodity who is leading an offense that was ranked 18th overall and 25th in scoring. With no major improvements to a defense that was ranked 21st in the NFL in points allowed and 31st overall, it is hard to see the Redskins stopping teams like Philadelphia and New York from running up and down the field each time they meet. Add in the fact that Washington has to play the AFC East as well as Seattle and an improved St. Louis on the road, it is hard to find enough wins to at least match last year’s totals.
2011 Prediction: 5-11 and last in the NFC East
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.