Washington Redskins Team Capsule
What Went Right
Washington’s offense provided a mix bag. Clinton Portis racked up another 1,200-yard season to go along with 11 scores and Chris Cooley gave the passing game a boost with eight touchdown receptions. Much to the chagrin of the Minnesota Vikings, Todd Collins provided the Redskins with a boost and propelled them into the playoffs. The defense played a role in the team’s late season success. Defensive end Andre Carter led the team with ten sacks. Former head coach Joe Gibbs also learned that two timeouts cannot be called on consecutive plays.
What Went Wrong
All of the struggles on the field paled in comparison to the loss of Sean Taylor. His presence was greatly missed by his Redskin teammates on and off the field. Offensively, while Portis paced the rush game, the passing game languished with Jason Campbell at the helm until his late-season knee injury. No receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season which ultimately helped lead Washington to select a pair of receivers on the draft’s first day.
Jim Zorn in, Joe Gibbs out as the head coach in Washington marked the team’s biggest off-season change. Washington’s salary cap abuse over the past seasons has caught up with the team. At the beginning of the offseason, the Redskins were $21 million over the cap. The cap issue left Washington in no position to go wild during the free agency period. Its two biggest moves in player personnel were re-signing back-up quarterback Todd Collins and grabbing returner Jerome Mathis.
Washington addressed the skill positions the first three picks in the draft. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are likely to start out as reserves, while tight end Fred Davis will serve as a backup to Cooley and appear in multiple tight end sets. Zorn likes sixth round selection Colt Brennan, but he’ll be a project for now.
State of the Team
Quarterbacks – Campbell is still the man in Washington, but he shouldn’t be considered a go-to guy in fantasyland. Collins returns as his backup, but he is clearly not a reliable fantasy option either. Zorn’s appearance on the scene should help Campbell develop. Washington’s new head man was instrumental in the development of Seattle Pro Bowl signalcaller Matt Hasselbeck. However, the addition of a few new weapons will not help the Redskin passing game unless Campbell grows up.
Running Backs – Expect another solid year from Portis; his only significant drawback is that he gets banged up occasionally. Handcuffing him with his backup Ladell Betts is a very wise move. Zorn has promised to give the running backs a ton of work this season. Running behind a solid and experienced offensive line should yield positive gains for the Redskin rushing game again.
Wide Receivers – Veterans Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El return, but they need to produce more in 2008. Neither eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and they combined for just four touchdown catches. Thomas and Kelly will not likely be major contributors in their first season, but should help move the sticks for Washington and provide more depth. Only Moss can be viewed as a legit fantasy option.
Tight Ends – Cooley, the King of all NFL bloggers, is the position’s mainstay and he’s among the league’s best at tight end. He’ll receive some help from rookie tight end Thomas. Cooley’s touches might dip a bit because of the rookie’s appearance, but he’ll still be Washington’s most reliable pass catching threat.
Defense/Special Teams – Washington’s defense is an aging gang that lacks punch. The return game may receive a boost from Mathis, who has returned three kicks for scores during his career, and the returning Rock Cartwright. However, don’t consider this Redskin bunch anything more than a mediocre group.